The Shadow (1994)



Critic Consensus: Bringing a classic pulp character to the big screen, The Shadow features impressive visual effects, but the story ultimately fails to strike a memorable chord.

Movie Info

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" Of course, it's the Shadow, the popular hero of 1930's radio drama, who comes vividly alive in this action fantasy that features notable set design and special effects. The Shadow's alter-ego is the gentle, wealthy Lamont Cranston. The film begins by explaining how the Shadow got his powers. It began in a Tibetan temple centuries ago. His nemesis was Shiwan Khan a descendant of Genghis Khan. Now in the present the Shadow stalks the night street … More

Rating: PG-13 (for fantasy action violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Walter B Gibson, Siavash Farahani, David Koepp, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 1, 1998
Universal Pictures


as Lamont Cranston/The ...

as Shiwan Khan

as Moe Shrevnitz

as Reinhardt Lane

as Farley Claymore

as Dr. Tam

as Li Peng

as Isaac Newboldt

as Duke Rollins

as Berger

as Bellboy

as English Johnny

as Taxi Driver

as Tibetan Kidnapper/Mo...

as Tibetan Kidnapper

as Tibetan Kidnapper

as Tibetan Driver

as Tibetan Passenger

as Woman in Taxi

as Marine Guard

as Marine Guard

as Mrs. Tam

as Mongol

as Mongol

as Phurba

as Mongol

as Duke Rollins

as Mongol

as Mongol

as Cranston Guard

as Concubine

as Concubine

as Chinese Man

as Chinese Woman

as Paper Boy

as Radio Announcer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Shadow

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Critic Reviews for The Shadow

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (10)

The movie has all the coherence of a bad acid flashback.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

It has enough of the innocent exoticism and splendor of silent thrillers to suggest a continuity with the past missing from most other movies; all that's required is a capacity to sit back and dream.

Full Review… | April 25, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Despite similarities as a vigilante creature of the night, however, the Shadow -- a character that enjoyed its greatest success in radio after being created in pulp novels -- lacks the visceral appeal of Batman and won't strike the same chord.

Full Review… | April 25, 2007
Top Critic

Baldwin's low-key performance lacks charisma, Lone alternates between lip-smacking villainy and camp humour, and Miller is chiefly a clothes-horse for a series of slinky '30s frocks.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It offers a diverting, nostalgic retreat to the innocent days when crime fighting was a pleasant, rich man's hobby.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

This thing is all packaging and no content, or, dare I say it, all shadow and no substance.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Shadow

Good looking, undoubtably, as a mysterious hero with mysterious powers fights against an ancient evil, but the delivery is a tad watery, and so this should have been first in a series was ultimately dropped. Too bad.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

In true 30's period style and setting this comicbook/pulp adaptation visually looks awesome and captures the atmosphere of the era perfectly. If you think along the lines of 'Dick Tracy' and 'The Rocketeer' then you will get an idea of the vibe going on here. Even though the budget for 'The Phantom' was actually bigger than this film, director Mulcahy's film certainly looks the slicker and more realistic.

The character of The Shadow isn't anything really special to be honest, its just a guy in a cloak with a fedora type hat on and he carries two guns. He always did seem like a poor man's Batman in all honesty, not too distant from the Phantom or Darkman actually. The main difference with this guy is the fact he does actually have some special super powers. He can cloud men's minds (what about women?) with a kind of spiritual hypnosis that blinds people to his presence...accept for his shadow oddly enough, hence his name. Oh and he's pretty snazzy with the two guns also. This character fits his dark little world perfectly in both his crime fighting form and his alias as a rich good looking 'Bruce Wayne' type. His lair has a neat little secret entrance just like Wayne Manor to the Batcave and he lurks around in the shadows quite nicely.

The plot is an odd one, Baldwin starts off as a bad guy in Tibet after succumbing to his darker side not long after WWI (dunno why). He is then kidnapped by some wise holy man who for some reason will train Baldwin to be a good guy, unsure why really, but in the end he goes back to New York and begins his Batman-esque lifestyle. Then some other magical fellow turns up to challenge Baldwin or try and get him to join with him so he can gain world domination. This bad guy happens to be a distant relation of Genghis Khan, for some reason we have another crime fighter who must face off against a Khan. 'Hellboy' had to face off against the actual Genghis Khan, weird how Khan seems to pop up in these fantasy films.

As you can guess from this story idea there is a lot of mystical hocus pocus going on throughout and the plot is slightly convoluted to be frank. Really the film excels with its visuals, a lovely looking old fashioned 30's New York complete with dated cars, store fronts and atmospheric swirling mist, the invisibility effects, shadow effects, hands on makeup and a surprisingly cool looking outfit for the Shadow (did someone pinch ideas for 'Dark City' here?). The sets are really well designed throughout too and look stunning I must say, beautifully presented and created, the sets are obvious but that adds to the charm and realism plus it works much better than CGI. Not too sure about the far East look for Baldwin's character though, wig was a bit crappy. There is of course some CGI present throughout which tends to swing from being reasonable (looking back now), to a bit hokey in places, bit plastic looking. Of course back in the day the effects were relatively special to a degree.

The movie is great fun and looks slick with a good casting choice in Baldwin for the main heroic/bad guy lead. He looks perfect for the part of 'Cranston' the playboy and actually could well have been a good 'Bruce Wayne' too I'm sure, a bit gruff maybe. This is really how 'The Green Hornet' should of been approached instead of the geeky spoof-like farce it was. Shame 'The Shadow' failed at the box office as this is another decent period superhero flick adaptation which is uniquely fresh plot wise but visuals wise was maybe more familiar. You just gotta look past the solid but cliched appearance.

Gotta love that classic film poster though huh, just like 'The Rocketeer' they really capture the essence of the old style crime caper and dare devil hero aspect. Lovely combination of colours and art work, very striking.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

This is actually a pretty good movie. Could stand up and surpass many of the Superhero movie's released in past 3 years. Alec Baldwin does an excellent job as in the role of the Shadow. Surprised to see Peter Boyle, Ian McKellen and Jonathan Winters in this one. Shiwan Khan has come to NYC with a Bomb and the Shadow has to find it. Great Special effects. 4 Stars

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

The Shadow Quotes

– Submitted by Nick S (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francisco C (3 years ago)

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