Sweet Smell of Success 1957

Sweet Smell of Success

Critics Consensus

Sweet Smell of Success boasts a top-notch cast, sharp direction, atmospheric cinematography, and an appropriately jazzy score, making it one of the best noir crime thrillers ever made.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 52

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,951

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Movie Info

New York City newspaper writer J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) holds considerable sway over public opinion with his Broadway column, but one thing that he can't control is his younger sister, Susan (Susan Harrison), who is in a relationship with aspiring jazz guitarist Steve Dallas (Marty Milner). Hunsecker strongly disproves of the romance and recruits publicist Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) to find a way to split the couple, no matter how ruthless the method.

Cast & Crew

Burt Lancaster
J.J. Hunsecker
Tony Curtis
Sidney Falco
Martin Milner
Steve Dallas
Susan Harrison
Susan Hunsecker
Sam Levene
Frank D' Angelo
Ernest Lehman
Screenwriter
Clifford Odets
Screenwriter
Tony Curtis
Executive Producer
Harold Hecht
Executive Producer
Burt Lancaster
Executive Producer
James Wong Howe
Cinematographer
Alan Crosland Jr.
Film Editor
Elmer Bernstein
Original Music
Show all Cast & Crew

News & Interviews for Sweet Smell of Success

Critic Reviews for Sweet Smell of Success

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (1)

  • It's a tough tale about utterly amoral people. I thought the ending rather weak bet for most of the footage the film packs plenty of punch.

    August 10, 2020 | Full Review…
  • New York never looked as thrillingly sordid as it does in this scabrous masterpiece.

    April 9, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Quote not available.

    November 17, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Hank Sartin

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Sweet Smell, which could have been offal, is raised to considerable dramatic heights by intense acting, taut direction (by Alexander Mackendrick), [and] superb camera work (by James Wong Howe).

    April 21, 2009 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Mackendrick's nighthawk landscape is compellingly, poetically bleak.

    April 21, 2009 | Full Review…
  • James Hill's production, locationed in Manhattan, captures the feel of Broadway and environs after dark.

    July 22, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Sweet Smell of Success

  • Nov 16, 2015
    The acting, the script, the direction, the energy. Stunning!
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • May 20, 2013
    A double-barrelled shotgun in the face of celebrity press and American societal values itself, the film snaps, crackles, and pops with its depiction of a Broadway publicist's crawl to the top and what he does to get there. Curtis and Lancaster make Darth Vader and Hannibal Lector seem like Disney friends.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 25, 2013
    Tony Curtis steals the show as the ever so lovable PR man who just continually digs such a deep hole for himself. You want him to get away with it but know that he is ultimately doomed.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2012
    While I'm less impressed with the script of "Sweet Smell of Success" than I am with the leading performances of Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster, I do admire the quick-wittedness of the dialogue and the lightning-like pace at which it is uttered by its cynical characters. Tony Curtis' performance is arguably the best of his career and though Lancaster's character is a bit frightening, he feels disappointingly underused. I also liked Elmer Bernstein's jazzy score and James Wong Howe's black-and-white photography.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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