User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 79 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 79
  2. Negative: 6 out of 79
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  1. Aug 27, 2010
    10
    One of those movies that if I had seen as a child it would have terrified me to no end, and having seen it now, it just sits eerily in the back of my mind. It is truly a perfect thriller.
  2. Jul 10, 2012
    10
    One of cinema's miracles.
    This movie put in me in a trance mid-way. It just sucks you in. The plot, directing, acting, casting, character development. I could go on and on. A most classic of classic movies. Might not be for every person in the world, but, to me, this movie is just as important to cinema as The Wizard of Oz or 2001: A Space Odyssey. Right up there with them.
  3. Sep 27, 2011
    10
    Pretty much as brilliant as movies get. Mitchum plays the serial killer preacher(his favorite role he said) with absolutely no morals(except get money). The scene on the porch at night is probably THE most brilliant movie scene in history. Good acting, good story, good movie. this is film making at it's very best. A suspenseful masterpiece. there are moments where i am actually worriedPretty much as brilliant as movies get. Mitchum plays the serial killer preacher(his favorite role he said) with absolutely no morals(except get money). The scene on the porch at night is probably THE most brilliant movie scene in history. Good acting, good story, good movie. this is film making at it's very best. A suspenseful masterpiece. there are moments where i am actually worried that he would catch the kids. An excellent film. I particularly like how he would fool his victims and their friends. He has more or less memorized the basics of Christianity and he uses that for his own ends. He is so evil that you like him a lot. also I like how this was Laughton's first attempt at directing. It was his first time and he came up with this. the only other time that I have seen that is with Citizen Kane. A masterpiece that will never fade into the ages. It has and will continue to stand the test of time. Expand
  4. Apr 9, 2011
    10
    It is too bad that Chas never got to direct again. This is one of America's great films.....told as a fairytale "once upon a time" style. I saw it on late night T.V. in the 60's and have seen it many time since, (big time screen and T.V.) and it never gets old. One of Mitchum's best and unusual turns. There is nothing mediocre about this film at all. Doesn't get any better than this!
  5. DHE
    Jan 8, 2011
    2
    Overall, this movie is a mess. It was badly acted, badly directed, and the plotting was plodding. Suspenseful? Give me a break. The child actors were especially annoying and the extras were just plain silly. I like classics, so it's not just that it's an old movie. This could easily be the worst movie I ever watched all the way through. I would give it a zero except for someOverall, this movie is a mess. It was badly acted, badly directed, and the plotting was plodding. Suspenseful? Give me a break. The child actors were especially annoying and the extras were just plain silly. I like classics, so it's not just that it's an old movie. This could easily be the worst movie I ever watched all the way through. I would give it a zero except for some interesting camera work (for which Laughton may or may not deserve credit). Expand
  6. Dec 1, 2013
    1
    There has never been a more overrated movie to ever waste space in a film reel. I'm pretty sure everyone who gives it a good review is attesting it solely on mitchum's acting. He carries the movie alone and even then, it still sinks to rock bottom. Every single other actor is annoying, incompetent, or both. The plot rarely resolves anything it introduces in the story, like it's draggingThere has never been a more overrated movie to ever waste space in a film reel. I'm pretty sure everyone who gives it a good review is attesting it solely on mitchum's acting. He carries the movie alone and even then, it still sinks to rock bottom. Every single other actor is annoying, incompetent, or both. The plot rarely resolves anything it introduces in the story, like it's dragging its legs over jagged rocks and not trying to correct this. The conclusion came from absolutely nowhere. It's like everyone who was apart of this was hired to make a movie together and none of them had actually seen one before. This whole thing worked better as a novel where you don't have to accordion everything into a short 2 hour video and rely on actors to convey the work. I give it a 1 because mitchum wasn't God-awful in this. Expand
  7. JesseL.
    Oct 25, 2002
    8
    Mitchum's performance is excellent, although the rest of the cast is a bit mediocre. The river boat night sequence, however, is absolutely beautiful!!!
  8. EdmondW.
    Dec 3, 2002
    8
    This is a very odd, mannered film which takes highly-stylized stage-like settings and turns them into an eerie montage of a sinister but familiar upcountry banality moved by the singular obsession of a mad preacher man searching for his stepchildren - who have their murdered mother's money hidden in a doll. Mitchum is superb and looney. A moody film with unexpected riches.
  9. JuddS.
    Aug 13, 2002
    10
    Quite simply the scariest movie I have ever seen. There are movies that are designed to give you nightmares, and then there are movies that are the nightmares themselves. This movie is the nighmare.
  10. TimH
    Mar 27, 2006
    10
    Awesome lone directorial effort by the great Laughton.
  11. MichaelF.
    Oct 26, 2001
    10
    Heart-pounding. Mitchum's spine-tingling performance is one of the greatest performances ever.
  12. MikeM.
    Sep 12, 2002
    7
    It would rate as a classic thriller but for the schmaltzy final 15 minutes.
  13. Jan 9, 2011
    8
    Great movie. A lot of tension in it. Very good acting. The plot is a little bad regarding the money: it's the link that put all the movie in one piece but in the end it is not mentioned what happened with the money; did the police took the money or did John keep them?
  14. Dec 20, 2012
    9
    Robert Mitchum gives a blistering and bone-chilling performance as a psychotic preacher, but the twist of the film as a whole, is that the movie isn't even about him. It's about two children, forever plagued by the sins of the father.
  15. May 28, 2015
    7
    Charles Laughton employs some badass imagery in his only directorial effort "The Night Of The Hunter," a fitting love letter to German Expressionism and Aesop's fables on good and evil.
  16. Sep 27, 2013
    9
    Around the time this film came out, it did not have too many good reviews and did not do so well at the box office. It was not until later when people found the beauty in it, like finding a lost treasure. The film's plot seems simple enough, but the way they do certain scenes and acting makes it creepy, Some people say the acting is not good at all, but that's for the better of the film.Around the time this film came out, it did not have too many good reviews and did not do so well at the box office. It was not until later when people found the beauty in it, like finding a lost treasure. The film's plot seems simple enough, but the way they do certain scenes and acting makes it creepy, Some people say the acting is not good at all, but that's for the better of the film. There are shadows and silhouettes that seems like it shouldn't be there, but that's to give the scene feeling and saying what's going on and a character's mood. There is no good way to describe this film other than a masterpiece in the thriller/noir genre. This is something you should see for yourself. Expand
  17. Sep 11, 2014
    10
    This is a classic story practically everyone should get. It's one of those rare gems where the serious critics and most casual viewers can agree what a great story it is. It's thrilling, dramatic, well-paced, great characterization and top-notch high-stakes tension, that is really good to watch.

    This really is an all-round top story that is highly deserving of its acclaim. Total
    This is a classic story practically everyone should get. It's one of those rare gems where the serious critics and most casual viewers can agree what a great story it is. It's thrilling, dramatic, well-paced, great characterization and top-notch high-stakes tension, that is really good to watch.

    This really is an all-round top story that is highly deserving of its acclaim. Total shame the director was never appreciated for his work here.
    Expand
  18. Apr 18, 2015
    10
    A modern biblical interpretation based on the tale of the Wolf, the sheep, and the good shepherd of the field, its probably the defining moment in cinema history, a gothic tale that will inspire directors from Scorsese to Lynch.

    Robert Mitchum stars in one of his most of his most darkest and relentless performances, as Harry Powell, a sadistic misogynist serial killer posing as a
    A modern biblical interpretation based on the tale of the Wolf, the sheep, and the good shepherd of the field, its probably the defining moment in cinema history, a gothic tale that will inspire directors from Scorsese to Lynch.

    Robert Mitchum stars in one of his most of his most darkest and relentless performances, as Harry Powell, a sadistic misogynist serial killer posing as a traveling pastor who plots to uncover a private stash of money hidden by a recently executed convict, however no one knows where he buries it except the convict's children.

    Soon the children's innocent childhoods are shattered when Powell murders their mother (Shelly Winters) causing them to flee into the woods in terror when they become they're next target for the money, their trail will come to an end when they meet Ms. Cooper (Lillian Gish), the keeper and finder of lost children who wields a gun as her weapon, and the children's only hope for retribution.

    soon Good and Evil will settle out their differences in one final battle for the victory in the film's memorable climatic shootout.
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Metascore
99

Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Jan 14, 2014
    100
    It’s the most haunted and dreamlike of all American films, a gothic backwoods ramble with the Devil at its heels.
  2. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    Jan 13, 2014
    100
    Ignored for a long time, this film is now impossible to ignore. Mitchum is magnetic.
  3. This is the only film Laughton ever directed, and he packed it with a mixture of eerie chills, ingenious suspense, and absurdist humor. It's a genuine classic.