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The Stranger (1946)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

79

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 4,937

My Rating

Movie Info

The Stranger is often considered Orson Welles' most "traditional" Hollywood-style directorial effort. Welles plays a college professor named Charles Rankin, who lives in a pastoral Connecticut town with his lovely wife Mary (Loretta Young). One afternoon, an extremely nervous German gentleman named Meineke (Konstantin Shayne) arrives in town. Professor Rankin seems disturbed--but not unduly so--by Meineke's presence. He invites the stranger for a walk in the woods, and as they journey farther

PG,

Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Anthony Veiller, Victor Trivas

Feb 8, 2000

RKO Pictures

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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (1) | DVD (16)

Adroitly directed by Orson Welles, who also plays the star, it is a grade A gooseflesh-raiser.

March 12, 2013 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Orson Welles's 1946 film reproduces his personal themes of self-scrutiny and self-destruction only in outline, though it is an inventive, highly enjoyable thriller.

April 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Stranger is socko melodrama, spinning an intriguing web of thrills and chills.

April 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The whole film, produced by S. P. Eagle, comes off a bloodless, manufactured show.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Welles' third film, often described as his worst, but still a hugely enjoyable thriller.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Welles might not have had control in the editing room, but he indulged his penchant for long takes with the able assistance of ace cinematographer Russell Metty,

November 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Welles is so technically proficient that even his second-tier works are well worth seeking out, and The Stranger belongs to this category.

February 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Excellent post-war thriller, via Orson Welles.

July 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Full of bizarre shots and fascinating little moments.

August 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

As distinctively Wellesian as Citizen Kane.

July 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

One of Welles' most conventional films: His fans don't like it because it's too plot-driven and linear but that was his goal, wishing to prove that he could make a mainstream film after the brilliant but failures, Citizen Kane and Magnificent Ambersons.

February 9, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

The most restrained and conventional of Welles's films, but still a thrilling entertainment.

August 29, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Atmospheric thriller-noir has Welles, Robinson pluses.

June 1, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

It is a tightly-plotted and well-acted thriller that bears Welles' unique stamp, in spite of it being a director-for-hire project.

May 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Senses of Cinema
Senses of Cinema

A lot more Wellesian than is casually assumed.

February 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Comes up short as far as believability due to the lame script.

January 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Largely unsung, this Orson Welles movie is one of his most straightforward, yet still one of his greats -- and reportedly his only film to turn a profit on its original theatrical release.

January 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

It's only 1946, and Welles is already typecast as the man with a past and not a glorious future.

September 18, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Brilliantly tense, with a heart-pounding climax.

August 1, 2002
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

a solid piece of postwar genre work about a Nazi hiding in bucolic small-town America

December 16, 2001
Q Network Film Desk

Audience Reviews for The Stranger

A minor entry in the legendary career of Orson Welles, concerning a Nazi supporter (Welles) hiding out in Connecticut in the wake of the fall of the German empire, and how a skilled detective (Edward G. Robinson) tracks him down and tries to get him to confess to his true identity. Although boring at times and lacking attention to Welles new life/character that have made him so respected in the town, this movie gets a lot of things correct. Welles larger than life screen presence is consistently watchable, even when his film threatens to lose credibility and go overboard, his sound acting chops and directorial grasp keep it steady. The ending is well-done and fits the film's melodramatic second-half perfectly. Crowd pleasing if occasionally unintentionally funny in its phoniness (Robinson getting knocked out in a gym escapes logic), it is short and sweet and has an interesting enough backdrop to keep you watching.
February 20, 2012
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Welles is so technically proficient that even his second-tier works are a clinic in form, camera blocking, and mise-en-scene. Like Bergman, he isn't afraid to use dramatic closeups to communication the emotional tics of his characters, and he always strays clear of the conventional route when it comes to his direction. The Stranger is one of Welles' more political films (which undoubtedly will turn some people off) and some of the plot points are a little far-fetched, but I marvel at how assuredly paced this film is -- culminating to yet another classic Welles-esque ending. It quickens at the right time, and plays out like a scrupulous crescendo. Of course, having one of the greatest noir actors of all time as your lead doesn't hurt either.
February 18, 2011
JonathanHutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

The Stranger or I Married a Nazi (just kidding). A small town is unaware that one of their citizens was a Nazi in WWII, and he lives a normal life until someone comes looking for him. A good movie, with good actors and an interesting story.
October 23, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Wonderfully atmospheric noir with three stars at the top of their game and sensational direction.
December 5, 2009
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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