Night of the Hunter (1955)

USA, 1955
35mm film, black and white, 1.66:1
mono, English

An American horror film directed by Charles Laughton.

Plot Summary

A religious fanatic marries a widow hoping to find her late husband’s $10,000 in stolen cash but finds her children more of a challenge than he expected.


Directed by: Charles Laughton
Copyright MCMLV [1955] Paul Gregory Productions
Paul Gregory Productions present
Produced by: Paul Gregory
Screen Play by: James Agee
From the Novel by: Davis Grubb
Photography by: Stanley Cortez
Film Editor: Robert Golden
Music by: Walter Schumann
Sound: Stanford Naughton
Wardrobe: Jerry Bos
Makeup: Don Cash
Hair Stylist: Kay Shea
Special Photographic Effects: Jack Rabin, Louis De Witt
Art Direction by: Hilyard Brown

Robert Mitchum (Preacher Harry Powell)
Shelley Winters (Willa Harper)
Lillian Gish (Miss Rachel Cooper)
James Gleason (Uncle Birdie)
Evelyn Varden (Icey Spoon)
Peter Graves (Ben Harper)
Don Beddoe (Walter ‘Walt’ Spoon)
Billy Chapin (John Harper)
Sally Jane Bruce (Pearl Harper)
Gloria Castilo (Ruby)

Alternative Titles

Caniler avcisi – Turkey
De Jagersnacht – Belgium (Flemish)
Jegeren i mørket – Norway
Kariudo no yoru – Japan
Kludedukken – Denmark
Leylat alsayyad – Egypt
Mensageiro do Diabo – Brazil
O Mensageiro do Diabo – Brazil (alternative)
La morte corre sul fiume – Italy
Die Nacht des Jägers – Austria, Germany, West Germany
The Night of the Hunter – Canada
La nit del caçador – Spain (Catalan)
Noaptea Vanatorului – Romania
Noc lovca – Serbia, Slovenia
Noc mysliwego – Poland
La noche del cazador – Argentina, Mexico, Spain
La nuit du chasseur – Belgium (France), France
I nyhta tou kynigou – Greece (re-release)
Räsynukke – Finland
Shab-e shekarchi – Iran
A Sombra do Caçador – Portugal
O thanatopoinitis me to simadi – Greece
Trasdockan – Finland (Swedish), Sweden
A vadász éjszakája – Hungary



