Nightmare Alley (1947)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Nightmare Alley is the story of a con man who recruits a couple of amatuers as his partners.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox


Tyrone Power
as Stanton Carlisle
Coleen Gray
as Molly
Helen Walker
as Dr. Lilith Ritter
Taylor Holmes
as Ezra Grindle
Ian Keith
as Pete
Julia Dean
as Mrs. Peabody
James Flavin
as Clem Hoatley
Roy Roberts
as McGraw
James Burke
as Town Marshal
Maurice Navarro
as Fire Eater
Leo Z. Gray
as Detective
Robert Karnes
as Hotel Bellboy
Albin Robeling
as Captain
Marjorie Wood
as Mrs. Prescott
Harry V. Cheshire
as Mr. Prescott
Edward Clark
as Farmer
Eddy Waller
as Old Farmer
Michael Lally
as Charlie
George Davis
as Waiter
Hollis Jewell
as Delivery Boy
Nina Gilbert
as Worried Mother
Bill Free
as Man in Spode Room
Jerry Miley
as Friend in Spode Room
Gilbert Wilson
as Husband in Spode Room
June Bolyn
as Maid in Grindle Room
Gene Roth
as Masseur
Jerry Wald
as Radio Announcer
Florence Auer
as Housekeeper
Al Herman
as Cab Driver
Emmett Lynn
as Hoboe
John Wald
as Radio Announcer
Clancy Cooper
as Stage Manager
George Mathews
as Knife Thrower
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Critic Reviews for Nightmare Alley

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (2)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 26, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

December 6, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

A strange and rather sick movie made by highly talented people.

Full Review… | February 6, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Neither a great movie nor even a classic noir but it has a great ambition to be daring and, once seen, is not easily forgotten.

February 6, 2002
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Nightmare Alley


The seedy underworld of the travelling carnival is the setting for this cautionary tale. This is an excellent example of the film noir genre; Film noir explored the darker side of society, in addition to looking darker on film. No one could be more of an outcast than a carnival geek, although this film was not as lurid with reference to the geek as I expected. It is really more of a morality tale, a cautionary expose. The key is the line that's repeated at the beginning of the film and the end: "How did he get so low?, he reached too high." Tyrone Power excels as Stanton, an opportunistic sociopath chewing through victims, taking advantage of everyone he meets, and Colleen Gray is "electric as well." What a beauty, and clad pretty thinly for the time!

Clintus Maximus
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

A touching, dramatic, exciting, romantic, interesting film. I loved Power as the young man who aims too high, goes too far, pushes too much to get what he thinks he deserves. It's pretty long, but very worth seeing.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


Nightmare Alley gets better every time I see it. The photography is so beautiful and simultaneously sleazy that I felt like I need a tetanus shot after watching it. Tyrone Power plays a great prick who gets what he wants through Jedi mind tricks and a series of screw jobs. Obviously things aren't going to end well for such an unscrupulous character and said ending may be a little predictable. But watching a film noir carnie movie is one of those things that blow your mind once you stop to think about it. Like deep fried pickles...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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