Sneha Girap (Editor)

The Big Knife

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Music director




Drama, Film-Noir

United States

The Big Knife movie poster

Release date
November 25, 1955 (1955-11-25) (United States)

Based on
the play by Clifford Odets

James Poe (adapted for the screen by), Clifford Odets (stage play)

Initial release
October 25, 1955 (Los Angeles, USA)

(Charles Castle), (Marion Castle), (Smiley Coy), (Connie Bliss), (Stanley Shriner Hoff), (Dixie Evans)

Similar movies
The Asphalt Jungle
The Big Sleep
Double Indemnity
They Live by Night

A journey to the dark heart of Hollywood.

The big knife fight scene 1955 film noir

The Big Knife is a 1955 film noir directed and produced by Robert Aldrich from a screenplay by James Poe based on the 1949 play by Clifford Odets. The film stars Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Wendell Corey, Jean Hagen, Rod Steiger, Shelley Winters, Ilka Chase, and Everett Sloane.


The Big Knife movie scenes

One of the most overdone overwrought scenes in movie history the big knife 1955


The Big Knife movie scenes

Charlie Castle, a very successful Hollywood actor, lives in a huge home. But his wife Marion is on the verge of leaving him, which he refuses to confirm to influential gossip columnist Patty Benedict.

The Big Knife movie scenes

On his wife's advice, Castle is adamantly refusing to renew his contract, which enrages Stanley Shriner Hoff, his powerful studio boss. Castle wants to be free from the studio's grip on his life and career.

The Big Knife wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters1231p1231p

Hoff and his right-hand man Smiley Coy have knowledge of a hit-and-run accident in which Castle was involved and threaten to use this information against him. Hoff is willing to do anything to make the actor sign a seven-year renewal.

The Big Knife The Big Knife Wikipedia

Castle's soul is tortured. He wants to win back his idealistic wife, who has been proposed to by Hank Teagle, a writer. And he longs to do more inspiring work than the schlock films Hoff makes him do, pleading with his needy agent Nat to help him be free. But the studio chief's blackmail works and Charlie signs the new contract.

The Big Knife TBK 55 YouTube

Feeling sorry for himself, the darker side of his nature causes Castle to have a fling with Connie, the flirtatious wife of his friend Buddy Bliss, who had taken the blame for Charlie's car accident.

The Big Knife The Big Knife 1955 Bore me deadly filmsnoirnet

When a struggling starlet named Dixie Evans threatens to reveal what she knows about the crash, Hoff and Smiley decide to have her silenced permanently. They try to involve Castle in their sinister plot and even extort Charlie's wife, secretly recording her conversations with the new man in her life. That is the last straw for Castle, who finally defies the ruthless men who employ him.

The Big Knife The Big Knife Review The Wee Review Scotlands arts and

However, having betrayed a friend, lost the woman he loves and sacrificed his integrity, Charlie can no longer live with himself. He has a hot bath drawn, gets into it and ends his own life.

Critical response

The Big Knife The Big Knife 1955

New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther, was disappointed and believed the storyline lacked credibility. He wrote:

Actually, it looks as though The Big Knife originally was written and aimed as an angry, vituperative incident of the personal and professional morals of Hollywood. This is the clear implication of what is presented on the screen...But the simple fact is that Mr. Odets—and James Poe, who wrote the screen adaptation—were more disposed to extreme emotionalism than to actuality and good sense. They picture a group of sordid people jawing at one another violently. But their drama arrives at a defeatist climax. And this viewer, for one, was not convinced.

Film critic Jeff Stafford analyzed some of the film's elements, and wrote:

[Of the previous Hollywood-exposé dramas] none...can match the negative depiction of the movie business and its power brokers offered in The Big Knife...The use of long takes by cinematographer Ernest Laszlo adds greatly to the film's claustrophobic tension and the mingling of fictitious names with real ones (Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan, William Wyler and others) throughout the dialogue gives The Big Knife a candid, almost documentary-like quality at times.



  • Venice Film Festival: Silver Lion, Robert Aldrich; 1955.
  • Nominations

  • Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion, Robert Aldrich; 1955
  • Stage play

    The Big Knife premiered on Broadway at the National Theatre on February 24, 1949 and closed on May 28, 1949 after 109 performances. Directed by Lee Strasberg, the play starred John Garfield as Charles Castle. The first Broadway revival opened at the American Airlines Theatre on April 16, 2013, produced by Roundabout Theatre Company, directed by Doug Hughes and starring Bobby Cannavale and Richard Kind.


    The Big Knife was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on April 1, 2003 as a Region 1 widescreen DVD.


    The Big Knife Wikipedia
    The Big Knife IMDbThe Big Knife Rotten TomatoesThe Big Knife Amazon.comThe Big Knife