The Naked City (1948)

The Naked City




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Attractive blonde model Jean Dexter is murdered in her apartment and homicide detectives Dan Muldoon and Jimmy Halloran take on the case. Their investigation ties the model's death to a string of apartment burglaries.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Albert Maltz, Malvin Wald
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 20, 2007
Universal Pictures


as Det. Lt. Dan Muldoon

as Jimmy Halloran

as Frank Niles

as Ruth Morrison

as Garzah

as Dr. Stoneman

as Mrs. Halloran

as Mrs. Batory

as Mr. Batory

as Det. Perelli

as Mrs. Hylton

as Capt. Donahue

as Backalis

as Ben Miller

as Constantino

as Henry Fowler

as Dr. Hoffman

as Fredericks

as Shaeffer

as Little Old Lady

as McCormick

as Mrs. Stoneman

as Proprietor

as Newsboy

as Miss Livingston

as Druggist

as Publisher

as Shop Girl

as Ed Garzah

as Wrestler

as Ticket Taker

as Managing Editor

as Ambulance Doctor

as Ned Harvey

as Policeman

as Halloran's Son

as City Editor

as Mr. Stillman

as Publisher

as Shop Girl

as Old Gentleman

as Janitor

as Young Man

as Stout Girl

as Patrolman

as Police Photographer

as Patrolman

as Patrolman

as Wrestler

as Crippled Girl
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Naked City

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Critic Reviews for The Naked City

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

A definite parochial fascination is liberally assured all the way and the seams in a none-too-good whodunnit are rather cleverly concealed.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

A first-rate police thriller.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | July 3, 2008
Top Critic

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

If this is noir, it's the most brightly lit, least antisocial noir ever.

Full Review… | November 5, 2014
The Skinny

The on-location photography and final minutes on the streets and bridge are impressive, but this noir is more memorable for what it inspired to follow it than in its slow talky self.

Full Review… | July 6, 2011
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Naked City

Crazy cool Weegee-esque 1947 New York exteriors. This movie begins where most film noirs end. Slightly humdrum police procedural but at the time it was a real breakthrough, since imitated by Dragnet and a hundred Jerry Bruckheimer TV shows. There are eight million stories in the naked city and this one ends with a stunning chase sequence on the Williamsburg Bridge.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

Just a ripping good police drama with New York as the ever present backdrop. Barry Fitzgerald is the lead (!!!) (and atypically reserved ... though he does manage to throw in some few reminders of his proud heritage) detective as the death of a model turns out to reveal a ring of jewel thieves. And what lifts this above the usual sort is the interspersed additions about life in New York circa 1950, the people and rhythm of the streets. An announcer detracts from the proceedings but not enough to deflate the tale, including a great foot chase at the end.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Another in a long line of detective films, I can't justifiably call this a noir by any means. Sure, it's certainly gritty and calls upon the same course set of circumstances to show the story, but has none of the dire aspects of noir. Instead of a larger than life language, the detectives all exhibit their own ways, and realism is embedded in every part of this film. This was shot in New York City, and never on sets or lots. It was shot in apartments, on streets and subway tracks, a fact that the narrator of the film proclaims at the start of the film. Besides the fact that this film follows the investigation of a murdered girl, it also takes a quick look into the lives of residents of the city. It's not exactly a love letter to New York, or a condemnation of the many lurid lives that go on during the rush of traffic and the investigations of the police, but it is a wide scope. Throughout a strange kind of narration dubs voices, and fills in the blanks where need be. The story is that of a model who is chloroformed and drowned in her bathtub. Surprisingly the crime itself was showed, and it was amazingly graphic. The look of the film is sleek, shady, and seductively black and white. The actual detectives on the case are varied and at times awkward, but in a good way. The lead detective (Barry Fitzgerald) shows both his professional side as well as his ability to give lessons to beat cop Det. Halloran (Don Taylor). Of all the roles of this film, nothing is dopey except for Halloran, who has playful fights with his wife, lives in Jackson Heights, and is always smiling that same big eared smile throughout the entire film. The plot isn't overly dramatic or contrived in any way, but it's the way it's told, the characters behind the murder that really hold this high in people's mind. My favorite character is the crook Niles (Howard Duff) who lies to everyone, even his fiancee and the cops. He is charismatic, deceitful, and not too bright, but you only feel horror at the depths at which he sinks. It's truly a classic, mostly looking like a documentary about New York at the time, and it would be a shame if you missed it.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

The Naked City Quotes

– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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