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The Fallen Idol

The Fallen Idol (1949)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.5/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 1,978

My Rating

Movie Info

Adapted from the Graham Greene story The Basement Room, director Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol is told almost completely from a child's eye view-but it isn't a children's story. Young Bobby Henrey idolizes household butler Ralph Richardson. Therefore, when it seems as though Richardson might be implicated in a murder, Bobby does his best to throw the police off the track. The boy succeeds only in casting even more suspicion upon Richardson. As the story progresses, Henrey's hero worship is eroded

Nov 7, 2006

Rialto

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (0) | DVD (8)

Masterful 1948 suspense thriller.

October 19, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a portrait of the sometime destructiveness of innocence and as a sharp fresco of post-war Britain, this movie is a little masterpiece, an idol that has never fallen.

August 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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It's a masterful and unsentimental child's-eye view of the cold, hard adult world.

June 29, 2006 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
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An indelible portrait of childhood's confusions, disillusionments and inevitable lost innocence.

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Remains one of those classics that makes you thankful you haven't seen them all.

June 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A Hitchcockian thriller with human conundrums to go with the suspense.

May 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... one of the great films of innocence lost and a powerful portrait of the powerlessness of children in the adult world, where they are so often ignored or discounted.

January 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

It's a gripping mystery story involving adult secrets, childhood lies and betrayal as part of the human equation.

December 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

separates itself from what would otherwise be a rather rote drama/thriller.

November 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Watching The Fallen Idol is like setting off one of those milelong mazes of dominoes, with ramps and loop-de-loops and sheer drops. First, every element is ingeniously set up; then, everything falls into place.

October 19, 2006 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Many themes are tragic, but Fallen Idol also extols the resilience of innocence.

August 28, 2006 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

This earlier pairing between the two masters is another well-crafted and thought-provoking film. And it makes you wish that Reed and Greene had teamed for more than just three films.

June 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Reed and Greene build unbearable tension, with the nifty trick of showing events both as they happen and as little Philippe interprets (and occasionally misinterprets) them.

June 23, 2006
Salt Lake Tribune

A marvel of postwar British skill with a frisson of Gallic flavor.

June 2, 2006 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

A superbly subtle thriller that represents director Carol Reed and British Tradition of Quality (in black and white) at their very best. It's hard to think of another tale that captures a child's awakening disillusionment in a more perceptive way.

May 11, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

A gripping film which, despite the annoying rugrat, demonstrates how part of leaving childhood behind is learning how and when to lie, and to do it well.

May 5, 2006 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

The Fallen Idol has a good dose of Hitchcockian spice, with its patient set-up, tense details and slanted angles

April 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

...while many elements of The Third Man do feel more Welles-ish than Reed-y, some of those very qualities can be detected in The Fallen Idol as well, particularly in the middle third of the film.

April 6, 2006
Los Angeles CityBeat

Audience Reviews for The Fallen Idol

Lies, sometimes, are an act of kindness. Many times I hasten to add. The imagination of a lonely child is ignited by a meek man in love. The man, as played by the extraordinary Ralph Richardson, is a mass of contradictions and yet we understand him. Married to a shrew and in love with Michele Morgan no less. Carol Reed is not a director that comes immediately to mind when one lists the greatest directors of all time, but in my book, is right up there with the very best. No other director has been able to bring Graham Green to the screen with its spirit so gloriously intact. Guilt and fear as riveting entertainment. Suspenseful, funny and beautiful to look at. Go try to top that.
February 10, 2011
matertenebraum

Super Reviewer

Literally about a boy who idolizes someone and finds out their not all that they thought they were. An okay movie, but not very exciting.
October 24, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

With more suspense and twists than half the "thrillers" out there today. Bobby Henrey would eat HJO for breakfast.
December 17, 2007
tsigur

Super Reviewer

Nicely executed by Richardson and the rest of the cast. One of the best of the British thrillers.
August 15, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

    1. Julie: I'm only going because it's not possible to stay.
    – Submitted by Kevin R (10 months ago)
    1. Baines: Things happen, things change.
    2. Julie: People don't change.
    – Submitted by Kevin R (10 months ago)
    1. Felipe: But why did you leave Africa?
    2. Baines: Why, oh, get married you know.
    3. Felipe: Wasn't there anybody to marry out there in Africa?
    4. Baines: Ah yes, plenty, but they weren't white.
    5. Felipe: Must they be white?
    6. Baines: Um, hmmmm.
    – Submitted by Kevin R (10 months ago)
View all quotes (3)

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