The Killers

Critics Consensus

Though it can't best Robert Siodmak's classic 1946 version, Don Siegel's take on the Ernest Hemingway story stakes out its own violent territory, and offers a terrifically tough turn from Lee Marvin.

79%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 24

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,106
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Movie Info

A hit man (Lee Marvin) and his partner (Clu Gulager) try to find out why their latest victim, a former race-car driver (John Cassavetes), did not try to get away.

Cast & Crew

Lee Marvin
Charlie Strom
John Cassavetes
Johnny North
Ronald Reagan
Jack Browning
Claude Akins
Earl Sylvester
Norman Fell
Mickey Farmer
Don Haggerty
Mail Truck Driver
Robert Phillips
George Fleming
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Critic Reviews for The Killers

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (5)

  • Siegel's terse, seething, and stylish direction glows with the blank radiance of sheet metal in sunlight; the movie's bright primary colors and glossy luxuries are imbued with menace, and its luminous delights convey a terrifyingly cold world view.

    August 28, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Perhaps the sole justification for turning a fine old movie into a just passable new one can be summed up as Angie Dickinson.

    May 23, 2011 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Ronald Reagan fails to crash convincingly through his goodguy image in his portrayal of a ruthless crook.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The second film version (1964) of Ernest Hemingway's short story, directed by Don Siegel with far more energy than Robert Siodmak could muster for his overrated 1946 effort.

    March 12, 2008 | Full Review…
  • A familiar tale of robbery and betrayal unfolds, not enhanced by the glossy colour but given a terrific boost by the fact that the two killers stick around and are superbly characterised by Marvin and Gulager.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Marvin is the un-McQueen. Not handsome, unconcerned with the audience and therefore compelling, he is distant and takes things personally. He's too smart to be monumental like other movie stars, but when he falls it's like a world got killed.

    November 29, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Killers

  • Sep 04, 2010
    The Killers, sometimes marketed as Ernest Hemingway's The Killers, is a 1964 crime film released by Universal Studios. It is the second Hollywood adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's short story of the same name, following a version made in 1946 starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner. It was directed by Don Siegel and stars Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson. At the time of its release, Marvin said that it was his favorite film.One morning, hitmen Charlie (Lee Marvin) and Lee (Clu Gulager) enter a school for the blind and terrorize the principal until she reveals the whereabouts of a teacher, Johnny North (John Cassavetes). As the hitmen walk toward North's upstairs classroom, the teacher receives a call warning him of their arrival. However, a saddened Johnny responds, "It's okay. I know them." He calmly waits at his desk as Charlie and Lee send him to his death in a fusilade of bullets. As they depart from by train, Charlie admits that he is bothered that North refused to flee. He and Lee run through what they know about the man they have just killed. Johnny was once a champion race car driver whose career ended in a violent crash. Four years before his death, he was involved in a one million dollar mail truck robbery. Tempted by the thought of a $1 million payday, Charlie and Lee visit Miami in order to interview Johnny's former mechanic. Good movie with surprise finale.
    Andre T Super Reviewer
  • Oct 13, 2009
    Definitely prefer the 1946 version.The 1964 version was alright but a little cheezy
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2009
    Excellent film noir!
    Laura C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 18, 2009
    Not as atmospheric as Robert Siodmak's 1946 version but this neo-noirish rendition of Ernest Hemingway's short story does have it's merits. Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson are standouts in an otherwise lethargic cast. Director Don Siegel took a completely different approach to the material, resulting in a film that's more of a retelling than a remake. In fact, if the titles weren't the same, it's doubtful you'd even recognize the story. I still favor the original film but <i>The Killers</i> of 1964 isn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be.
    Randy T Super Reviewer

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