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Average Rating: 3.6/5

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Movie Info

The darker side of the American dream is explored in the fascinating film noir Pitfall. Dick Powell stars as John Forbes, a successful insurance man with a trophy wife named Sue (Jane Wyatt) and a model child named Tommy (Jimmy Hunt). Despite all that he's achieved in life, Forbes feels somehow unfulfilled. During an attempt to recollect illegally purchased goods by a convicted bank robber, Forbes falls for his glamorous client Mona Stevens (Lizabeth Scott). When she "comes on" to him, it sparks an affair between them. Forbes suffers the pangs of guilt, a fact immediately capitalized upon by the seedy private eye MacDonald (Raymond Burr), who is upset because Mona has rejected him. If adultery has been committed, can murder be far behind? Many individual scenes in Pitfall are standouts, notably a brief moment wherein Forbes' son Tommy suffers a horrible nightmare -- in almost exactly the same manner that child actor Jimmy Hunt would endure a similar bad dream in 1953's Invaders from Mars.


Dick Powell
as John Forbes
Lizabeth Scott
as Mona Stevens
Raymond Burr
as J.B. MacDonald
Jane Wyatt
as Sue Forbes
John Litel
as District Attorney
Gig Young
as Bill Smiley
Jimmy Hunt
as Tommy Forbes
Selmar Jackson
as Ed Brawley
Ann Doran
as Maggie
Selmer Jackson
as Ed Brawley
Dick Wessel
as Desk Sergeant
Byron Barr
as Bill Smiley
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Critic Reviews for Pitfall

All Critics (4)

De Toth's sensitive handing of Pitfall stalls out somewhere along the way.

Jul 27, 2012 | Rating: 57/100 | Full Review…

One of the really great films about infidelity

Jun 10, 2005 | Rating: 5/5

A slight melodramatic story, but an efficiently made moral tale with noir overtures.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Pitfall


Fairly good drama about the perils of infidelity. A bored, middle class, married man with a child falls for a jailed crook's girlfriend. Things get more complicated when the woman is stalked by another suitor who tries to frame her into dating him. Performances by the three leads are all excellent,Dick Powell as the adulterer, Lizabeth Scott as the femme fatale and Raymond Burr as the scorned man. Film's conclusion suffers from a didactic conclusion, no doubt influenced by the censor board at the time. Recommended for noir fans.

Aldo Gandia
Aldo Gandia

Super Reviewer

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