User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 66
  2. Negative: 6 out of 66

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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. 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 some interesting camera work (for which Laughton may or may not deserve credit). Expand
  4. 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?
  5. 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!
  6. 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 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 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
  9. 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 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
  10. 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
    shame the director was never appreciated for his work here. Expand
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.