Metascore
99

Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 65 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: In this re-release of 1955's eerie meditation on good and evil, a demented preacher (Robert Mitchum) relentlessly torments two small children in the Depression-era Bible Belt in order to get at their dead father's stolen fortune.
  • Director: Charles Laughton
  • Genre(s): Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Film-Noir
  • Rating: Approved
  • Runtime: 93 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. 100
    Laughton understood Agee's proximity to Grimm vaudeville, and fashioned the most intensely expressionistic movie of its day.
  2. 100
    An enduring masterpiece--dark, deep, beautiful, aglow.
  3. 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.
  4. Part fairy tale and part bogeyman thriller -- a juicy allegory of evil, greed and innocence, told with an eerie visual poetry.
  5. 100
    One of the greatest of all American films, but has never received the attention it deserves because of its lack of the proper trappings. Many "great movies'' are by great directors, but Laughton directed only this one film, which was a critical and commercial failure long overshadowed by his acting career.
  6. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    Jan 13, 2014
    100
    Ignored for a long time, this film is now impossible to ignore. Mitchum is magnetic.
  7. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    60
    This start for Gregory as producer and Laughton as director is rich in promise but the completed product, bewitching at times, loses sustained drive via too many offbeat touches that have a misty effect.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 2 out of 16
  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. Expand
  2. 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
  3. TimH
    Mar 27, 2006
    10
    Awesome lone directorial effort by the great Laughton.
  4. 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. Expand
  5. 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. Expand
  6. 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. Collapse
  7. 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

See all 16 User Reviews

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