The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Postman Always Rings Twice Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

This film centers on the passionate affair that violently erupts between a mysterious wanderer and the wife of a diner owner. The trouble begins when the lovers decide that the only way to be together and have the money they crave is to murder her husband.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: David Mamet
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 27, 1997
Warner Home Video


Jack Nicholson
as Frank Chambers
Jessica Lange
as Cora Papadakis
John Colicos
as Nick Papadakis
John P. Ryan
as Kennedy
Jon Van Ness
as Motorcycle Cop
Brian Farrell
as Mortenson
Raleigh Bond
as Insurance Salesman
William Newman
as Man from Home Town
Ken Magee
as Scoutmaster
Don Calfa
as Goebel
Louis Turenne
as Ringmaster
Charles B. Jenkins
as Gas Station Attendan...
Dick Balduzzi
as Sign Man
John Furlong
as Sign Man
Sam Edwards
as Ticket Clerk
Betty Cole
as Grandmother
Joni Palmer
as Granddaughter
Ron Flagge
as Shoeshine Man
Elsa Raven
as Matron
Lionel Mark Smith
as Crapshooter
Brion James
as Crapshooter
Frank Arno
as Crapshooter
Virgil Frye
as Crapshooter
Tom Maier
as Twin Oaks Customer
Kenneth Cervi
as Crapshooter
Chris P. Rellias
as Greek Party
Basil J. Fovos
as Greek Party
Nick Hasir
as Greek Party
Demetrios Liappas
as Greek Party
Kopi Sotiropulos
as Greek Mourner
Tom Majer
as Twin Oaks Customer
Glenn Shadix
as Twin Oaks Customer
Tani Guthrie
as Twin Oaks Customer
Carolyn Coates
as Twin Oaks Customer
Jim S. Cash
as Twin Oaks Customer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Postman Always Rings Twice

Critic Reviews for The Postman Always Rings Twice

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

With its earthy Sven Nykvist cinematography and its emphasis on the character's rumpled clothes and weathered homes, this Postman is like something from the [Bob] Rafelson of 10 years earlier: pensive and realistic.

Full Review… | February 7, 2014
The Dissolve

A heated-up drama about sexual passion and obsession.

Full Review… | November 5, 2012
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for The Postman Always Rings Twice

What is most striking about this film are the performances by the leads. I've grown up taking for granted the fact that Jack Nicholson is a great actor with only a few of his contemporary performances serving as meaningful evidence, but here, in his younger days, Nicholson proves to be a master of smarmy, sleazy subtlety. Jessica Lange is at times vulnerable and at others succeeding in her attempt to be blisteringly alluring. The film's "love" - or should I say animalistic fucking - scenes also serve as the film's appeal, but I found myself more repulsed than aroused. Finally, David Mamet's script is quite strong, but this is not the Mamet of Oleanna and Wag the Dog. Rather, this is the Mamet of The Verdict, a Mamet who relies on subtext more than acerbic dialogue. For example, he writes, "I'm tired of doing the right thing." Pause. "They hang people for that, Cora." It's up to the actors to imbue these lines with meaning, and these actors are up to the task.
The film's flaw is the storyline. At the end, we wonder what the film is saying about these characters. It seems that they reach their conclusions out of moralistic fatalism, not out of any authorial or directorial intent. Compare this film to There Will Be Blood, which deals with many of the same themes sans sexuality, and you'll find that Paul Thomas Anderson has a clear vision and feeling about Daniel Plainview, but the same can't be said of these characters. What is more, there is a short subplot with Anjelica Huston, and in the words of Roger Ebert, she seems "to be visiting from another movie."
Overall, if you can look at this film as a collection of scenes from an acting class and divorce yourself from the need of a consistent story, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a good film.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

When you‚??re trying to find a true Neo-Noir, this is hard to beat. Not only does it keep the safe feel and raunchy plotline as most Film Noirs of the late 30s and 40s, but it‚??s also a very well composed re-imagining of one. David Mamet beautifully adapts a decent script into a complete masterwork. It has all the great ingredients that make people love the movies. The look of the film is amazing as well, with a lot of great period sets, costumes and cars. You also get a real sense that you‚??re there with these characters. Bob Rafelson does another great job at directing flawless performances and capturing humans at their best and at their worst.

I don‚??t think you can get better than Jack Nicholson when it comes to shady characters, he captures Frank Chambers perfectly. While you ultimately side with him and relate to his views, he truly is a vile person. What makes it great is Jack Nicholson‚??s deranged sense of charm, which surprisingly works every time. Jessica Lange also gives quite possibly her best performance, definitely the most natural she‚??s ever been.

What I love most about this movie is the fact that the story is so incredibly fun and you become so invested with these two characters who want nothing but trouble. I think it‚??s great when a film can make you side with the villains, most of the time they‚??re the most interesting ones anyway. Even through all their bad deeds, they still manage to engage you and make you fall in love with them.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer


Redeeming quality: Jack Nicholson.

Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

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