Buy tickets for Rambo: Last Blood!

The Night of the Hunter

Find Movie Theaters & Showtimes

for near
Set your location to find movies & theaters nearby
in
Hmm... we couldn't find any showtimes for this date and location.

Videos & Photos

  • Three Reasons Criterion trailer
  • Criterion trailer

Movie Info & Cast

Synopsis

Adapted by James Agee from a novel by Davis Grubb, The Night of the Hunter represented legendary actor Charles Laughton's only film directing effort. Combining stark realism with Germanic expressionism, the movie is a brilliant good-and-evil parable, with good represented by a couple of farm kids and a pious old lady, and evil literally in the hands of a posturing psychopath. Imprisoned with thief Ben Harper (Peter Graves), phony preacher Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) learns that Ben has hidden a huge sum of money somewhere near his home. Upon his release, the murderously misogynistic Powell insinuates himself into Ben's home, eventually marrying his widow Willa (Shelley Winters). Eventually all that stands between Powell and the money are Ben's son (Billy Chapin) and daughter (Sally Jane Bruce), who take refuge in a home for abandoned children presided over by the indomitable, scripture-quoting Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish). The war of wills between Mitchum and Gish is the heart of the film's final third, a masterful blend of horror and lyricism. Laughton's tight, disciplined direction is superb -- and all the more impressive when one realizes that he intensely disliked all child actors. The music by Walter Schumann and the cinematography of Stanley Cortez are every bit as brilliant as the contributions by Laughton and Agee. Overlooked on its first release, The Night of the Hunter is now regarded as a classic.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Cast

  • Robert Mitchum
  • Shelley Winters
  • Lillian Gish
  • James Gleason
  • Evelyn Varden
  • Peter Graves
  • Don Beddoe
  • Billy Chapin
  • Sally Jane Bruce
  • Gloria Castillo

Did You Know?

Trivia

  • So disappointed was he by the poor reception of this film on its initial release both critically and commercially, Charles Laughton vowed never to direct a film again, and he never did. The film he was planning to direct next was going to be a screen adaptation of "The Naked and the Dead."
See more »

Goofs

  • (at around 49 mins) When Harry tells the children about their "fine dinner, with fried chicken..." the chicken on the table is a whole, baked chicken.
See more »

Quotes

    • Rachel Cooper: Get your state troopers out here. I got something trapped in my barn.
See more »
Movie details provided by

Atom User Reviews

No one has posted a user review yet.

Metacritic

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.

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
100

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.

Metacritic review by David Sterritt
David Sterritt
Christian Science Monitor
100

Part fairy tale and part bogeyman thriller -- a juicy allegory of evil, greed and innocence, told with an eerie visual poetry.

Metacritic review by Edward Guthmann
Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle