The Breaking Point


The Breaking Point (1950)



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Movie Info

In this taut adaptation of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not a financially struggling charter-boat captain finds himself in deep and turbulent water when he is forced to get involved with smugglers after a dishonest millionaire cheats him out of pay during a fishing excursion to Mexico; the louse also leaves his seductive girl friend, a hooker, stranded on the boat. The desperate captain agrees to illegally smuggle Chinese refugees into the US, but during the voyage, he is again double-crossed and must force his hapless passengers to jump ship when the Coast Guard suddenly appears. They take his boat away from him. Deeply depressed, he has sex with the abandoned woman and then goes home. Meanwhile, the crooked lawyer who talked him into smuggling the refugees, gets the captain's boat back and then blackmails him into taking a gang of crooks to Catalina Island. During the 26-mile voyage things come to a head when one of the crooks kills the skipper's first mate. Suddenly the captain snaps and he finally gets his revenge.

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John Garfield
as Harry Morgan
Patricia Neal
as Leona Charles
Phyllis Thaxter
as Lucy Morgan
Juano Hernandez
as Wesley Park
Edmon Ryan
as Rogers
Ralph Dumke
as Hannagan
Norman Field
as Dock Attendant
Juan Duval
as Bartender
Spencer Chan
as 1st Chinese Cook
Helen Hatch
as Mrs. Cooley
Bob McLean
as Leona's Party
John Close
as Deputy
Alex Gerry
as Mr. Phillips
Glen Turnbull
as Taxi Driver
John Alvin
as Reporter
David McMahon
as Coast Guardsman
Paul McGuire
as Leona's Escort
Len Hendry
as Boatswain
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Critic Reviews for The Breaking Point

All Critics (5)

The film is always interesting and often exciting, and Mr. Michael Curtiz has directed it in a tough and sullen style which is most effective.

Jun 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Harry may be tough, but in Curtiz' hands he's basically a nice guy in noirland.

Jan 15, 2018 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

The insistence and courage of the film's final shot elevates it from a very good film to a nearly great one.

Sep 15, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The Breaking Point adapts Hemingway's book and wrings out some genuine notes of solid tragedy, as well as a more nuanced performance from its lead actor.

Sep 9, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Clearly the best movie adaptation of a Hemingway novel.

Mar 21, 2003 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Breaking Point


Superior performances in this rough well made film. In his second to last film, a much truer version of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not than the Bogie/Bacall film, Garfield is nothing short of brilliant making his early death and the loss of his talent all the clearer. Patricia Neal has one of her best if not the best role of her early Hollywood career and she's great as the been around wise girl who has a yen for Garfield. She and Phyllis Thaxter, also very fine, provide an interesting contrast as women who are miles apart but also similar in many ways. The fact that the two actresses share a resemblance helps make the point even clearer. Worth seeking out.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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