The Killing

The Killing
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Rating 4.5
192 ratings
Movie on IMDb
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Also released as:
The Killing (2-DVD) for $24.31

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DVD Features:

  • Includes Original Theatrical Trailer
  • 4-Page Booklet Highlighting the Making of the Film and Kubrick's Innovative Style, Technique, and Creative Vision
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 29 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1956
  • Label: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
  • NTSC
  • Packaging: Keep Case
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
  • Additional Release Material:
    • Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Interactive Features:
    • Scene Access
    • Interactive Menus
  • Text/Photo Galleries:
    • Biographies

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , &
Performer: , , , , &
Directed by
Edited by
Screenwriting by &
Composition by
Produced by
Director of Photography:

Memorable Quotes and Dialog:

"You got a great big dollar sign there, where most women have a heart."
  - Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) to Sherry Peatty (Marie Windsor)

Entertainment Reviews:

USA Today - 12/21/1989
"...Sterling Hayden and a great second-rung cast -- Vince Edwards, Elisha Cook Jr., Marie Windsor, Timothy Carey and more -- are sizzling as a litany of losers..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2002
"...This is bravura filmmaking. It's not just the formal brilliance that makes the film so distinctive, but the affection and wry humor with which Kubrick portrays his low-life protagonists..."
A.V. Club - 08/24/2011
"[T]he young Kubrick had an eye for great character actors, which in THE KILLING includes Jay C. Flippen, Elisha Cook Jr., and Timothy Carey..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2011
"With its sliding-through-walls Ophuls-like shots passing along railroad flats, it was Kubrick's most polished to date, the calling card that led to PATHS OF GLORY, and further glories."
Film Comment - 09/01/2011
"THE KILLING is able to breathe through Kubrick's direction, with remarkable camerawork that circumnavigates the sets and elicits definitive expression from his actor's faces."

Description by

When ex-con Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) says he has a plan to make a killing, everybody wants to be in on the action. Especially when the plan is to steal $2 million in a racetrack robbery scheme in which "no one will get hurt." But despite all their careful plotting, Clay and his men have overlooked one thing: Sherry Peatty (Marie Windsor), a money-hungry, double-crossing dame who's planning to make a financial killing of her own...even if she has to wipe out Clay's entire gang to do it!

Directed in a revolutionary story-telling technique by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, The Killing is tough, taut, tense, and one of the greatest crime thrillers ever made.

Product Description:

Sterling Hayden stars in Stanley Kubrick's crime noir classic, THE KILLING, based on crime Lionel White's novel CLEAN BREAK. Hayden plays Johnny Clay, an ex-con with a plan to steal $2 million from a San Francisco racetrack. He assembles an odd collection of tough guys and moles to participate in the heist. But just as there is no such thing as the perfect murder, there is no such thing as the perfect crime...

The film features terrific performances from Hayden, Elisha Cook, Marie Windsor, and the rest of the talented cast. Kubrick, who brought in pulp writer Jim Thompson to create the perfect dialogue, tells the story with a nonlinear, fractured-time narrative, following each of the main characters separately as they prepare for the big day. Featuring Kubrick's flawless direction and wonderfully atmospheric photography, anchored by a jazz-tinged score by Gerald Fried, THE KILLING is one of the most intense noir heist films ever made.

Plot Synopsis:

THE KILLING made director Stanley Kubrick famous, influencing many future features, including Quentin Tarantino's RESERVOIR DOGS. The tense, tight story flashes back to examine with clinical precision the events that lead up to a racetrack robbery..


Production Notes:

  • Filmed in on location at the Golden Gate Racetrack in San Francisco and at Chaplin Studios in California.
  • Estimated budget: $330,000. The film was shot in 24 days.
  • THE KILLING premiered as the second half of a double feature; Richard Fleischer's BANDIDO! was the main film.
  • Director Stanley Kubrick formed a production company with James B. Harris, Harris-Kubrick Pictures, before making this film.
  • Kubrick and Harris bought the rights to the Lionel White novel for $10,000.
  • The union would not allow Kubrick to serve as the cameraman, so he oversaw Lucien Ballard's work very closely.
  • DAY OF VIOLENCE and BED OF FEAR were both working titles for the film.
  • Jack Palance and Victor Mature were both considered for the part that went to Sterling Hayden.
  • Kubrick took no fee as director of the film.
  • The target horse was named Red Lightning, running in the seventh race, the $100,000 Added Landsdowne Stakes.
  • Rodney Dangerfield appears as an extra in the racetrack fight scene.
  • One of the horses in the race in which all of the characters are called to a meeting is Stanley K, named for the director.
  • Joe Turkel, here playing a hood, played eerie Lloyd the bartender in Kubrick's THE SHINING.
  • United Artists originally wanted CLEAN BREAK as a vehicle for Frank Sinatra.
  • Sterling Hayden was paid $40,000 for his lead role.
  • Art director Ruth Sobotka was Kubrick's wife at the time.
  • Kubrick delayed filming in order to to wait until actress Marie Windsor was finished with another film, Roger Corman's SWAMP DIAMONDS.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 4.5
Based on 192 ratings.
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  • Sales Rank: 108,849
  • UPC: 027616770622
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
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