The Ladykillers (1955)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

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
Art House & International , Classics , Comedy , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Alec Guinness
as Prof. Marcus
Peter Sellers
as Harry Robinson
Robert Moore
as Constable (uncredited)
Herbert Lom
as Louis Harvey
Cecil Parker
as Maj. Courteney
Frankie Howerd
as Barrow Boy
Fred Griffiths
as The Junkman
Philip Stainton
as Police Sergeant
Jack Warner
as Police Superintendent
Kenneth Connor
as The Cab Driver
Harold Goodwin
as Parcels Clerk
Stratford Johns
as Security Guard
Danny Green
as One-Round
Katie Johnson
as Mrs. Louisa Alexandra Wilberforce
Ewan Roberts
as Constable
Sam Kydd
as Second Cab Driver (uncredited)
Jack Melford
as Detective
Leonard Sharp
as Pavement Artist
Lucy Griffiths (II)
as Miss Pringle (uncredited)
John Rudling
as Nervous Man (uncredited)
Edie Martin
as Lettice
Helen Burls
as Hypatia
Neil Wilson
as Policeman (uncredited)
Michael Corcoran
as Burglar (uncredited)
Madge Brindley
as Large Lady (uncredited)
George Roderick
as Radio Car Policeman (uncredited)
Peter Williams
as Detective at Parcels Office (uncredited)
Phoebe Hodgson
as 4th Guest
Harold Goodwin
as Parcels Clerk
Katie Johnson
as Mrs. Louisa Alexandra Wilberforce
Evelyn Kerry
as Amelia (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for The Ladykillers

All Critics (23)

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

One of the great Ealing comedies of the 1950s.

Full Review… | October 8, 2015
Times (UK)

Delightfully foolish.

Full Review… | September 8, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Nothing else like it.

May 8, 2009

As directed in a kind of damp, gray color palette by Alexander Mackendrick the film is one of the richest and most carefully-paced of the Ealing comedies.

Full Review… | June 30, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

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

Super Reviewer


A hilarious story, I loved it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


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

Super Reviewer

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