The Killers (1964) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Killers (1964)

The Killers




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.

The Killers Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Don Siegel directed this intensely pessimistic re-make of Robert Siodmak's 1946 film noir masterpiece The Killers, based upon a story by Ernest Hemingway. As the story opens two professional looking men in business suits -- Charlie (Lee Marvin) and Lee (Clu Gulager) -- push their way into a school for the blind and terrorize a secretary until she reveals the whereabouts of Johnny North (John Cassavetes). When Charlie and Lee trace Johnny to an automobile repair class, Johnny just stands there as the two men gun him down. Afterwards, Charlie wonders why Johnny just stood there, accepting his death. He also starts to wonder about his hefty paycheck for the murder and rumors that Johnny was involved in a million-dollar heist. He decides to pay Johnny's old friend Earl Sylvester (Claude Akins) a visit at his auto shop in Florida. Earl recalls the summer day long ago when former race car driver Johnny caught the eye of the rich and beautiful Sheila Farr (Angie Dickinson). Johnny has been preparing for a race, but Sheila's attentions sidetrack him. The day of the big race, Earl notices that Sheila is visited by a group of rich gangsters, headed by Browning (Ronald Reagan, in a very surprising performance). During the race, Johnny is involved in a terrible crash, effectively ending his racing career. However, it seems Browning is arranging a mail heist and hires Johnny to drive the getaway car.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Gene L. Coon
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 18, 2003
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
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
Tyler McVey
as Steward
Seymour Cassel
as Postal Clerk
Scott Hale
as Hotel Clerk
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Killers

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 26, 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 24, 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

the opening sequence at the diner is freaking genius

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


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

Super Reviewer


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

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

The Killers Quotes

– Submitted by Cameron B (2 years ago)

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