The Big Knife (1955) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Big Knife (1955)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Big Knife Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The original Broadway production of Clifford Odets' +The Big Knife starred John Garfield. The film version stars Jack Palance, not an unfair exchange, but certainly an offbeat one. Palance plays big-time movie star Charlie Castle, who refuses to sign a binding, $3,000 per week contract with Louis B. Mayer-like mogul Stanley Hoff (Rod Steiger). Charlie is supported in this by his wife Marion (Ida Lupino), who'd previously left him because of his sexual peccadilloes but who admires his courage. Hoff tries to blackmail Castle into re-signing by revealing that Charlie was behind the wheel during a hit-and-run accident for which a studio flunkey took the blame (this plot point was allegedly based on a true-life incident involving Clark Gable). The only witness to the accident was drunken starlet Dixie Evans (Shelley Winters); protecting his investment, Hoff's slimy agent Smiley Coy (Wendell Corey) tries to convince Castle to stage a fatal 'accident' for Evans. Director Robert Aldrich places blame on the failure of The Big Knife on two things: for one, Jack Palance isn't entirely credible as a major movie star; for another, audiences in 1955 couldn't understand why anyone would turn down $3,000 per week.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: James Poe
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 15, 2002
MGM Home Entertainment

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Jack Palance
as Charles Castle
Rod Steiger
as Stanley Shriner Hoff
Ida Lupino
as Marion Castle
Wendell Corey
as Smiley Coy
Shelley Winters
as Dixie Evans
Jean Hagen
as Connie Bliss
Ilka Chase
as Patty Benedict
Everett Sloane
as Nat Danziger
Wesley Addy
as Hank Teagle
Paul Langton
as Buddy Bliss
Bill Walker
as Russell
Michael Winkelman
as Billy Castle
Mel Welles
as Bearded Man
Robert Sherman
as Bongo Player
Ralph Volkie
as Referee
Michael Fox
as Announcer
Richard Boone
as Narrator
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Big Knife

Critic Reviews for The Big Knife

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A Tinseltown exposť like a manicured hand clenched into a fist

Full Review… | October 2, 2013

A stinging film on Hollywood's studio system.

Full Review… | October 17, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Big Knife

A pretty good Hollywood story movie, but I saw it on TV and didn't get to watch the whole thing, so I can't say much about it. I would like to see the end.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


Good film about Hollywood with great performances and script. This would get another star if they cut about 15 minutes toward the end. Everyone is good in it but Palance gives the best performance of his career,and Steiger is fucking amazing as a L.B. Mayer type studio head. Good film.Watch it!

cody franklin

Super Reviewer

Palance is brilliantly tortured. The dialogue and the cast make it, and Aldrich deserves credit for never letting it sink.


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