The Killers (1964)




Critic 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.

Movie Info

Based on an Ernest Hemingway short story, this cult classic stars Lee Marvin and Clu Gulagher as a pair of hit men assigned to kill John Cassavetes, a teacher at a school for the blind. After committing the crime, they try to piece together the man's past.
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Universal Pictures


Lee Marvin
as Charlie
Angie Dickinson
as Sheila Farr
Ronald Reagan
as Browning
John Cassavetes
as Johnny North
Claude Akins
as Earl Sylvester
Norman Fell
as Mickey
Virginia Christine
as Miss Watson
Don Haggerty
as Mail Truck Driver
Kathleen O'Malley
as Receptionist
Ted Jacques
as Gym Assistant
Irvin Mosley
as Mail Truck Guard
Jimmy Joyce
as Salesman
Davis Roberts
as Maitre D'
Hal Brock
as Race Marshal
Burt Mustin
as Elderly Man
Peter Hobbs
as Instructor
John Copage
as Porter
Tyler McVey
as Steward
Seymour Cassel
as Postal Clerk
Scott Hale
as Hotel Clerk
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Killers

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4)

Perhaps the sole justification for turning a fine old movie into a just passable new one can be summed up as Angie Dickinson.

Full Review… | May 23, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Ronald Reagan fails to crash convincingly through his goodguy image in his portrayal of a ruthless crook.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
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.

Full Review… | March 12, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This low-budget neo-noir is really a different kind of riff on the Hemingway story's themes and the genre. It also serves as a bit of foreshadowing for Seigel's violent 1971 hit Dirty Harry.

Full Review… | October 7, 2015

This color version of Hemingway's yarn is every bit as fatalistic as its black-and-white predecessor but nowhere near as impressive.

Full Review… | July 22, 2015
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for The Killers


Siegel's minimalistic style perfectly suits every crime tale he touches. This version rivals Robert Siodmak's previous by being something completely different, having more of a pulp-ish, b-movie sensitivity, au courant with a more nihilistic, violent, and mysogynistic time it was made. Memorable parts played by everyone, especially the badass Lee Marvin, and Angie Dickinson is to die for..

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


The original is where it's at, although this has it's moments. Very watchable.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer


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 The Killers of 1964 isn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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