The Fly (1958) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fly (1958)

The Fly (1958)

The Fly




Critic Consensus: Deliciouly funny to some and eerily presicient to others, The Fly walks a fine line between shlocky fun and unnerving nature parable.

Movie Info

Wealthy Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) is discovered late at night in the factory owned by her husband Andre (David Hedison). Helene stands beside a huge metal press, which has crushed the head and arm of her husband. Held for murder, the near-catatonic Helene refuses to tell anyone--not even Andre's brother Francois (Vincent Price)--why she did it. Francois cannot help but notice that Helene reacts in mortal terror when a tiny flies zips through the room. Nor can he disregard the statement made by Helene's son Philippe (Charles Herbert) that the fly has a curious white head and leg. When Francois pretends that he's captured the fly, Helene relaxes enough to tell her story. It seems that Andre, a scientist, had been working on a matter transmitter, which he claimed could disintegrate matter, then reintegrate it elsewhere. After a few experiments, Andre tried the transmitter himself. Just as he stepped into the disintegration chamber, a fly also flew into the chamber. We aren't immediately shown the results of this, save for the fact that Andre afterward insists upon keeping his head and arm covered. Alone with her husband, Helene abruptly removes the covering, revealing that Andre now bears the head of a fly! His atoms have become mixed up with the fly, and now he is unable to reverse the procedure. Deciding that his transmitter will be a bogy rather than a blessing to mankind, Andre smashes the apparatus and burns his notes. He then instructs Helene, via body language, to crush his fly-like head and arm in the press. Neither Francois nor inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall) believe the story...until, while staring intently at a spider's web in the garden, they see a tiny entrapped fly with Andre's head and arm, tinnily screaming "Help me! Help me!" as the slavering spider approaches (If you're wondering why Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall do not look one another in the eye during this scene, it is because they couldn't deliver their dialogue without dissolving into laughter). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: James Clavell
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 11, 2007


Patricia Owens
as Helene Delambre
Vincent Price
as Francois Delambre
Herbert Marshall
as Insp. Charas
Betty Lou Gerson
as Nurse Andersone
Eugene Borden
as Dr. Ejoute
Harry Carter
as Orderly
Franz Roehn
as Police Doctor
David Hedison
as Andre Delambre
Arthur Dulac
as French Waiter
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Fly

Critic Reviews for The Fly

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (4)

One strong factor of the picture is its unusual believability.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Slightly above average 50s science fiction (1958), enlivened by a nearly literate script by James Clavell.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Clavell's script successfully treads a fine line between black comedy and po-faced seriousness.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One of the better, more restrained entries of the 'shock' school.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

The climax ("Help me!") has given many viewers chills while providing others with chuckles -- I'm in the former camp; the primal terror of that situation never fails to move me -- but the rest is efficient in its solemnity.

Full Review… | October 5, 2013
Creative Loafing

It's the charisma of Vincent Price that really drives this movie and makes it a classic even today.

Full Review… | September 27, 2013
7M Pictures

Audience Reviews for The Fly


While I think the Cronenberg remake is the best version of this story, this early rendition is definitely awesome. The remake relies purely on the horror aesthetic, horrendous and frightening visuals, and a relationship between the characters that mirrored abuse. The original cares more about making this a period piece, so it can delve into the mad scientist genre. It's also important to the film to rely mostly on subtlety and obscuring the face of Dr. Delambre (Hedison). While this film does an excellent job of displaying a time period that makes the horror Victorian and understated, and the characters rich and complex. It's a vintage Vincent Price film, including the graphic depiction of the monster's death and the issues with morality and scientific innovation. While the monster isn't very grotesque, his evolution is, and that's what's really scary.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

A top-notch nostalgic horror flick from the 50's that features the ever awesome talent of Vincent Price. The plot is very original and carefully told with much class. Boasts an ending that will truly leave viewers unnerved (or laughing, depending on who you are). Later remade in 1986 by David Cronenberg which is just as good.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer


Classic horror over the 50's. I watched yesterday on TCM and I really enjoyed it. The story is great. Quite original and full of suspense. I loved the cry for help at the end, was so funny, but back in those days I can imagine how terrifying it was. The appearance of Vincent Price brings good memories.

Sergio Garcia

Super Reviewer

The Fly Quotes

– Submitted by Bria M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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