United Artists | Release Date: October 26, 2001
8.1
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 88 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
73
Mixed:
8
Negative:
7
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10
ryancarroll88Aug 27, 2010
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.
6 of 6 users found this helpful60
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10
ekolite82Jul 10, 2012
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
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.
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4 of 4 users found this helpful40
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10
LordNasebySep 27, 2011
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.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 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
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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10
cutnshootApr 9, 2011
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.)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! Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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2
DHEJan 8, 2011
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 notOverall, 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
1 of 10 users found this helpful19
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1
UncleEarlDec 1, 2013
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 rockThere 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
0 of 6 users found this helpful06
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10
TimHMar 27, 2006
Awesome lone directorial effort by the great Laughton.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
ovi_bzJan 9, 2011
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 theGreat 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? Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
SpangleMar 22, 2017
They say that Satan knows the Bible just as well as God, for he uses its words to trick believers and people of the world into following a path of destruction. By knowing the words of the Bible, Lucifer can easily trick people into thinkingThey say that Satan knows the Bible just as well as God, for he uses its words to trick believers and people of the world into following a path of destruction. By knowing the words of the Bible, Lucifer can easily trick people into thinking his voice is that of God and that his words are godly ones. Unfortunately, far too many people fall for this trickery and are led astray. It is in this world that a film such as The Night of the Hunter is born. One where a Preacher is the antagonist and with good reason. He is a cruel and evil man whose only goal is to find money stashed away by a bank robber on death row. He uses his position as a Preacher to find favor with the townsfolk and the man's widow. All that is standing in his way is a couple of kids sworn to secrecy by their father.

Moving in the shadows to try and woo their mother and the townsfolk, Reverend Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) is a truly brutal man. Arrested at the beginning of the film for being in possession of a stolen car, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing, sent to lead the righteous off the right path. He talks the talk and shows everybody he knows the Bible, but behind closed doors, he is ruthless. From murder to theft, this is not your father's Reverend. Instead, he is a manipulative and evil man that is deftly portrayed by Robert Mitchum. In my recent forays into older classics, I have become well acquainted with Mitchum and it is hard to see him playing so against type because, inherently, I want to root for him. Mitchum is a terrific actor and The Night of the Hunter really stands as a testament as to why that is the case. He chills the room by simply entering it and his dark figure seems to tower over all of those in his presence. He simply radiates evil and makes the perfect guy for this role as a false prophet. By casting Mitchum, it makes the audience immediately comfortable with Harry Powell, just as the townsfolk are considering his status as a preacher. However, we quickly see Mitchum's brilliance as he turns on a dime between God fearing preacher and the ruthlessly greedy soul he hides within.

As a tale of religion, the film is incredibly strong. On one hand, we have the wolf in sheep's clothing and on the other, we have Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gash). A woman of faith, she takes in both John (Billy Chapin) and Pearl (Sally Jane Bruce) - the children who Harry Powell tries to trick into giving him the location of their father's money - as well as other children. Though rejected by her own son, Rachel takes in children rejected by their parents or who are orphans and gives them a loving home. Reading often from the Bible and instilling a fear of God in her children, she stands as a beacon of light in the film and the true embodiment of faith. In the Bible it states, as Harry Powell quotes from Matthew 10:34, "Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." Rachel, though bringing peace and happiness to this children, is defensive. When she catches wind of Harry's presence and finds out he is not John's father, she immediately defends her home and her children with a gun. Reasoning that this is a harsh world for small ones, she puts herself in harms way to defend the children in her charge against a brutal enemy. In its entirety, the Night of the Hunter is a deeply spiritual affair. It boils down to a man of evil fighting a woman of purity. He is the equivalent of a Holy War on Earth between the left hand of hate and the right hand of love and turns out exactly as illustrated by Harry Powell throughout the film with love conquering hatred.

Its tale of morality is not just limited to the main characters either, as even the Hangman (Paul Bryar) suffers greatly from his job. In hanging the children's father Ben Harper (Peter Graves), he once more finds himself grappling with the weight of his job and being unsure of its justification. A man who's job it is to kill people for the state may just be a job, but what is its impact on his salvation? Though working in the coal mines would likely kill him, he constantly expresses his regret over his job and wishes he had stuck with coal mining. It is a compelling debate and one that the film introduces with grace alongside its main story that raises a lot of questions. Is it better to die young and leave your family to fend for themselves or is it better to be the man in charge of hanging convicted criminals with blood on your hands? The answer is certainly not one that anybody would have a quality answer for.

As a film noir, director Charles Laughton heavily uses shadows, silhouettes, and lighting to create incredible cinematography. The highlight of the bunch being a shot of Harry Powell riding along the horizon on his horse. Silhouetted by the moon, the two young children can see him from a distance and can hear him singing. With the moment filled with tension due to its ominous presence, the film demonstrates how a simple
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0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
cameronmorewoodDec 20, 2012
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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7
Compi24May 28, 2015
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
LWFYMSep 27, 2013
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,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
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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10
badwebdiverSep 11, 2014
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 andThis 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.
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0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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10
VinceRocks123Apr 18, 2015
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
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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0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
EpicLadySpongeApr 18, 2016
Can't tell whether I'll see the Night of the Hunter again or spread the word about it to everyone and then see it again. It's funny because all of the options have 'seeing it again' meaning that I love this movie so much and that means you too.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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