The Tall Target (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Tall Target (1951)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Tall Target Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

This historical thriller is set shortly after President Abraham Lincoln was elected and centers upon a bodyguard who learns of a plot to assassinate him. He tries to tell his superiors, but they scoff at the notion. This causes the bodyguard to quit and launch a personal investigation. He is on a Baltimore-bound train when he learns that one of the potential assassins is also a passenger. Now the bodyguard must somehow stop him and the other would-be killers.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: George Worthing Yates, Art Cohn, Daniel Mainwaring
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 1, 2009
Warner Bros.


Dick Powell
as John Kennedy
Adolphe Menjou
as Colonel Caleb Jeffer...
Paula Raymond
as Ginny Beaufort
Marshall Thompson
as Lance Beaufort
Ruby Dee
as Rachel
Will Geer
as Homer Crowley
Richard Rober
as Lt. Coulter
Florence Bates
as Mrs. Charlotte Alsop
Victor Kilian
as John K. Gannon
Katherine Warren
as Mrs. Gibbons
Leif Erickson
as Stranger
Peter Brocco
as Fernandina
Barbara Billingsley
as Young Mother
Will Wright
as Thomas I. Ogden
Regis Toomey
as Tim Rielly
Jeff Richards
as Policeman
Tom Powers
as Simon G. Stroud
Leslie Kimmell
as Abraham Lincoln
James Harrison
as Allan Pinkerton
Dan Foster
as Dapper Man
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Tall Target

Critic Reviews for The Tall Target

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

... a film full of dynamic images and marvelous grace notes.

Full Review… | December 6, 2009

For all its social relevance, The Tall Target is first and foremost a 50's drama, full of action, whiskey, and saucy characters.

Full Review… | February 14, 2009
Film and Felt

Mann's strong direction keeps things taut, fast-paced, very well-detailed and nail-biting.

Full Review… | July 6, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Tall Target

[font=Century Gothic]In "The Tall Target," Detective Sergeant John Kennedy(Dick Powell) is convinced there will be an attempt on the life of President-Elect Abraham Lincoln when he speaks in Baltimore on the way to the inauguration but nobody will believe him. So, he telegraphs Lincoln in Harrisburg in the hope of diverting and warning him. Once on the Night Flyer Express to Baltimore, he finds his valise but not his friend who has his ticket and later finds him murdered. On returning to his seat, Kennedy finds a man(Leif Erickson) who claims to be him, leaving the real John Kennedy to get Colonel Jeffers(Adolphe Menjou) to vouch for him.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"The Tall Target" is an entertaining thrill ride of a movie full of twists with a superb performance by Ruby Dee. It is a speculation inspired by real events that nails the history and geography which helps in building suspense as the train gets closer to its date with destiny. Speaking of history, the characters are ordinary people swept up in extraordinary events, each with a separate point of view on Lincoln's election. For most of them, it is just talk but there are people who are vile enough to resort to violence. Kennedy is the only one with a personal connection to Lincoln, being inspired to risk everything on his behalf.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

good stuff descent period piece and I am interested to see how the new movie , the conspirator stack up against this one.


I saw this film in a rather weird way. I arrived late in the room and thus missed the first 10 minutes. As a result, a film that could have been medium at best became really good. Each character was background-less, their relationships were surrounded by mystery and their motives totally unknown. I got suddenly thrown in the action avoiding the usual romantic and annoying character-building scenes. So a film to see, but try to avoid the first ten minutes or so.

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