Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival) (1951)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Paramount's ace screenwriting team of Billy Wilder, Walter Newman and Lesser Samuels came up with their bitterest, most trenchant screenplay to date with 1951's The Big Carnival--which, perhaps significantly, was one of the team's few flops. Kirk Douglas stars as a hotshot big-city reporter who has drunk himself out of every job he's ever held. Reduced to working for a backwater New Mexico daily, Douglas smells an opportunity to return to the Big Time when a miner (Richard Benedict) is trapped … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels, Walter Newman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 17, 2007
Paramount Pictures


as Charles Tatum

as Lorraine Minosa

as Jacob Q. Boot

as Herbie Cook

as Leo Minosa

as Mr. Federber

as Sheriff Gus Kretzer

as McCardle

as Papa Minosa

as Papa Minosa

as Herbie Cook

as Mama Minosa

as Deputy Sheriff

as Smollett

as Dr. Hilton

as Radio Announcer

as Mrs. Federber

as Radio Announcer

as Federber Boy

as Digger

as Miss Deverich

as Kusac, the Miner

as Sad-Faced Man

as Reporter

as Fireman

as Priest

as Television Announcer

as Reporter

as Indian Copy Boy

as Mr. Wendel

as Newspaperman

as Photographer

as Photographer

as McCardle
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (8)

Ace in the Hole is a revelation, as timely now as when it was made.

Full Review… | August 29, 2014
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A lurid pulp indictment of exploitation, opportunism, doctored intelligence, torture for profit, insatiable greed, and shady journalism.

Full Review… | January 9, 2007
Village Voice
Top Critic

As a diatribe against all that is worst in human nature, it has moments dipped in pure vitriol.

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

This 1951 film, about a cynical reporter who seizes on the plight of a man trapped in a mine shaft to promote his career, is cold, lurid, and fascinating, propelled by the same combination of moral outrage and sneaky admiration.

Full Review… | September 9, 2002
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Ace in the Hole is badly weakened by a poorly constructed plot, which depends for its strength upon assumptions that are not only naive but absurd.

Full Review… | September 9, 2002
New York Times
Top Critic

Billy Wilder followed up Sunset Boulevard with this biting tale which cast a skeptical eye on the media and feels just as apropos in our age of 24-hour news.

Full Review… | September 8, 2014
Under the Radar

Audience Reviews for Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)

So powerful it made my eyes shed tears. A sucker punch in the soul, I never saw such incredible drama in sometime.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

A Criterion Collection Film, Spime Number #396. Its one of the best I've seen from the collection.. Kirk Douglas plays a excellent part and though filmed in 1951, it shows how people are today. Out for one thing the big green dollar. Worth the rent or the purchase, in one word excellent. 5 Stars ( Revised 10-17-11)

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

An amazing central performance by Douglas in probably his douche-baggiest role ever. Like most Billy Wilder fair it's totally watchable from beginning to end.

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival) Quotes

– Submitted by Andy C (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Blake J (3 years ago)

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