The Killers Reviews

  • Jan 24, 2019

    Don Siegel's reworking of the Hemingway 40s film noir is particularly notable for the strength of the performances (apart from a miscast Ronald Reagan as the mob boss) and the unfussy direction. Particularly fine are Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager as the two hitmen, and Angie Dickinson as the duplicitous moll. Only a few rather dodgy back-projected race sequences and some stock library footage betray its Movie of the Week TV origins.

    Don Siegel's reworking of the Hemingway 40s film noir is particularly notable for the strength of the performances (apart from a miscast Ronald Reagan as the mob boss) and the unfussy direction. Particularly fine are Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager as the two hitmen, and Angie Dickinson as the duplicitous moll. Only a few rather dodgy back-projected race sequences and some stock library footage betray its Movie of the Week TV origins.

  • Aug 17, 2018

    Any similarities with the Hemingway's short story is just coincidental.

    Any similarities with the Hemingway's short story is just coincidental.

  • Apr 14, 2017

    Awful and boring as hell.

    Awful and boring as hell.

  • Nov 14, 2016

    This was a cool little film noir from 1964 that flew under my radar until now. Lee Marvin is great in any scene he's ever been in, in my book, so this was a feast of scenes for him to chew. He's a little less gruff than in my other favorites such as The Big Red One and The Dirty Dozen but what he lacks in gruff he makes up in cool. And fellow hit-man partner Clu Gulager (who I've met) is a super wise ass with some great lines and kind of grew on me as the movie went along. Angie Dickson (who I've met) is decent. Ronald Regan(!) plays the heavy which is just kind of weird. He does a decent job and comes off as a little bit threatening in most scenes. John Cassavetes is great as the race car driver who gets seduced and used. Lots of familiar faces throughout the movie such as Norman Fell and Claude Akins. It's definitely a B-movie with a thread of a budget but what it lacks in money it makes up for with cool camera angles and a tight little yarn that tells the story within the story as it goes along. Its a very amoral with at least 2 scenes of Angie getting slapped, punched and worse! I'm sure this move was super controversial in its day (and even today). I give it 8 out of 10 stars. And remember "the only man that's not afraid to die is the man that's dead already." - Stay Sick!

    This was a cool little film noir from 1964 that flew under my radar until now. Lee Marvin is great in any scene he's ever been in, in my book, so this was a feast of scenes for him to chew. He's a little less gruff than in my other favorites such as The Big Red One and The Dirty Dozen but what he lacks in gruff he makes up in cool. And fellow hit-man partner Clu Gulager (who I've met) is a super wise ass with some great lines and kind of grew on me as the movie went along. Angie Dickson (who I've met) is decent. Ronald Regan(!) plays the heavy which is just kind of weird. He does a decent job and comes off as a little bit threatening in most scenes. John Cassavetes is great as the race car driver who gets seduced and used. Lots of familiar faces throughout the movie such as Norman Fell and Claude Akins. It's definitely a B-movie with a thread of a budget but what it lacks in money it makes up for with cool camera angles and a tight little yarn that tells the story within the story as it goes along. Its a very amoral with at least 2 scenes of Angie getting slapped, punched and worse! I'm sure this move was super controversial in its day (and even today). I give it 8 out of 10 stars. And remember "the only man that's not afraid to die is the man that's dead already." - Stay Sick!

