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still The Killers (Robert Siodmak, US 1946)

The Killers

Robert Siodmak / US, 1946 / 105 min.

The German Robert Siodmak, who emigrated to the USA in the early 1940s, had made 12 films by the time he directed The Killers in 1946. This fatalistic gangster film features stylish echoes of German expressionism.

poster The Killers (Robert Siodmak, US 1946)

The Killers is sometimes referred to as the ‘Citizen Kane of Noir’. In the eponymous short story by Ernest Hemingway that The Killers is based on, a down-on-his-luck boxer receives a visit from two contract killers. Why he allows himself to be killed without putting up a fight becomes clear when an insurance salesman and a cop investigate his dark past.

Burt Lancaster debuts as the archetypal antihero, a man who has lost all hope, in this masterpiece by genre specialist Robert Siodmak. Ava Gardner plays the woman who gives him de decisive gentle shove as he teeters on the brink. Flashbacks reveal how the ex-boxer heads for his doom, step by step.

Directors John Huston and Richard Brooks both acted as uncredited co-authors of Anthony Veiller’s script. Incidentally, neither Veiller’s Oscar nomination nor those for best director, music and editing resulted in statuettes.

This is part of



Robert Siodmak

Production year




Original title

The Killers


105 min.







Part of

Film Noir

Rain-drenched streets, curls of cigarette smoke, and men with a dark past. An inescapable fate and a femme fatale, sly and sexually independent. This summer Eye is presenting an extended programme of classic film noir, featuring masterpieces such as The Third Man and In a Lonely Place starring Humphrey Bogart. With vintage 35mm prints and newly restored works.

Learn more
campaign image Film Noir – The Dark Side of Hollywood
still The Killers (Robert Siodmak, US 1946)
still The Killers (Robert Siodmak, US 1946)

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