Panic in the Streets


Panic in the Streets

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 23


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,065
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Panic in the Streets Photos

Movie Info

Filmed entirely on location in New Orleans, Panic in the Streets stars Richard Widmark as Dr. Clinton Reed, a physician from the U.S. Health Service who must race against time to stop a plague. The carrier was an illegal alien, murdered by criminals Jack Palance and Zero Mostel. When local officials note the strange condition of the corpse, they fear that the germs will spread to epidemic proportions, and thus summon Reed to wrest control of the situation. At first facing opposition from rule-bound police captain Paul Douglas, Widmark is finally able to work hand-in-glove with Douglas in tracking down Palance and Mostel, who have themselves become plague carriers. Many of the actors in Panic in the Streets are local nonprofessionals, selected by director Elia Kazan because of their "rightness" within the framework of the story; the rest of the cast is peopled by such film veterans as Barbara Bel Geddes, Tommy Cook, Emile Meyer and H.T. Tsiang. Widmark's son is played by an uncredited Tommy Rettig, four years before he starred on the Lassie TV series. Though Elia Kazan liked to claim that much of Panic in the Streets was improvised, there was a script, adapted by Richard Murphy and Daniel Fuchs from a story by Edward Anhalt and Edna Anhalt.

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Richard Widmark
as Lt. Cmd. Clinton 'Clint' Reed M.D.
Paul Douglas
as Capt. Tom Warren
Jack Palance
as Blackie
Zero Mostel
as Raymond Fitch
Alexis Minotis
as John Mefaris
Tommy Cook
as Vince Poldi
Tommy Rettig
as Tommy Reed
Paul Hostetler
as Dr. Paul Gafney
Leo Zinser
as Sgt. Phelps
Beverly C. Brown
as Dr. Mackey
William Dean
as Cortelyou
Rex Moad
as Wynant
Val Winter
as Commissioner Dan Quinn
Mary Liswood
as Angie Fitch
Aline Stevens
as Rita Mefaris
Emile G. Meyer
as Capt. Beauclyde
Juan Villasana
as Hotel Proprietor
Robert Dorsen
as Coast Guard Lieutenant
Arthur Tong
as Lascar Boy
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Critic Reviews for Panic in the Streets

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for Panic in the Streets

  • Apr 28, 2013
    The could have done such more with this story. This script has massive plot holes and Palance is overacting. Dissapointing and for a noir thriller not very exciting. Overrated.
    William H Super Reviewer
  • Feb 13, 2012
    Not panic enough to entertain.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    With such a great cast this could have been an great classic, but the movie has it's boring slow scenes, other than that I liked it. The story is exciting and the actors do their best.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Mar 17, 2010
    Government health official Widmark has 48 hours to motivate a sluggish New Orleans police squad whilst in pursuit of a couple thugs once a plague-stricken foreigner is discovered shot dead at the pier. Elia Kazan stages his scenes wonderfully and gives a glimpse of the hard lives spent on the docks four years before 'On The Waterfront.' Widmark is very curt and demanding with everyone he deals with, however this negative character trait is neatly explored in a conversation with his wife during a short break in the manhunt. Jack Palance looms menacingly in another meaty bad guy role.
    Doctor S Super Reviewer

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