The Stranger (1946)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The Stranger is often considered Orson Welles' most "traditional" Hollywood-style directorial effort. Welles plays a college professor named Charles Rankin, who lives in a pastoral Connecticut town with his lovely wife Mary (Loretta Young). One afternoon, an extremely nervous German gentleman named Meineke (Konstantin Shayne) arrives in town. Professor Rankin seems disturbed--but not unduly so--by Meineke's presence. He invites the stranger for a walk in the woods, and as they journey farther … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Victor Trivas, Anthony Veiller
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 8, 2000
RKO Pictures


as Prof. Charles Rankin

as Mr. Wilson

as Mrs. Lawrence

as Mary Longstreet

as Konrad Meinike

as Judge Longstreet

as Noah Longstreet

as Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence

as Mr. Potter

as Student

as Mr. Peabody

as Mr. Peabody
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Stranger

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Critic Reviews for The Stranger

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (5)

Adroitly directed by Orson Welles, who also plays the star, it is a grade A gooseflesh-raiser.

Full Review… | March 12, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Orson Welles's 1946 film reproduces his personal themes of self-scrutiny and self-destruction only in outline, though it is an inventive, highly enjoyable thriller.

Full Review… | April 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The Stranger is socko melodrama, spinning an intriguing web of thrills and chills.

Full Review… | April 6, 2007
Top Critic

The whole film, produced by S. P. Eagle, comes off a bloodless, manufactured show.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Welles' third film, often described as his worst, but still a hugely enjoyable thriller.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Film noir thriller, made with typical Welles creativity and visual style.

Full Review… | August 22, 2014
Classic Film and Television

Audience Reviews for The Stranger


A minor entry in the legendary career of Orson Welles, concerning a Nazi supporter (Welles) hiding out in Connecticut in the wake of the fall of the German empire, and how a skilled detective (Edward G. Robinson) tracks him down and tries to get him to confess to his true identity. Although boring at times and lacking attention to Welles new life/character that have made him so respected in the town, this movie gets a lot of things correct. Welles larger than life screen presence is consistently watchable, even when his film threatens to lose credibility and go overboard, his sound acting chops and directorial grasp keep it steady. The ending is well-done and fits the film's melodramatic second-half perfectly. Crowd pleasing if occasionally unintentionally funny in its phoniness (Robinson getting knocked out in a gym escapes logic), it is short and sweet and has an interesting enough backdrop to keep you watching.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer


Welles is so technically proficient that even his second-tier works are a clinic in form, camera blocking, and mise-en-scene. Like Bergman, he isn't afraid to use dramatic closeups to communication the emotional tics of his characters, and he always strays clear of the conventional route when it comes to his direction. The Stranger is one of Welles' more political films (which undoubtedly will turn some people off) and some of the plot points are a little far-fetched, but I marvel at how assuredly paced this film is -- culminating to yet another classic Welles-esque ending. It quickens at the right time, and plays out like a scrupulous crescendo. Of course, having one of the greatest noir actors of all time as your lead doesn't hurt either.

Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

The Stranger or I Married a Nazi (just kidding). A small town is unaware that one of their citizens was a Nazi in WWII, and he lives a normal life until someone comes looking for him. A good movie, with good actors and an interesting story.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

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