The Big Heat

1953

The Big Heat

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 29

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,931
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Movie Info

Police Sergeant Bannion is investigating the apparent suicide of a corrupt cop, then is suddenly ordered to stop the investigation. Driven to unravel the mystery, Bannion continues probing until an explosion meant for him kills his wife. He resigns from the force and soon learns that behind it all is a powerful underworld organisation led by Mike Lagana and his cold-blooded henchman, Vince Stone.

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Cast

Glenn Ford
as Det. Sgt. Dave Bannion
Gloria Grahame
as Debby Marsh
Jocelyn Brando
as Katie Bannion
Alexander Scourby
as Mike Lagana
Lee Marvin
as Vince Stone
Jeanette Nolan
as Bertha Duncan
Willis Bouchey
as Lt. Wilkes
Robert Burton
as Gus Burke
Adam Williams
as Larry Gordon
Howard Wendell
as Commissioner Higgins
Chris Alcaide
as George Rose
Dorothy Green
as Lucy Chapman
Ric Roman
as Baldy
Edith Evanson
as Selma Parker
Joseph Mell
as Dr. Kane
Sidney Clute
as Bartender
Ezelle Poule
as Mrs. Tucker
Byron Kane
as Dr. Jones
Lyle Latell
as Moving Man
Paul Maxey
as Fuller
Charles Cane
as Hopkins
Al Eben
as Harry Shoenstein
Harry Lauter
as Hank O'Connell
Phil Chambers
as Hettrick
Robert Forrest
as Bill Rutherford
John Doucette
as Mark Reiner
John Close
as Policeman
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Critic Reviews for The Big Heat

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (7)

Audience Reviews for The Big Heat

  • Jul 15, 2018
    A deeply satisfying noir, with a gritty cop (Glenn Ford), femme fatale (Gloria Grahame), and powerful crime bosses (Lee Marvin and Alexander Scourby). I love how hardboiled this one is, with Ford becoming suspicious after some discrepancies in a fellow cop's suicide, and a woman getting viciously murdered. He's soon fighting upstream against a wave of corruption, and then getting threatened himself, but I won't say more about the plot. All of the performances are terrific. Ford is a sweet and decent guy with his family, brave and unflinching in confronting evil, and tough when he needs to be - tiptoeing along the line of being too tough in some cases, the moral ambiguity of which is interesting. Grahame is just delightful, particularly in the scene where she shimmies about during cocktail hour. Of the villains, Lee Marvin plays a sadist very well, and is explosive in every scene he's in. Director Fritz Lang harnesses it all well, including the strong script based on William P. McGivern's novel, and the pace is perfect. I loved how the film was clear enough to follow, but at the same time, had quite a bit of depth to it. Great stuff, and clearly influential.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 18, 2013
    A great hard-boiled mystery. Glenn Ford, Lee Marvin, and Gloria Grahame all deliver their punchy dialogue perfectly. Its a little sad to see a Fritz Lang film that's devoid of his earlier expressionist style, but he still serves this brutal material very well.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2013
    One of the better examples of the noir genre. There are nice unexpected twists and turns that add to the drama and lead to a dramatic fulfilling conclusion.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2011
    Film Noir that's for sure, they just don't make them like this anymore. Glenn Ford plays a detective who is working a case where city officials and the mob are involved, He's putting the heat on the mob trying to solve the apparent suicide of another police officer, and the mob is putting the heat on his family. Enjoyable scene's at home wife cooking dinner having a few cocktails. Beer at a bar cost 35 cents, a real phone booth that cost a dime had a door on the booth so no one could hear your conversation unlike today with cell phones. Overall an outstanding Black and White Film, Marlen Brando's sister played in this movie and she was pretty hot back in the day Jocelyn Brando. And Gloria Grahame played a gangsters girl and she was also hot, don't see women like this on the big screen today. No Class no Talent welcome to 2011. The movie is 4 1/2 stars all the way.
    Bruce B Super Reviewer

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