Key Largo

Critics Consensus

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97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 33

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,982
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Key Largo Photos

Movie Info

Richard Brooks and John Huston's screenplay for Huston's Key Largo eschews the lofty blank verse of Maxwell Anderson's original play, concentrating instead on the simmering tensions among the many characters. Humphrey Bogart plays Frank McCloud, an embittered war veteran who travels to Key Largo in Florida, there to meet Nora Temple (Lauren Bacall), the wife of his deceased war buddy. Arriving at a tumbledown hotel managed by Nora's father-in-law James Temple (Lionel Barrymore), McCloud discovers that the establishment has been taken over by exiled gangster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) and what's left of his mob. Also in attendance is Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor), Rocco's alcoholic girlfriend. While the others bristle at the thought of being held at bay by the gangsters, the disillusioned McCloud refuses to get involved: "One Rocco more or less isn't worth dying for." As he awaits a contact who is bringing him enough money to skip the country, Rocco is responsible for the deaths of a deputy sheriff and two local Indian youth. Unwilling to take a stand before these tragedies, McCloud finally comes to realize that Rocco is a beast who must be destroyed. To save the others from harm, McCloud agrees to pilot Rocco's boat to Cuba through the storm-tossed waters. Just before McCloud leaves, Gaye Dawn slips him a gun -- which leads to the deadly final confrontation between McCloud and Rocco. His resolve to go on living renewed by this cathartic experience, McCloud heads back to Nora, with whom he's fallen in love. Claire Trevor's virtuoso performance as a besotted ex-nightclub singer won her an Academy Award -- as predicted by her admiring fellow actors, who watched her go through several very difficult scenes in long, uninterrupted takes. While Key Largo sags a bit during its more verbose passages, on a visual level the film is one of the best and most evocative examples of the "film noir" school.

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Cast

Humphrey Bogart
as Frank McCloud
Edward G. Robinson
as Johnny Rocco
Lauren Bacall
as Nora Temple
Lionel Barrymore
as James Temple
Claire Trevor
as Gaye Dawn
John Rodney
as Deputy Clyde Sawyer
Dan Seymour
as Angel Garcia
Monte Blue
as Sheriff Ben Wade
Jay Silverheels
as John Osceola
Rodd Redwing
as Tom Osceola
William Haade
as Ralph Feeney
Luther Crockett
as Ziggy's Henchman
Joe P. Smith
as Bus Driver
Felipa Gomez
as Old Indian Woman
Jerry Jerome
as Ziggy's Henchman
John Phillips
as Ziggy's Henchman
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News & Interviews for Key Largo

Critic Reviews for Key Largo

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (1)

  • A little windy and rhetorical for my taste, but still one of John Huston's best efforts.

    Apr 8, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Emphasis is on tension in the telling, and effective use of melodramatic mood has been used to point up the suspense.

    Apr 8, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Although the characters are basically stereotypes, they are lent the gift of life by a superlative cast.

    Jun 24, 2006

    Tom Milne

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The script prepared by Mr. Huston and Richard Brooks was too full of words and highly cross-purposed implications to give the action full chance.

    Mar 25, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • ...there's an inherent theatricality in the situation of strangers involuntarily sharing a small space...

    Feb 26, 2019 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…
  • It's pure irony that perhaps the objective best Bogart and Bacall film has their least satisfying onscreen relationship.

