Lifeboat 1944

Lifeboat

Critics Consensus

Hitchcock proves he can wring suspense from the most confined of settings aboard a raft teeming with vivid personalities in this maritime thriller.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 27

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,417

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Movie Info

In this tense Alfred Hitchcock thriller, based on a John Steinbeck novella, American and British civilians who have survived the sinking of their ship by a German submarine struggle to reach land in a crowded lifeboat. When a German officer (Walter Slezak) is rescued from the water, the group allows him to board, but his presence only increases the tensions on the boat. Soon treachery ensues, and the population of the vessel gradually decreases as conflicts come to a head.

Cast & Crew

Tallulah Bankhead
Constance "Connie" Porter
Mary Anderson
Alice MacKenzie
John Hodiak
John Kovac
Henry Hull
Charles D. 'Ritt' Rittenhouse
Heather Angel
Mrs. Higgins
Hume Cronyn
Stanley "Sparks" Garrett
Canada Lee
George "Joe" Spencer
William Yetter Jr.
German sailor (uncredited)
Ben Hecht
Screenwriter
John Steinbeck
Writer (Novel)
Jo Swerling
Screenwriter
Hugo Friedhofer
Original Music
Glen MacWilliams
Cinematographer
James Basevi
Art Direction
Maurice Ransford
Art Direction
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Critic Reviews for Lifeboat

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (2)

  • Despite that it's a slow starter, the picture, from the beginning, leaves a strong impact and, before too long, develops into the type of suspenseful product with which Hitchcock has always been identified.

    October 16, 2008 | Full Review…
  • That old master of screen melodrama, Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer John Steinbeck have combined their distinctive talents in a tremendously provocative film.

    March 25, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The characters are reasonably free of cliched personalities, so what happens between them is rarely predictable, and there are enough crises and tensions within the 96-minute running time to hold a viewer fully attentive.

    December 13, 2005
  • Hitchcock's shifting sympathies guarantee our guilty involvement with the characters until he builds to a climax of intellectual and spiritual excitation.

    October 24, 2005 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    August 5, 2004 | Rating: 4/5
  • At times, the film seems on the verge of rising above its frankly propagandistic intentions, but it never really confronts the Darwinian themes built into the material.

    January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lifeboat

  • Jul 02, 2016
    One of my favorite Hitchcock films. The drama, all taking place on a lifeboat, is gripping from beginning to end, Hitchcock's direction is top-form and I can't recall any other Hitch film with the emotional power of this movie. The entire cast shines, especially Tallulah Bankhand as the elitist journalist opposite John Hodiak as the blue-collar worker. This is a must-see film for lovers of cinema.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Apr 03, 2016
    An engaging chamber movie in which all action takes place inside a lifeboat, impressing us most with its technical achievement (if there was any doubt about Hitchcock's directing skills before it, this film certainly removed it) and Tallulah Bankhead standing out in a great cast.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2013
    One of the better Hitchcocks, Lifeboat gives us a nice claustrophobic feel on a small craft in the middle of the ocean full of persons with mixed motivations. It is a classic setup for psychological tension and the cast finely delivers.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2013
    Another one of Hitchcock's experimental films this film shot entirely within one location fails due to the fact that most of the characters are just plain unlikeable. It also was made during World War II so is an obvious propaganda piece, no bad thing if done well but here it seems to be ladled on with a shovel! Maybe I watched it at the wrong time (just after watching 'Hitchcock') and was hoping for something more entertaining but in the end I found this, despite the merits of the experimental film-making, a bit of a slog and not a Hitchcock film that I will be revisiting in a hurry.
    David S Super Reviewer

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