Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This powerfully tense, fast-paced suspense drama also yields a grim social message about racial prejudice. Spencer Tracy is John J. MacReedy, a one-armed stranger who comes to the tiny town of Black Rock one hot summer day in 1945, the first time the train has stopped there in years. He looks for both a hotel room and a local Japanese farmer named Komoko, but his inquiries are greeted at first with open hostility, then with blunt threats and harassment, and finally with escalating violence. MacReedy soon realizes that he will not be allowed to leave Black Rock; town boss Reno Smith (Robert Ryan), who had Komoko killed because of his hatred of the Japanese, has also marked MacReedy for death. MacReedy must battle town thugs, a treacherous local woman (Anne Francis), and finally Smith himself to stay alive. The entire cast is flawless, especially Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin as the mean-spirited town bullies, and the relentlessly paced action never eclipses the film's sobering themes.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Don McGuire, Millard Kaufman
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 10, 2005
MGM Home Entertainment


Spencer Tracy
as John J. Macreedy
Robert Ryan
as Reno Smith
Anne Francis
as Liz Worth
Dean Jagger
as Tim Horn
Walter Brennan
as Doc Velie
Ernest Borgnine
as Coley Trimble
Lee Marvin
as Hector David
John Ericson
as Pete Wirth
Russell Collins
as Mr. Hastings
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bad Day at Black Rock

Critic Reviews for Bad Day at Black Rock

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (6)

John Sturges's macho B-picture is more brawn than brains...but what brawn!

Full Review… | May 19, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

An action film for people who don't like action films.

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Considerable excitement is whipped up in this suspense drama, and fans who go for tight action will find it entirely satisfactory.

Full Review… | September 9, 2008
Top Critic

Nicely put together by Sturges, its suspense derives largely from the excellent performances and imaginative use of the 'Scope frame by cameraman William C Mellor.

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

Superb, if it weren't, as we said, for the too-obvious liberal teachings that interrupt the terrific ation.

Full Review… | February 17, 2005
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Slowly, through a process of guarded discourse, which Director John Sturges has built up by patient, methodical pacing of his almost completely mate cast, an eerie light begins to glimmer.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bad Day at Black Rock


A pretty good suspense movie with Tracy, it has it's good moments, but it also has boring moments.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Great vehicle for Spencer Tracy that plays on post WWII anti-Japanese sentiment. Terrific cast includes Tracy, Walter Brennan, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Modern western about a one-armed stranger who comes to the tiny town of Black Rock in 1945 in search of a man. Immediately he is harassed by the townsfolk. But why are they so hostile? What dark secret lies at the heart of this seemingly nondescript town? The unsurprising answer was perhaps cutting-edge for 1954, but it's rather overused today. Self important message movie is tense and well acted, however. Oscar nominated for Best Actor, Director and Screenplay.

Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

Bad Day at Black Rock Quotes

– Submitted by Kevin B (3 years ago)

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