Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Of all the movies that try to take us into the mind and viewpoint of a child, Carol Reed's 1948 The Fallen Idol, adapted by Graham Greene from his short story, is one of the most ingenious.
  2. Cinema does not get much better than this.
  3. 100
    One of the great movies about childhood innocence accidentally violated by adults...Reed, an often inconsistent filmmaker, handles the brutal mechanics of the plot superbly, with the marbled interiors of the embassy contrasting sharply with his almost neo-realist outdoor shots of postwar London.
  4. 100
    This is an example of a writer and director working in perfect harness, with Reed smoothly ratcheting up the story's suspense and Greene speculating on his cardinal theme of moral ambiguity. They don't make movies like The Fallen Idol anymore, all the more reason to see it now while you can.
  5. 91
    The result is a gripping film which, despite the annoying rugrat, demonstrates how part of leaving childhood behind is learning how and when to lie, and to do it well.
  6. 91
    A masterpiece of psychological suspense.
  7. 90
    This is a fine example of British commercial filmmaking at its highest level of craftsmanship.
  8. 90
    The Fallen Idol has been overshadowed by the noir comedy, giddy style, and Cold War thematics of Reed and Greene's subsequent sensation "The Third Man," but (in similarly dealing with the nature of betrayal) The Fallen Idol is actually a superior psychological drama.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Formally, the movie's a lasting pleasure: Reed's incisive direction; Greene's easy yet weighted dialogue; the farseeing deep-focus photography of Georges Perinal; Vincent Korda's luxuriant sets.
  10. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    It might be lesser known, but certainly not deservingly so. This is a cracking piece of Brit cinema.
  11. Beautifully shot by the French cinematographer Georges PĂ©rinal (whose credits include Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet"), the film soon evolves from a claustrophobic domestic affair into a mordantly discomfiting look at the betrayal of innocence.
  12. 50
    Graham Greene's screenplay is centered on the pivotal moment when a child first discovers sin, but the boy's perspective is neglected in favor of facile suspense structures and a thuddingly conventional whodunit finale.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. RogerB.
    Jul 16, 2006
    Dull, slow moving movie. Can't believe, even a young kid would be as nieve and dumb as this kid. No one in the movie was exciting. Baines was a dullered. His girl friend was unbelievable. She was too young and pretty to be taken with the dullered Baines. The plot turned out more slapstick then suspenseful; but without the laughter. Full Review »
  2. JimW.
    Jun 19, 2006
    Excellent performance by Richardson, tight script & editing. Release print here in Atlanta has soundtrack problems that sometimes made it difficult to understand dialogue. Full Review »
  3. DQSlotkins
    Apr 15, 2006
    Another classic thiller from Carol Reed, director of The Third Man and Odd Man Out. I've been loving and waiting for this one to be released on DVD. Amazing film! Full Review »