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Out of the Past

Out of the Past (1947)



Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 7,544

My Rating

Movie Info

Out of the Past is so perfect a film noir that it is considered practically a textbook example of the genre. In his first starring role (it had previously been offered to John Garfield and Dick Powell), Robert Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey, the friendly but secretive proprietor of a mountain-village gas station. As Jeff's worshipful deaf-mute attendant (Dick Moore) looks on in curious fascination, an unsavory character named Joe (Paul Valentine) pulls up to the station, obviously looking for the

Jul 6, 2004


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All Critics (29) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (1) | DVD (12)

Each change of angle and shift of light evokes an inner disturbance; the actors seem to push through the dense shadow as through water, revealing fast people in slow motion ...

April 7, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Direction by Jacques Tourneur pays close attention to mood development, achieving realistic flavor that is further emphasized by real life settings and topnotch lensing by Nicholas Musuraca.

April 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The most delicate and nuanced of film noirs, graced with a reflective lyricism that almost lifts it out of the genre.

April 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All these B movie poets were under contract to RKO in the winter of 1946, and produced the best movie of everyone involved -- once seen, never forgotten.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the greatest of all film noirs.

January 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's very snappy and quite intriguingly played by a cast that has been well and smartly directed by Jacques Tourneur.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[VIDEO ESSAY] One of the best-loved '40s era contributions to the film noir genre, Director Jacques Tourneur's "Out of the Past" (1947) is a definitive model.

February 11, 2012 Full Review Source:

Few films noir were better than this.

August 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Jacques Tourneuer's most accomplished film and a great sampler of film noir, sort of a textbook both visually and thematically.

July 9, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Out of the Past should be considered a prototypical example of how to do noir the right way--shadowy corners, double crossings aplenty, a luscious femme fatale, and, of course, murders.

May 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

What makes "Out of the Past" stand out among the film noir classics is that it has better actors, a better screenplay and it doesn't look like it was made on the cheap.

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Beautiful thriller, with haunting direction.

August 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

An irresistible blend of postwar fatalism, hard-boiled dialogue, dangerous sex and luscious black-and-whites ... the slouching, sleepy-eyed Mitchum is arguably the consummate noir hero.

March 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

The first starring role for Robert Mitchum (both John Garfield and Dick Powell turned down the part) is a beauty.

January 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Mitchum's sad-eyed countenance is perfect for the world-weary, dead-eyed defeatist he plays.

August 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Jacques Tourneur directed one of the all-time greatest film noirs with Out of the Past, which also gave Robert Mitchum one of his two greatest roles.

July 5, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A little too brooding and stylish for its own good, if you ask me.

January 27, 2004 Full Review Source: | Comments (6)

Film noir at its darkest

September 5, 2003
Lawrence Journal-World

Top-notch noir

September 18, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Out of the Past (1947), (aka Build My Gallows High, its title in Britain), is one of the greatest, multi-layered film noirs of all time...

April 18, 2001 Full Review Source: Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

Audience Reviews for Out of the Past

A stranger uncovers the secret past of a small town gas station owner drawing him back into the shadowy world he was trying to forget. This was Robert Mitchum's first starring role and it's easy to see why it made him a star; he is superb as the ex-private eye who falls for the charms of one of the quintessential femme fatales in the shape of Jane Greer. Kirk Douglas also gives brilliant support as the great manipulator looking for revenge and the web of deceit he weaves makes for an intriguing plot that's complex without being overly convoluted. The icing on the cake is the artistic eye of Jacques Tourneur who makes the film one of the most visually attractive crime dramas ever made. Years ahead of its time, Out Of The Past is one of THE greats of Film Noir.
February 7, 2013
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

The director of Cat People strikes again with what may be a perfect noir.
August 27, 2011

Super Reviewer

I really got lost with the plot around the middle, something about tax papers and what not. I guess i either didn't pay attention or i'm just stupid. So it will need a rewatch. Also, BITCHES AND WHORES!
August 3, 2011
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

Out of the Past has everything a film noir junkie could ask for. Dialogue you could open a letter with, darkly moody cinematography, a femme fatale that makes Ann Coulter look like a pre-school teacher and a world-weathered simp who knows he's headed straight for a screw-job. Robert Mitchum is perfect and Jane Greer plays her role to a tee. Great supporting performances from Kirk Douglas and Rhonda Fleming as well. Jacques Tourneur's direction definitely has leftovers from his Val Lewton days (definitely not a criticism) and goes toe to toe with any other element of the movie. Out of the Past is also one of the best examples of film noir even if its not one of the best known.
March 22, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Kathie Moffett: Tell me why you're so hard to please.
    2. Jeff Bailey: Take me where I can tell you.
    – Submitted by Melinda C (5 months ago)
    1. Jeff Bailey: You're like a leaf that blows from one gutter to another.
    – Submitted by John L (15 months ago)
    1. Jeff Bailey: Baby I don't care .
    – Submitted by Jim O (2 years ago)
    1. Kathie Moffett: I think we deserve a break.
    2. Jeff Bailey: We deserve each other.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Jeff Bailey: You know, maybe I was wrong and luck is like love. You have to go all the way to find it.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Jeff Bailey: You know, maybe I was wrong and luck is like love. You have to go all the way to find it.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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Foreign Titles

  • Out of the Past - Goldenes Gift (DE)
  • Build My Gallows High (UK)
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