  • Jul 18, 2016

    A stripped down, no-nonsense adaptation of Ernest Hemmingway's 1927 short-story, which had previously been adapted in 1946 by Robert Siodmak, and starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner, the 1964 version of The Killers is an effective and enjoyably straightforward film noir, directed with smooth efficiency by Don Siegel (Dirty Harry), and performed with skill by a clutch of great actors, such as Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes, and, in his final role before entering politics, Ronald Reagan. That's right, Ronald Reagan. As a villain no less! But in all seriousness, the film holds up incredibly well. Originally envisioned as one of the first made-for-tv movies, it was deemed too violent for broadcast, so, Universal repackaged it as a good old fashioned slice of late period American noir. And as such, the budget is lower then your average film, but is used effectively. Don Siegel directs the story of a weathered hitman, Charlie Strom (Lee Marvin), pondering why his target, a former race car driver, Johnny North (John Cassavetes), didn't resist his fate, instead simply allowing himself to be shot. Deeply confused, the hitman and his twitchy, sunglasses adorned partner Lee (Clu Gulager), the duo set out to find out what made their target so dead inside. Along the way, they first interrogate Johnny's former mechanic and friend, Earl (Claude Akins), who points them in the direction of Shelia Farr (Angie Dickinson), a alluring temptress who caught Johnny's eye, but happened to also be the girlfriend of the villainous gangster Jack Browning (Ronald Reagan). Siegel keeps the pace swift and direct, bouncing between present-day and flashbacks with ease, while keeping the film alive with a spark and edginess to the direction. It's not super eye catching, but it's all effective, and helps contribute to the stark, pessimistic tone of the film. On top of that, he gets some choice performances out of his stable of actors. Lee Marvin is, as always, a perfect mix of calm and collected yet violent and dangerous. By Marvin's own admission, this was his favorite performance to date, and it's well deserving. Quintessentially summing up his unique brand of stark roughness and coolness that no other actor could quite match. John Cassavetes delivers a great performance as Johnny North, whose life is related back to us in flashback. An ambitious, determined driver who falls into complete bondage under Angie Dickinson's vixen like charms, Cassavetes mixes vulnerability with arrogance perfectly, and even though his character is no doubt doomed by the narrative (after all, he dies in the first five minutes of the movie), you can't help but root for the guy, and feel pained when he repeatedly gets screwed over in increasingly terrible ways. Angie Dickinson is a quintessential noir femme fatal, all allure but no soul. Her steady seduction of Cassavetes is smooth and done with practiced intent, and despite all her over-the-top declarations of love, it's plainly apparent that she's a no good, two-timin' dame, whose own greed means she's dedicated to the real love of her life: Power, and those who wield it. Ronald Reagan meanwhile, provides an assured, smoothly calm and collected performance as the dominating, cold hearted gangster Jack Browning. Using his innate charisma and charm, Reagan is the textbook definition of affably evil, and, for the only time Reagan ever played a villain, he does so quite well. And trust me, it is quite surreal to see the future president of the united states play a cold hearted mobster, but at the same time, it works! The film's score, by a then-unknown John Williams (credited as Johnny Williams) is a spikey, crackling piece of excellent jazz scoring. Contrasting the stark, cynical noir elements with the romantic elements, Williams shows his natural talent for film music, and it's a vital piece of his musical filmography, if only to show how good he was from the beginning. So, suffice to say, The Killers is an underrated, unpretentious piece of excellent genre filmmaking, and totally worth checking out. The best part? It's on YouTube! 5 out of 5 stars.

