Nightmare Alley (1947)

Nightmare Alley




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Nightmare Alley is the story of a con man who recruits a couple of amatuers as his partners.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Jules Furthman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 7, 2005
20th Century Fox



as Stanton Carlisle

as Molly

as Dr. Lilith Ritter

as Ezra Grindle

as Pete

as Mrs. Peabody

as Clem Hoatley

as McGraw

as Town Marshal

as Fire Eater

as Detective

as Hotel Bellboy

as Mrs. Prescott

as Mr. Prescott

as Old Farmer

as Waiter

as Delivery Boy

as Worried Mother

as Man in Spode Room

as Friend in Spode Room

as Husband in Spode Roo...

as Maid in Grindle Room

as Masseur

as Radio Announcer

as Housekeeper

as Cab Driver

as Radio Announcer

as Stage Manager

as Knife Thrower
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Nightmare Alley

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Critic Reviews for Nightmare Alley

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

A strange and rather sick movie made by highly talented people.

Full Review… | February 6, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Neither a great movie nor even a classic noir but it has a great ambition to be daring and, once seen, is not easily forgotten.

Full Review… | February 6, 2002
Village Voice
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | December 6, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Alongside Todd Browning's Freaks, this is a brilliantly grim assessment of humanity's place in the cruel circus of life.

Full Review… | August 2, 2007
Eye for Film

Audience Reviews for Nightmare Alley


The seedy underworld of the travelling carnival is the setting for this cautionary tale. This is an excellent example of the film noir genre; Film noir explored the darker side of society, in addition to looking darker on film. No one could be more of an outcast than a carnival geek, although this film was not as lurid with reference to the geek as I expected. It is really more of a morality tale, a cautionary expose. The key is the line that's repeated at the beginning of the film and the end: "How did he get so low?, he reached too high."

Tyrone Power excels as Stanton, an opportunistic sociopath chewing through victims, taking advantage of everyone he meets, and Colleen
Gray is "electric as well." What a beauty, and clad pretty thinly for the time!

Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

A touching, dramatic, exciting, romantic, interesting film. I loved Power as the young man who aims too high, goes too far, pushes too much to get what he thinks he deserves. It's pretty long, but very worth seeing.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


Nightmare Alley gets better every time I see it. The photography is so beautiful and simultaneously sleazy that I felt like I need a tetanus shot after watching it. Tyrone Power plays a great prick who gets what he wants through Jedi mind tricks and a series of screw jobs. Obviously things aren't going to end well for such an unscrupulous character and said ending may be a little predictable. But watching a film noir carnie movie is one of those things that blow your mind once you stop to think about it. Like deep fried pickles...

Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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