  • American Cinematographer vol.63 no.12 (December 1982) p.1272-1276,1335-1341
  • American Cinematographer vol.83 no.1 (January 2002) pp.86-88, 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100 illustrated article (A labor of love (sans hate): The UCLA Film and Television Archive, led by preservation officer Bob Gitt, restores the images and sounds of MGM’s The Night of the Hunter to their full cinematic glory by Jeffrey Couchman)
  • Avant-Scène du Cinéma no.202 (February 1978) pp.3-22, 29-49
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.20 p.42
  • CineAction! no.44 (July 1997) pp.40-45 – illustrated article (A few short notes on Robert Mitchum by Peter E.S. Babiak)
  • Cinefantastique vol.35 no.4 (August/September 2003) p.10 – illustrated review (Essentials: Evil preachers 101 by Jeff Bond)
  • Cinema Business no.17 (September 2005) p.34 – illustrated article (Watch these kids!)
  • Classic Images no.286 (April 1999) p.42 – video review (Video tape reviews by Robert Klepper)
  • Daily Film Renter no.7006 23 (November 1955) p.4
  • Empire no.108 (June 1998) p.136 – illustrated review (Video to buy by Adam Smith)
  • Empire no.119 May 1999) p.32 – illustrated review (New films by Trevor Lewis)
  • Empire no.135 (September 2000) p.30 – illustrated interview (Front row: double take by Irvine Welsh)
  • Empire no.201 (March 2006) pp.77-88, 90-101 – illustrated article (201 greatest movies of all time)
  • Empire no.202 (April 2006) p.194 – illustrated article (Classic Scene: The Night of the Hunter)
  • Empire no.204 (June 2006) pp.150-151 – illustrated article (At Home/All-Time 100: Month Eight: Family & Animation by Ian Nathan)
  • Empire no.221 (November 2007) pp.128-129 – illustrated article (The 20 top criminals: The wiliest law-breakers on planet film)
  • Empire no.231 (September 2008) pp.160-161 – illustrated DVD review (At home/Masterpiece: The Night of the Hunter by Simon Braund)
  • Film Culture vol.1 no.5/6 (Winter 1955) p.32
  • The Film Daily vol.108 no.23 (3 August 1955) p.10
  • Film Music vol.15 no.1 (September/October 1955) p.13
  • Film Review (May 1999) p.36 – illustrated review (Night of the Hunter by Anwar Brett)
  • Film Review no.605 (May 2001) p.77 – illustrated DVD review (The Night of the Hunter by Gareth Wigmore)
  • Film Review Special no.42 Psycho pp.27-57 – illustrated article (The top 30 psychos)
  • Film Score Monthly vol.3 no.9 (October/November 1998) pp.39, 42 – illustrated article (Score: Reviews of current releases on CD by Jeff Bond)
  • Film vol.1 no.3 (October 1955) – synopsis
  • Films and Filming vol.21 no.5 (February 1975) pp.48-53
  • Films in Review vol.6 no.7 (August/September 1955) p.337
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.130 no.45 (20 August 1954)
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.135 no.29 (20 July 1955) p.3
  • Interzone no.249 (November/December 2013) p.95 – review (by Tony Lee)
  • Kinematograph Weekly no.2526 (24 November 1955) p.23
  • The Listener vol.108 no.2784 (28 October 1982) p.37 – article
  • The Listener vol.115 no.2950 (6 March 1986) pp.28-29
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.23 no.264 (January 1956) p.3
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.200 no.4 (23 July 1955) p.522
  • On Film vol.1 no.1 (1971) pp.68-71
  • The Perfect Vision vol.6 no.21 (Spring 1994) pp.132, 134 – illustrated laserdisc review
  • Radio Times 1 November 2003 p.47 – illustrated article (Laughton’s tragedy and triumph by Barry Norman)
  • Shivers no.65 (May 1999) pp.46-47 – illustrated review (by Jonathan Rigby)
  • Sight and Sound vol.25 no.3 (Winter 1955/56) p.147
  • Sight and Sound vol.48 no.2 (Spring 1979) pp.105-109
  • Sight and Sound vol.5 no.4 (April 1995) p.61 – illustrated article (Private view: Enduring by Jocelyn Moorhouse)
  • Sight and Sound vol.7 no.9 (September 1997) pp.6-9 – illustrated article (Baby, I don’t care by Larry Gross)
  • Sight and Sound vol.9 no.4 (April 1999) pp.20-22 – illustrated article (A child’s demon by David Thomson)
  • Sight and Sound vol.11 no.5 (May 2001) p.34 – review of the book The Night of the Hunter by Simon Callow (Books: reviews by Peter Matthews)
  • Sight and Sound vol.11 no.8 (August 2001) p.64 – letter from Simon Callow
  • Sight and Sound vol.19 no.9 (September 2009) p.24 – illustrated article (The wild bunch: one-hit wonders by Kim Newman)
  • Today’s Cinema vol.82 no.6972 (17 March 1954) p.7
  • Today’s Cinema vol.85 no.7402 (23 November 1955) p.10
  • Variety 20 July 1955
  • Written By vol.12 no.9 (December 2008) pp.42-46, 48, 50, 52 – illustrated article (Let us now praise James Agee by F.X. Feeney)


  • 101 Greatest Films of Mystery & Suspense by Otto Penzler pp.254-256
  • 500 Essential Cult Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Jennifer Eiss with J.P. Rutter and Steve White p.75 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Earth vs the Sci-fi Filmmakers: Twenty Interviews by Tom Weaver pp.133-148- illustrated interview with Peter Graves
  • The Encyclopedia of Novels Into Films second edition by John C. Tibbetts and James M. Welsh pp.318-319 – illustrated credits, review T.W. [Tony Williams]
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films IV by Donald C. Willis p.354
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.335 – credits

Other Sources

  • National Film Theatre Programmes June 2003 p.6