    A stripped down, no-nonsense adaptation of Ernest Hemmingway's 1927 short-story, which had previously been adapted in 1946 by Robert Siodmak, and starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner, the 1964 version of The Killers is an effective and enjoyably straightforward film noir, directed with smooth efficiency by Don Siegel (Dirty Harry), and performed with skill by a clutch of great actors, such as Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes, and, in his final role before entering politics, Ronald Reagan. That's right, Ronald Reagan. As a villain no less! But in all seriousness, the film holds up incredibly well. Originally envisioned as one of the first made-for-tv movies, it was deemed too violent for broadcast, so, Universal repackaged it as a good old fashioned slice of late period American noir. And as such, the budget is lower then your average film, but is used effectively. Don Siegel directs the story of a weathered hitman, Charlie Strom (Lee Marvin), pondering why his target, a former race car driver, Johnny North (John Cassavetes), didn't resist his fate, instead simply allowing himself to be shot. Deeply confused, the hitman and his twitchy, sunglasses adorned partner Lee (Clu Gulager), the duo set out to find out what made their target so dead inside. Along the way, they first interrogate Johnny's former mechanic and friend, Earl (Claude Akins), who points them in the direction of Shelia Farr (Angie Dickinson), a alluring temptress who caught Johnny's eye, but happened to also be the girlfriend of the villainous gangster Jack Browning (Ronald Reagan). Siegel keeps the pace swift and direct, bouncing between present-day and flashbacks with ease, while keeping the film alive with a spark and edginess to the direction. It's not super eye catching, but it's all effective, and helps contribute to the stark, pessimistic tone of the film. On top of that, he gets some choice performances out of his stable of actors. Lee Marvin is, as always, a perfect mix of calm and collected yet violent and dangerous. By Marvin's own admission, this was his favorite performance to date, and it's well deserving. Quintessentially summing up his unique brand of stark roughness and coolness that no other actor could quite match. John Cassavetes delivers a great performance as Johnny North, whose life is related back to us in flashback. An ambitious, determined driver who falls into complete bondage under Angie Dickinson's vixen like charms, Cassavetes mixes vulnerability with arrogance perfectly, and even though his character is no doubt doomed by the narrative (after all, he dies in the first five minutes of the movie), you can't help but root for the guy, and feel pained when he repeatedly gets screwed over in increasingly terrible ways. Angie Dickinson is a quintessential noir femme fatal, all allure but no soul. Her steady seduction of Cassavetes is smooth and done with practiced intent, and despite all her over-the-top declarations of love, it's plainly apparent that she's a no good, two-timin' dame, whose own greed means she's dedicated to the real love of her life: Power, and those who wield it. Ronald Reagan meanwhile, provides an assured, smoothly calm and collected performance as the dominating, cold hearted gangster Jack Browning. Using his innate charisma and charm, Reagan is the textbook definition of affably evil, and, for the only time Reagan ever played a villain, he does so quite well. And trust me, it is quite surreal to see the future president of the united states play a cold hearted mobster, but at the same time, it works! The film's score, by a then-unknown John Williams (credited as Johnny Williams) is a spikey, crackling piece of excellent jazz scoring. Contrasting the stark, cynical noir elements with the romantic elements, Williams shows his natural talent for film music, and it's a vital piece of his musical filmography, if only to show how good he was from the beginning. So, suffice to say, The Killers is an underrated, unpretentious piece of excellent genre filmmaking, and totally worth checking out. The best part? It's on YouTube! 5 out of 5 stars.

  • Jul 06, 2016

    It doesn't work all the time, but when it does it soars. Don Siegel is one hell of a director and his version of The Killers, although lacking the existential and poetic contours of Hemingway's short story, somewhat started propelling the gritty and nihilist crime thriller boom that eventually defined the '70s.

    It doesn't work all the time, but when it does it soars. Don Siegel is one hell of a director and his version of The Killers, although lacking the existential and poetic contours of Hemingway's short story, somewhat started propelling the gritty and nihilist crime thriller boom that eventually defined the '70s.

  • Aug 20, 2015

    Works as a tough, compelling and bleak thriller out in the daylight, though it still exists in the shadow of the '46 version.

    Works as a tough, compelling and bleak thriller out in the daylight, though it still exists in the shadow of the '46 version.

  • Dec 01, 2013

    Siegel takes Siodmak into fast, brutal post-Camelot era--The Killers strike again!!

    Siegel takes Siodmak into fast, brutal post-Camelot era--The Killers strike again!!

  • Nov 02, 2013

    this is a remake (#2) i prefer the original 1946 version-one of the first cycle film noirs.

    this is a remake (#2) i prefer the original 1946 version-one of the first cycle film noirs.

  • Aug 13, 2013

    Silly and mediocre old fashioned golden age studio film. Good performances from Marvin and Cassavetes.

    Silly and mediocre old fashioned golden age studio film. Good performances from Marvin and Cassavetes.