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Compulsion

Compulsion (1959)

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Release Date: Jan 1, 1959 Wide

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,212

My Rating

Movie Info

Compulsion is a compelling, stylish thriller, loosely based on the famous 1924 murder trial of thrill-killers Loeb and Leopold, two homosexual students who murdered a young boy to demonstrate their intellectual superiority. Artie Straus (Bradford Dillman) is a sadistic, mother-dominated bully. Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) is a submissive, introverted sissy. Having been raised by wealthy, arrogant families, both Artie and Judd consider themselves above conventional morality. Unfeeling and

May 23, 2006

Fox

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All Critics (12) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (0) | DVD (7)

First great 'thrill killer' movie

March 16, 2007
Atlantic City Weekly

[Richard] Fleischer turns the screws hard in "Compulsion.

May 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Richard Fleischer's thriller is loosely based on the celebrated 1924 Chicago murder trial of Jewish thrill-killers Leopold and Loeb.

February 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Absorbing version of Leopold-Loeb story with standout Welles performance.

September 18, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Apesar de mostrar a crueldade dos jovens, o filme leva o espectador a torcer contra a pena de morte graças, principalmente, ao forte monólogo de 10 minutos protagonizado por Orson Welles.

July 25, 2003
Cinema em Cena

Audience Reviews for Compulsion

Based on the Leopold-Loeb case, Compulsion makes for an interesting watch. Surely, the story of two lads, with one being extremely influenced and misled by Nietzsche's philosophy, wanting to commit a perfect crime that ends up with the murder of a child is appealing in itself. But its execution can make a world of difference. The director succeeds extensively to create a compelling thriller sticking to the facts as closely as possible. However, there's an element missing that could have made it better than what it is; IDK exactly, maybe the lack of details about the victim and his family. Of course, the movie's about the awesome twosome, but a wee-bit footage to the victim wouldn't have harmed much. I didn't find Welles' speech against capital punishment that interesting, but his response to Artie's reaction on the verdict is indeed remarkable. I went for it hesitantly, thanks to IMDb message board, but without a hesitation I'd admit that I've no remorse over my decision. As far as I'm concerned, it's a great deal for 75+ minutes. Well, to each, their own.
January 17, 2012
imrealgod

Super Reviewer

Orson Welles was JUST fantastic, as expected, I guess. It reminded me a lot of In Cold Blood.
October 16, 2011
MeetMeinMontauk
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

Based on the 1924 case of Nathan Leopold Jr and Richard Loeb, two wealthy upper-crust college students who methodically planned the kidnapping and murder of a 14 yr old boy (Robert Franks).

A solid, well acted docu-drama that, near the end, suffers from an over abundance of preachy thespianism. It's one thing to cast the legendary Orson Welles as a Clarence Darrow-ish defense attorney in an obviously anti death penalty message film, but it's awfully highhanded to let him rant incessantly about the barbarics of capital punishment. In effect, he's not a cast member with a script who is reciting monologue to a judge, he's an actor with an agenda speaking to us (the audience).

A memorable but highly liberal classic.
February 27, 2010
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Excellent examination of the Loeb/Leopold case. Dillman is chilling in his utter contempt for all emotion and Stockwell is fine as his puppet but alll pale next to Welles who offers a wily and wise performance. It's a shame he didn't act in more films like this and Touch of Evil that were worthy of his talent.
August 28, 2009
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

    1. Sid Brooks: I hope they hang him. I hope he hangs til the rope rots!
    – Submitted by Christopher B (16 months ago)
    1. D.A. Horn: The state psychiatrists have declared them completely sane.
    2. Jonathan Wilk: Yes, after a searching and exhausting study. Isn't that right Harold? 10 minutes in a crowded hotel room. Oh, we're up against some brilliant minds in this case, and we - we haven't a minute to lose.
    – Submitted by Christopher B (16 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Compulsion (1959) (DE)
  • Compulsion (UK)
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