D.O.A. (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

D.O.A. (1950)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

D.O.A. Photos

Movie Info

Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien), a certified public accountant, goes on vacation in San Francisco. Awakening after a night of drinking, Frank feels sick and is informed by a doctor that he is suffering from "iridium" poisoning and has only a few days to live. Determined to find his killer, and aided by his secretary and fiancé Paula (Pamela Britton), Frank traces a shipment of iridium which he notarized to Los Angeles. Arriving in Los Angeles, Frank finds the killers, and, after a thrilling chase, kills them, later telling his story to the police. Told entirely in flashbacks -- with the unusual perspective of a murder victim functioning as his own detective, combined with the arbitrary nature of the motive and the circumstances leading to his poisoning -- D.O.A. is an unusually cynical, memorable film. Directed by Rudolph Mate, the film is fast-paced and suspenseful. The use of jazz music, combined with intense close-ups of the musicians, adds to the chaotic, claustrophobic feeling of the film. Edmond O'Brien is excellent as an ordinary man doomed by circumstance and trapped in a nightmare world.

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Edmond O'Brien
as Frank Bigelow
Pamela Britton
as Paula Gibson
Beverly Campbell
as Miss Foster
Beverly Garland
as Miss Foster
Lynne Baggett
as Mrs. Philips
William Ching
as Holliday
Henry Hart
as Stanley Philips
Laurette Luez
as Marla Rakubian
Lawrence Dobkin
as Dr. Schaefer
Frank Gerstle
as Dr. MacDonald
Fred Jaquet
as Dr. Matson
Jerry Paris
as Bell Hop
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Critic Reviews for D.O.A.

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3)

Mate's direction of the first portion of the story lingers too long over it, spreading the expectancy very thin, but when he does launch his suspense-building it comes over with a solid wallop.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Incidental pleasures include a bevy of suspiciously beautiful women... the wide lapels and fedoras favored by the heavies, and the ''in'' talk of the period, featuring words like ''hip,'' ''jive'' and ''kicks.''

March 25, 2006 | Full Review…

Maté shoots fast and always to the point as he drives his protagonist through endless doorways and rooms which are like trapdoors and boxes in an accelerating nightmare.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

...an underwhelming thriller that could and should have fared so much better.

October 27, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

[VIDEO ESSAY] A high-concept movie before there was such a thing, "D.O.A." foreshadowed the poisoning of (possibly) Yasser Arafat and (definitely) Alexander Litvinenko - via polonium-210 - by a half-century.

April 27, 2014 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Sweltering Borgesian fantasy

February 4, 2010 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for D.O.A.


"I want to report a murder." "Who was murdered?" "I was." One of the great "grabber" openings in movie history doesn't disappoint, leading to a tense and fatalistic noir about a poisoned accountant searching for his own killer.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Frank Bigelow is an accountant living on borrowed time. Someone has slipped luminous toxin into his bourbon and now he has just a few days to solve his own murder. D.O.A. is over-acted, over-scripted and under-appreciated. An absolute delight!

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

An extremely exciting, suspenseful movie, a really good movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

D.O.A. Quotes

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