Dark Victory (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dark Victory (1939)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Bette Davis earned an Oscar nomination for her role in this classic four-hanky tearjerker. Judith Traherne (Bette Davis) is a very wealthy Long Island heiress whose life is a constant whirl of cocktails, parties, and wild living. Despite her hedonistic lifestyle, Judith derives little pleasure from life except for her horses, cared for by stable master Michael O'Leary (Humphrey Bogart). When Judith begins suffering from headaches and dizzy spells, Dr. Frederick Steele (George Brent) gives her the bad news: she has a brain tumor that could threaten her life if not treated immediately. Judith consents to surgery, and Frederick informs her that the operation was a success. A grateful Judith quickly falls in love with Frederick, and they plan to marry. However, the tumor returns, and when Judith discovers that she has only a few months to live, she calls off the wedding, convinced that Frederick is marrying her only as an act of pity for a dying woman. A major success and perennial favorite, Dark Victory was later remade as Stolen Hours with Susan Hayward and as a TV movie starring Elizabeth Montgomery.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By: ,
Written By: Casey Robinson, George Emerson Brewer Jr., Bertram Bloch
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 23, 1997
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment


Bette Davis
as Judith Traherne
George Brent
as Dr. Frederick Steele
Humphrey Bogart
as Michael O'Leary
Ronald Reagan
as Alec Hamin
Cora Witherspoon
as Carrie Spottswood
Henry Travers
as Dr. Parsons
Dorothy Peterson
as Miss Wainwright
Charles Richman
as Col. Mantle
Leonard Mudie
as Dr. Driscoll
Fay Helm
as Miss Dodd
Jack Mower
as Veterinarian
Ila Rhodes
as Secretary
Frank Darien
as Anxious Little Man
Rosella Towne
as Girl in Box
Nat Carr
as Doctor
Maris Wrixon
as Judith's Friend
Richard Bond
as Judith's Friend
Wilda Bennett
as Judith's Friend
Leyland Hodgson
as Judith's Friend
Mary Currier
as Judith's Friend
David Newell
as Judith's Friend
Marian Alden
as Judith's Friend
Paulette Evans
as Judith's Friend
Frank Mayo
as Judith's Friend
Sidney Bracey
as Bartender
Speirs Buskell
as Dr. Steele's Assista...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Dark Victory

Critic Reviews for Dark Victory

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (4)

Guilty pleasure: One of Warner's best acted melodramas and Bette Davis's all-time favorite, in which she lives hard but dies in dignity as an heiress gone blind. Also Davis revenge as Tallulah Bankhead failed to bring the role to life in the 1934 play.

Full Review… | April 30, 2007
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Top Critic

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

One of the finest weepies ever made by Hollywood. Davis is nothing short of magnificent.

Full Review… | June 11, 2015
Creative Loafing

Bette Davis loses her sight, and we gain a classic.

Full Review… | December 22, 2010
Common Sense Media

Bette Davis's frisky sprint sets the pace

Full Review… | September 6, 2009

Audience Reviews for Dark Victory


A woman discovers that she has a brain tumor and falls in love with her doctor.
When viewed vis a vis Ikiru, Akira Kurosawa's brilliant film, Dark Victory has a lot to learn. The film posits that a patient's knowledge of his/her condition is detrimental, but Kurosawa is wiser, and the ruminations on mortality and life's usefulness are more poignant and inspiring. Though its embrasure of love, marriage, and romance feel petty against its betters, Dark Victory is a good film in and of itself, propelled by a great Bette Davis performance and George Brent's soulful gazes. Davis is delightful, and the film is saccharine in all the right places.
Overall, you should watch this if you can't get a hold of Ikiru.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

This is a good movie, with good actors, and a good story. It's a dramatic and exciting thriller. I saw it a while ago, but I remember it was good.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

"I think I'll have a large order of PROGNOSIS NEGATIVE."

Bette Davis has a brain tumor and about 10 months to live. A classic that's replete with melodrama and old fashioned sentimentality.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Dark Victory Quotes

Judith Traherne: I've died a thousand times.
– Submitted by Dale R (3 years ago)

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