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An expertly crafted noir with more on its mind than stylishly staged violence, The Killing establishes Stanley Kubrick as a filmmaker of uncommon vision and control. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Career criminal Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) recruits a sharpshooter (Timothy Carey), a crooked police officer (Ted de Corsia), a bartender (Joe Sawyer) and a betting teller named George (Elisha Cook Jr.), among others, for one last job before he goes straight and marries his fiancee, Fay (Coleen Gray). But when George tells his restless wife, Sherry (Marie Windsor), about the scheme to steal millions from the racetrack where he works, she hatches a plot of her own.

Cast & Crew

Jay C. Flippen
Marvin Unger
Marie Windsor
Sherry Peatty
Joe Sawyer
Mike O'Reilly
Ted de Corsia
Randy Kennan (as Ted DeCorsia)
Elisha Cook Jr.
George Peatty (as Elisha Cook)
Timothy Carey
Nikki Arcane (as Tim Carey)
Gerald Fried
Original Music
Lucien Ballard
Cinematographer
Ruth Sobotka
Art Direction
Harry Reif
Set Decoration
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News & Interviews for The Killing

Critic Reviews for The Killing

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (1)

  • This taut crime picture was one of the earliest films in the career of Stanley Kubrick, but something of the director's voice and characteristic preoccupations are already evident here.

    February 5, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Underneath The Killing's clockwork violence is a pungent layer of irony, something Kubrick would further explore many times later in his career.

    September 14, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Faultless and enjoyable.

    June 24, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Plotted with the kind of Swiss-watch precision and attention to detail that would eventually get Kubrick labeled Hollywood's most notorious perfectionist.

    August 11, 2011 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • At 27 Writer-Director Stanley Kubrick, in his third full-length picture, has shown more audacity with dialogue and camera than Hollywood has seen since the obstreperous Orson Welles went riding out of town on an exhibitors' poll.

    August 3, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Even though he was just staring out, Kubrick instantly mastered the crime genre. A stunning film.

    October 3, 2007 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Killing

  • Dec 24, 2020
    I love the early works of Stanley Kubrick as much as his literary-like masterpieces (2001, Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon). The Killing is a noir classic.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Feb 11, 2016
    Being a relatively straightforward crime thriller makes it somewhat unique in the Kubrick filmography, and it's still one of the best movies in the genre.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 08, 2014
    Good, establishes tension by taking its time with the elaborate set-up. The theme of irony runs strong. Well-shot. It maybe would have even been better had the studio not forced the narration onto the film, against Kubrick's request -- in that way, it brings to mind the same dilemma of 'Blade Runner' and the difference between having its narration vs. without. Overall, a good film. I'd put it 3.5-4, but I'll bump it to 4 here.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2014
    A decent film noir and an interesting early work by Kubrick. One that is forgotten for good reason - it is passable but not terribly memorable. One can see Kubrick just pumping this out.
    John B Super Reviewer

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