Ministry of Fear (1944) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ministry of Fear (1944)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Ministry of Fear Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Based on Graham Greene's gripping novel, and set during the German bombing of London, this chilling film noir espionage thriller centers on mentally unstable Stephen Neale, a man who is thrust into a world madder than the one he experienced in the asylum where he spent two years for euthanizing his terminally ill wife, an act he did not perform. The story begins after his release from the asylum. He heads for London and ends up at a carnival, not realizing that it is a Nazi sponsored organization. Those hosting the carnival see Neale and mistake him for one of their spies. He participates in a small contest and wins a nice cake. But there is more than flour and frosting in this pastry as Neale soon finds out. He hires a strange little detective to help him solve the mystery of the microfilm he found in the cake, and soon they realize that Nazi spies are afoot. Their investigations cause the demise of the detective, a crime that is neatly pinned to Neale, who goes to his girl friend for help because he knows the police will not believe him. Things get even worse when his girl, Carla, discovers that her own brother is a part of the sinister Nazi conspiracy. Both Neale and Carla find themselves trapped in a grim shadowy world where everyone they meet seems sinister and untrustworthy. For Neale, having just emerged from the madhouse, he is never quite sure his situation is real or whether he has become truly insane with paranoia. He cannot help but wonder if he is doomed to a life of trouble and ill luck.more
Rating: Unrated (not rated)
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Seton I. Miller
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 14, 1998
Paramount Pictures


Ray Milland
as Stephen Neale
Marjorie Reynolds
as Carla Hilfe
Carl Esmond
as Willi Hilfe
Dan Duryea
as Cost/Travers
Hillary Brooke
as Mrs. Bellane
Percy Waram
as Insp. Prentice
Alan Napier
as Dr. Forrester
Erskine Sanford
as Mr. Rennit
Thomas Louden
as Mr. Newland
Aminta Dyne
as 1st Mrs. Bellaire
Rita Johnson
as 2nd Mrs. Bellaire
Eustace Wyatt
as Blind Man
Mary Field
as Miss Penteel
Byron Foulger
as Mr. Newby
Lester Matthews
as Dr. Morton
Helena Grant
as Mrs. Merrick
Connie Leon
as Lady Purchaser of Ca...
Eric Wilton
as Scotland Yard Man
Boyd Irwin
as Scotland Yard Man
Frank Baker
as Scotland Yard Man
Colin Kenny
as Scotland Yard Man
Wilson Benge
as Air Raid Warden
Olaf Hytten
as Clerk in Tailor Shop
Cyril Delavanti
as Railway Ticket Agent
Matthew Boulton
as Government Official
David Clyde
as English Bobby
Bruce Carruthers
as Police Clerk
Clive Morgan
as Man in Tailor's Shop
George Broughton
as Man in Tailor's Shop
Grayce Hampton
as Lady with Floppy Hat
Ottola Nesmith
as Woman at Admission G...
Jessica Newcombe
as Cake Booth Lady
Anne Curson
as Lady with Children
Harry Allen
as Delivery Man
Arthur Blake
as Officer
Edward Fielding
as Executive
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Ministry of Fear

Critic Reviews for Ministry of Fear

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4)

Lang at his finest and purest.

Full Review… | October 15, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Fritz Lang, a master at getting the most out of mystery, intrigue and melodrama, in his direction apparently didn't have his way from beginning to end on Ministry of Fear.

Full Review… | July 22, 2008
Top Critic

This is a wonderfully atmospheric, almost expressionistic thriller, packed with memorable moments.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Plant yourself well in a firm seat and keep your over-coat on when you go to see this thriller, for it dumps you and douses you fast.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Fritz Lang turns this into a creepily effective work, full of bravura set pieces and subtle suggestions.

Full Review… | October 15, 2014
Radio Times

Uncertainty and fear of the unknown are the hallmarks of this classic film noir by master director Lang, which, until the last revelation, is guaranteed to puzzle and chill the viewer.

Full Review… | October 15, 2014
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Ministry of Fear


Ministry of Fear is easily one of Fritz Lang's high points of the 1940s. He does a great job capturing WWII London with a dreadful mood. The chase scene in the beginning as well as the seance scene is worth it alone. The cast is good, but the set design is superb and if my senses aren't failing me I'd say that Ministry of Fear is a precursor to North By Northwest. Overall, the setup is good, the middle dwindles a bit and the last few minutes are kind of weak (with a slightly embarrassing ending) but if you can get your hands on a copy of this movie it's worth the time.

Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

I don't really care that the story is ridiculous, Lang directed the film beautifully (Is there any other director who used contrasting shadow and light so well?) and I like that its a WWII propaganda film, that doesn't really feel like a propaganda film . . . probably because the "heroes" and "villains" are less clearly defined than most stuff from that era.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

While benefiting from Fritz Lang's Sturm und Drang-style, Ministry of Fear suffers from a predictable climax and a mediocre Marjorie Reynolds.

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