The Ladykillers (1955)




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Music professor Alec Guinness rents a London flat from sweet old lady Katie Johnson. He tells her that, from time to time, several other musicians will visit in order to rehearse. In truth, Guinness can't play a note, nor can his visitors: he's a criminal mastermind, holding court over a gang of thieves, including the likes of punkish Peter Sellers, homicidal Herbert Lom and punchdrunk Danny Green. The gang uses Guinness' flat as headquarters as they conceive a daring 60,000 pound robbery. After pulling off the job, the gang stuffs the loot in a railway station locker. To avoid detection, Guinness convinces the ever-trusting Johnson to pick up the money. Through a series of comic complications, Johnson returns home with a police escort, with neither the woman nor the bobbies suspecting that she's carrying a fortune in her suitcase. Mistakenly believing that Johnson has ratted on them, the gang reluctantly plans to eliminate her. The Ladykillers won an Oscar nomination for William Rose's screenplay, and a BFA award for veteran character actress Johnson. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rating: NR
Genre: Art House & International , Classics , Comedy , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By: Alexander Mackendrick
Written By: William Rose
In Theaters: wide
LionsGate Entertainment


Alec Guinness
as Professor Marcus
Cecil Parker
as Maj. Courteney
Herbert Lom
as Louis Harvey
Peter Sellers
as Harry Robinson
Danny Green
as One-Round
Katie Johnson
as Mrs. Louisa Alexandra Wilberforce
Jack Warner
as Police Superintendent
Frankie Howerd
as Barrow Boy
Kenneth Connor
as The Cab Driver
Helen Burls
as Hypatia
Harold Goodwin
as Parcels Clerk
Stratford Johns
as Security Guard
Ewan Roberts
as Constable
Leonard Sharp
as Pavement Artist
Edie Martin
as Lettice
Jack Melford
as Detective
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News & Interviews for The Ladykillers

Critic Reviews for The Ladykillers

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (4)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This comedy thriller is the best film to come from Ealing Studios for some time, and the combined talents of William Rose (writer) and Alexander Mackendrick (director) have produced a witty and original diversion.

Full Review… | February 16, 2016
Monthly Film Bulletin

The architecture of the film - and buildings and angles are an integral part of why it works so well - rests upon the twin pillars of Katie Johnson and Alec Guinness.

Full Review… | November 1, 2015
Eye for Film

Audience Reviews for The Ladykillers


Not as entertaining as the remake I felt, but was good to be able to compare the two, especially with the location differences as well.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

A hilarious story, I loved it.

Aj V
Aj V

I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the person who recommended it to me, but the little old lady is worth the price of admission. UPDATE: Saw this again today, and was a little more impressed. Although I still think it starts off rather slow, it has a deliciously twisted ending. I remember that Kind Hearts and Coronets had a similar arc. I'm wondering if that's the style of older Brit comedies in general. Maybe I shouldn't be in such a hurry to turn them off.

Cindy I
Cindy I

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