Act of Violence (1948) - Rotten Tomatoes

Act of Violence (1948)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Act of Violence Photos

Movie Info

Act Of Violence lives up to its no-fooling-around title with a grim, exciting melodrama. Van Heflin is Frank Enley, a World War II veteran who has survived and been decorated with honors, while nearly all his comrades died in a Nazi prison camp. The one survivor, a crippled, revenge-crazed Robert Ryan, sets out to make Enley pay for the confession that sent his buddies to their deaths. To save his wife (Janet Leigh) from danger, Enley flees, meeting up with a kind-hearted hooker (Mary Astor) and ultimately hiring a hitman to kill his pursuer. The chase builds to a tense climax that does nothing to relieve the dark atmosphere of the rest of the film. With taut performances by Ryan and Heflin emphasizing its classic moral dilemmas, Act Of Violence remains a gripping thriller.


Van Heflin
as Frank R. Enley
Robert Ryan
as Joe Parkson
Janet Leigh
as Edith Enley
Nicholas Joy
as Mr. Gavery
Tom Hanlon
as Radio Voice
Phil Tead
as Clerk
Larry Holt
as Georgie Enley
Garry Owen
as Attendent
Dick Elliott
as Pompous Man
Irene Seidner
as Old Woman
Ralph Peters
as Tim the Bartender
Douglas Carter Beane
as Heavy Jowled Man
Rex Downing
as Teenage Boy
Mickey Martin
as Teenage Boy
Don Haggerty
as Policeman
Paul Kruger
as Policeman
Jim Drum
as Policeman
Everett Glass
as Night Clerk
Phil Dunham
as Ad Lib Drunk
Wilbur Mack
as Ad Lib Drunk
George Ovey
as Bystander
David Newell
as Bystander
Fred Datig Jr.
as Bystander
Margaret Bert
as Bystander
Mary Jo Ellis
as Bystander
Ann Lawrence
as Bystander
Andre Pola
as German Voice
Rudolph Anders
as German Voice
Roland Varno
as German Voice
Dick Simmons
as Veterans
Frank J. Scannell
as Bell Captain
Howard Mitchell
as Bartender
View All

Critic Reviews for Act of Violence

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (2)

It is strong meat for the heavy drama addicts, tellingly produced and played to develop tight excitement.

November 1, 2007 | Full Review…

Technically Act of Violence touches all the bases in its circuit chase. But it is as though it were doing it on the strength of a long, foul ball.

March 25, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Fred Zinnemann's best movie

September 20, 2009 | Full Review…

A terrific film noir directed by the great Fred Zinnemann. Reflects growing disillusionment with American society linked to the emerging Cold War.

August 27, 2008 | Full Review…

Grim, exciting film noir.

November 1, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

One of MGM's best film noirs and one of Zinnemann's early films to deal with what would become a recurrent issue in his owrk: Men tormented by moral conscience, here in the context of a WWII revenge medlodrama

October 26, 2006 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Act of Violence


interesting scenario of sympathetic family man van heflin being stalked by a slightly crazed robert ryan for something bad that happened in the war. the ending wraps everything up a little too neatly in classic western style but with good suspense in getting there. mary astor plays an aging hooker at the same time she was playing the saintly mother in little women LOL

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


Act of Violence is a pretty forgettable and unremarkable noir that explains revenge as it's plot but doesn't really make you believe it. Robert Ryan is unusually dull here (picture a low rent Max Cady) and Van Heflin is just a warm body filling up screen time and keeping shots balanced. I liked where the story went for the second act but by the end it just seemed like 25 lbs of shit stuffed in a 15 lb bag. I just wasn't really buying it all. It's not all bad though, the lighting is brilliant and that final scene that was blatantly influenced by Westerns was well done--all up to the car crash. Look for a young, dopey Janet Leigh and and old, tired Mary Astor.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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