The Wrong Man 1956

The Wrong Man

Critics Consensus

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92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,187

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Movie Info

Musician Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda) needs money to pay for his wife Rose's (Vera Miles) dental procedure. When he tries to borrow money from their insurance policy, someone at the office mistakes him for a man who had robbed them twice at gunpoint. After Manny is arrested, his defense attorney, Frank O'Connor (Anthony Quayle), works to demonstrate that Manny has an alibi for the crimes. The stress of the case, however, threatens to destroy Manny's family before his name can be cleared.

Cast & Crew

Henry Fonda
Manny Balestrero
Vera Miles
Rose Balestrero
Anthony Quayle
Frank O'Connor
Esther Minciotti
Mama Balestrero
Charles Cooper
Det. Matthews
Nehemiah Persoff
Eugene Conforti
Laurinda Barrett
Constance Willis
Maxwell Anderson
Writer (Novel)
Herbert Coleman
Associate Producer
Bernard Herrmann
Original Music
Robert Burks
Cinematographer
George Tomasini
Film Editor
Paul Sylbert
Art Direction
William L. Kuehl
Set Decoration
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Critic Reviews for The Wrong Man

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (2)

  • Hitchcock's ultimate point evokes cosmic terror: innocence is merely a trick of paperwork, whereas guilt is the human condition.

    June 29, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Frighteningly authentic, the story generates only a modicum of drama.

    March 25, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • In its efforts to be comprehensive about the proceedings, educating audiences who might not know the ins and outs of a run-in with the law, the pacing isn't always tight.

    August 23, 2020 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…
  • Director Alfred Hitchcock forsakes his usual shivers-and-giggles formula to produce a piece of glum honest realism closely based on an actual case.

    November 5, 2019 | Full Review…
  • A sullen drama from the first scene until the last, anchored by rather sincere performances and conveyed in the sorts of shadows and silence that were the staples of mainstream film noir.

    May 30, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Devoid of any Hitchcockian touches, the movie disappoints only in that it could have been made by any filmmaker experimenting in the faux-documentary style during this period (Jules Dassin comes to mind) -- otherwise, it's gripping material.

    January 30, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Wrong Man

  • Dec 01, 2016
    I have to say, usually in this country it's an African-American man who gets arrested as the 'Wrong Man', but this Hitchcock film is indeed based closely on a true story. It's interesting to ponder why Hitch announces that fact at the outset, and I suppose it's because therein lies the true horror: that at any time, while minding our own business, we might be arrested and accused of crimes we haven't committed. We might be have our freedom taken, get locked up in a cage, and find ourselves at the mercy of the judicial system. The scenes where Henry Fonda is imprisoned are absolutely brilliant, as are the ones of him on trial, looking around the courtroom, and noticing the trivial little behaviors of those around him, while his own life hangs in the balance. The pace of this movie is a little slow at times, but a part of that is intentional, and heightens the realism. The police procedures may have you shaking your head, as will the notoriously unreliable eyewitness testimony. There is a bit of a twist in the story concerning Fonda's wife, played by Vera Miles, which I didn't expect. It's not Hitchcock's best work, but it is the most direct statement of his concerning this motif which appeared in so many of his films, and certainly worth watching.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • May 29, 2012
    I never would have guessed that The Master at the height of his powers could fashion a film so desperately dull. Watch Henry Fonda get arrested, taken for questioning, get fingered in a lineup, stand for arraignment, go to prison, empty his pockets, count his change, and so on, all in tedious step-by-step detail. This was a personal project for Hitch in that it was a true story that fascinated him, even using some of the actual locations for shooting, but the subject of a wrongly accused man is nothing new to today's more socially conscious citizen. The only remarkable facet of the case is that the distress caused the wrong man's wife (Vera Miles) to be institutionalized for 2 years. Makes <i>The Paradine Case</i> look like <i>Inherit the Wind.</i>
    Doctor S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2012
    In this very somber Hitchcock offering Henry Fonda is a everyman musician for an exclusive nightclub accused of a series of petty crimes. The effect on him and his family is the focus, as their lives, just above poverty to begin with, begin to unravel. Several scenes are noteworthy, like the booking in the police station and the courtroom scene, the sense of entrapment very palpable. Not a popular film, still worth your time.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 12, 2012
    amusingly old school
    Nathan L Super Reviewer

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