The Fallen Idol

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Total Count: 33


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,335
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Movie Info

Adapted from the Graham Greene story The Basement Room, director Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol is told almost completely from a child's eye view-but it isn't a children's story. Young Bobby Henrey idolizes household butler Ralph Richardson. Therefore, when it seems as though Richardson might be implicated in a murder, Bobby does his best to throw the police off the track. The boy succeeds only in casting even more suspicion upon Richardson. As the story progresses, Henrey's hero worship is eroded by Richardson's shifty behavior, and even more so when the boy discovers that the butler's boasts of previous heroism are just so much hot air. The ending of the film differs radically from Greene's story. While it would seem that director Reed was merely paying homage to the "happy ending" philosophy (hardly likely, given the doleful climaxes of such films as Odd Man Out and The Third Man), the director had very solid reasons for altering the story: he was more fascinated by the concept of the boy's imagination nearly sending his idol to the gallows, rather than having the butler entrapped by facts. And though the ending is happy for the boy, the butler's fate is much more nebulous. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Sonia Dresdel
as Mrs. Baines
Denis O'Dea
as Inspector Crowe
Karel Stepanek
as 1st Secretary
Joan Young
as Mrs. Barrow
Dandy Nichols
as Mrs. Patterson
Bernard Lee
as Detective Hart
Jack Hawkins
as Detective Ames
Geoffrey Keen
as Detective Davis
Hay Petrie
as Clockwinder
John Ruddock
as Dr. Wilson
Torin Thatcher
as Policeman `A'
George Woodbridge
as Police Sergeant
Gerard Heinz
as Ambassador
Nora Gordon
as Waitress
Ethel Coleridge
as Housekeeper
Ralph Norman
as Policeman
James Swan
as Policeman
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Critic Reviews for The Fallen Idol

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (33)

Audience Reviews for The Fallen Idol

  • Aug 15, 2013
    Nicely executed by Richardson and the rest of the cast. One of the best of the British thrillers.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 12, 2013
    The crime plot is irrelevant; the relevant topic treated is moral. Two things caught my attention: the stunning photography and the attention Carol Reed gives to small details. Every single object you see on screen has a purpose and its appearance in the frame was premeditated, like an equation. It is true, however, that we must be careful. We play a part in God's game. 95/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2011
    You always know when you are about to watch a Carol Reed film, you're in for something special. However this hidden gem is truly special. It's quiet, slow-burning and subtle and all the more believable for it. The performances are naturalistic, compelling and so sympathetic you find yourself totally immersed in the story and the characters that when it ends all too soon, you grieve for the loss. Never has the term "they don't make them like that anymore" been so apt.
    Sarah B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2011
    Lies, sometimes, are an act of kindness. Many times I hasten to add. The imagination of a lonely child is ignited by a meek man in love. The man, as played by the extraordinary Ralph Richardson, is a mass of contradictions and yet we understand him. Married to a shrew and in love with Michele Morgan no less. Carol Reed is not a director that comes immediately to mind when one lists the greatest directors of all time, but in my book, is right up there with the very best. No other director has been able to bring Graham Green to the screen with its spirit so gloriously intact. Guilt and fear as riveting entertainment. Suspenseful, funny and beautiful to look at. Go try to top that.
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer

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