User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 64
  2. Negative: 6 out of 64

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  1. Aug 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.
  2. Jul 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 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. Apr 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.) 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!
  4. Sep 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. 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
  5. Dec 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.
  6. Sep 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, 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

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
    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
    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.