    Dec 28, 2018 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Key Largo

  • Jul 11, 2016
    Key Largo is a film noir piece set in the Florida Keys where Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) arrives to visit the family of a fellow soldier that died during the war (Lionel Berrymore and Lauren Bacall). Problems arise when the gangster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) has holed up the hotel run by the family, waiting to sneak back into the country after being deported. Add into this the hurricane that will be making a direct hit on the south Florida island. Whenever you get John Huston and Humphrey Bogart together you're going to get something special and Key Largo isn't any different. The film has a deep noir feel, yet it transplants itself from the typical locale of seedy neighborhoods of the inner cities to what was a more quiet area that becomes isolated even further by the hurricane hitting. Bogart is the reluctant hero, beaten down by the war and the post war world that wanders into this situation by accident. He's not looking for trouble, but is prepared to deal with it if necessary. There is an attraction between McCloud and Nora (Bacall, the groomless fiancé), but nothing really comes to fruition due to the situation they're in, giving us believably that wasn't seen in films of this era. There's too much going on for this people to become romantic. Other circumstances may allow it, but not this set. Of course, Edward G. Robinson playing an egocentric gangster is his calling card. He's great in the role and plays it over the top when needed, but still has the ability to tone it down when the situation requires. Key Largo is a movie that builds onto itself, with a kind of snowball effect that compounds itself as the film goes on. There is a sense of claustrophobia when the film begins, that opens up as the film rolls on right along as Johnny Rocco loses control of the situation. And yes, the hurricane represents a huge character in the film is the boss over all that it surveys. Huston plays this card, but doesn't over play it, a great move by a master. Key largo is one for the ages, a great noir piece that paces great with wonderful acting. A testament to all of those involved in the film.
    Chris G Super Reviewer
  • Mar 07, 2016
    What's so great about Film-noir's is that they thrust the audience into uncomfortable and alienating situations. While Key Largo is in most ways a lighter noir, it still creates a great amount dread and ominous situations, all a tribute to John Huston's wonderful direction here. Key Largo re-teamed Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall for the 4th and final time and it is yet another gem in their resumes. Lionel Barrymore, Edward G. Robinson, and Claire Trevor round out a tremendously talented cast. It helps that Key Largo is based on a play which gives the actors plenty of room to thrive in this crime drama film noir. Trevor won the Oscar for supporting actress and she's incredible, but Barrymore never fails to amaze me in a wheelchair. Between this, You Can't Take it With You, and It's a Wonderful Life, he has gave me some of the most enjoyable movie experiences, so thank you Mr. Barrymore. The film delves into a man's (Bogart) post World War II trip to his friends hotel when they are stranded with a bunch of gangsters during a hurricane. The premise itself thrives as a stage production by it also manages to give us an engaging and thrilling cinematic experience as well. I love how there is never any real assurance from the writing or direction that this film will be a happy ending, which makes it such a great noir. A hurricane and a bunch of gangsters? The only actor qualified for such circumstances has to be the one and only Humphrey Bogart. In all seriousness, Key Largo is a really good film. With a setting that sticks to the confinement of the hotel for 90% of the film, I can't speak highly enough of the directing and acting. It's difficult to make an action film with plenty of vivacious settings to be engaging for 90 minutes but Key Largo manages to it with one hotel, that's impressive. The character arcs of both Robinson's Johnny Rocco and Bogart's Frank Mcloud are interestingly paralleled. Both have nowhere to go or fit in and they both plenty of desires and hopes. To me, the scenes between both of them were the most fascinating. So overall, Key Largo is a classic. It gives you everything you want from a noir standpoint, while also creating a solid crime thriller in the process. +Direction +Barrymore always steals the show +Noir elements 8.7/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Feb 01, 2012
    Based on a play, the film feels stage-like as it's filmed almost entirely at a hotel the Humphrey Bogart character visits to meet the wdow and father of a slain army buddy. Bogart finds the hotel has been overrun by a small band of gansters lead by Edward G. Robinson. The film becomes a morality tale of good versus bad and heroism versus cowardice. For lovers of films of from era they will not be disappointed. And, if you're a Lauren Bacall fan, like I am, you will enjoy seeing her in an unglamorous role.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Nov 14, 2011
    Another masterpiece from John Huston, the tension rarely lets up in this fantastic film. With great performances from the whole cast and an ending that packs a punch on noir goodness.
    Graham J Super Reviewer

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