They Live by Night Reviews

February 2, 2019
Might be the best debut feature in movie history. A stunning examination of intimacy mixed with apprehension that showcases why Nicholas Ray is one of the all-time greats.
October 31, 2018
It's not quite a film noir. It's not quite a teenage romance. It's not quite a crime picture. It's not quite like anything to come before it.
September 9, 2017
Maybe because of this close-up strategy, the actors all have a more naturalistic bent than most of the films of the day, opting for a low-key simmering approach. The result is a more intimate portrait of these two lovers.
September 4, 2017
They Live by Night works well as a crime film and even better as a romance.
June 16, 2017
a truly unique film-a groundbreaking entry in a distinctly American genre that announced in no uncertain terms the arrival of a major new talent
May 22, 2011
A cinema of anxiety and sensuality, with a streak of instability and a peculiar combination of the folksy and the Cocteau-abstract
March 31, 2009
Nicholas Ray established himself as a major talent to watch with his feature debut, one of the best noirs of the 1940s as well as a lyrical variation on the theme of lovers on the run, splendidly played by Granger and O'Donnell.
October 22, 2007
There's no attempt at sugarcoating a happy ending, and yarn moves towards its inevitable, tragic climax without compromise.
August 9, 2007
One of the greatest debut features in movie history.
June 24, 2006
Passionate, lyrical, and imaginative, it's a remarkably assured debut, from the astonishing opening helicopter shot that follows the escaped convicts' car to freedom, to the final, inexorably tragic climax.
May 1, 2006
Ray's plaintive artistry lends this weepy noir a melancholic beauty.
May 29, 2004
April 16, 2004
April 2, 2004
May 24, 2003
Ray writes and directs with easy assurance, propelling the plot forward to its unbearably doomy, inevitable conclusion.
May 20, 2003
Although it -- like others -- is misguided in its sympathies for a youthful crook, this crime-and-compassion melodrama has the virtues of vigor and restraint.
July 31, 2002
July 22, 2001
Nicholas Ray's (Rebel Without A Cause) debut feature is a gem.
January 1, 2000
Beautifully acted, They Live by Night stands today as one of the most poignant and unforgettable noirs ever made.
January 1, 2000
A key film noir of the 40s, this was Nicholas Ray's first film as a director (1949), and the freshness of his expressionist-documentary style is still apparent and gripping.