Act of Violence (1948)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Movie InfoIn this suspenseful film noir a crippled veteran sets out to exact revenge upon the coward who betrayed his comrades while they were all interred in a POW camp during WW II. By this time, the betrayer has become a prominent contracter and when he learns of the vet's vendetta he panics. Suddenly he feels terrible guilt and finally tells his wife that his well-meaning confession to the enemy resulted in the death of all the fellow prisoners but the one who stalks him now. Things become more taut when the crippled vet begins threatening the other's hapless wife causing her husband to run off. There he meets a kindly hooker. Later he ends up hiring a hitman to kill his pursuer. During the final conflict, the hunter is about to kill his prey when the former's girl friend intervenes. Meanwhile, the hitman takes aim. Just before he fires, the coward frees himself forever of his guilt by taking the bullet for his would-be killer. … More
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.Login
Critic Reviews for Act of Violence
It is strong meat for the heavy drama addicts, tellingly produced and played to develop tight excitement.
Technically Act of Violence touches all the bases in its circuit chase. But it is as though it were doing it on the strength of a long, foul ball.
A terrific film noir directed by the great Fred Zinnemann. Reflects growing disillusionment with American society linked to the emerging Cold War.
One of MGM's best film noirs and one of Zinnemann's early films to deal with what would become a recurrent issue in his owrk: Men tormented by moral conscience, here in the context of a WWII revenge medlodrama
Zinnemann shows a knack for suspense and moral ambiguity that he unfortunately abandoned in his later Oscar-mongering prestige pictures.
Zinnemann's film noir is a rather cynical dig at post-war triumphalism, which questions ideas of heroism.
A complex, fascinating noir that exposes the grim truths behind the shiny, fragile fašade of post-war America.
Audience Reviews for Act of Violence
interesting scenario of sympathetic family man van heflin being stalked by a slightly crazed robert ryan for something bad that happened in the war. the ending wraps everything up a little too neatly in classic western style but with good suspense in getting there. mary astor plays an aging hooker at the same time she was playing the saintly mother in little women LOLMore
Act of Violence is a pretty forgettable and unremarkable noir that explains revenge as it's plot but doesn't really make you believe it. Robert Ryan is unusually dull here (picture a low rent Max Cady) and Van Heflin is just a warm body filling up screen time and keeping shots balanced. I liked where the story went for the second act but by the end it just seemed like 25 lbs of shit stuffed in a 15 lb bag. I just wasn't really buying it all. It's not all bad though, the lighting is brilliant and that final scene that was blatantly influenced by Westerns was well done--all up to the car crash. Look for a young, dopey Janet Leigh and and old, tired Mary Astor.More
Discuss Act of Violence on our Movie forum!