The Bad Seed (1956)

35mm film, black and white, 1.85:1
mono (RCA Sound Recording), English

An American borderline horror film directed by Mervyn LeRoy. It was released in the USA on 12 September 1956 and in the UK on 22 October 1956.

Plot Summary

Christine Penmark comes to believe that her seemingly perfect daughter is in fact a budding psychopath.


Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy
© MCMLVI [1956] by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents. A Warner Bros.-First National picture. A Mervyn LeRoy production
Screen Play by: John Lee Mahin
Based on the Play “” by: Maxwell Anderson
And the Novel by: William March
As produced on the Stage by: The Playwrights Company
Director of Photographer: Hal Rosson [real name: Harold Rosson]
Film Editor: Warren Low
Music by: Alex North
Sound by: Stanley Jones
Costumes Designed by: Moss Mabry
Art Director: John Beckman

Nancy Kelly (Christine Penmark)
Patty McCormack (Rhoda Penmark)
Henry Jones (Leroy Jessup)
Eileen Heckart (Hortense Daigle)
Evelyn Varden (Monica Breedlove)
William Hopper (Col. Kenneth Penmark)
Paul Fix (Richard Bravo)
Jesse White (Emory Wages)
Gage Clarke (Reginald ‘Reggie' Tasker)
Joan Croyden [real name: Joan Croydon] (Claudia Fern)
Frank Cady (Henry Daigle)

Alternative Titles

Böse Saat – West German title
Canavar Tohumu – Turkish title
Elátkozottak gyermekei – Hungarian title
Il giglio nero – Italian title
Katarameni spora – Greek title
La mala semilla – Argentine, Spanish title
La mauvaise graine – French title
LoÅ¡e seme – Serbian title
Det onda arvet – Swedish title
Ondskabens sæd – Danish title
A Semente Maldita – Brazilian title
A Tara Maldita – Brazilian title
Tara Maldita – Brazilian title
Vaarallista kylvöä – Finnish title

The Bad Seed (1985)
The Bad Seed (2018)

Extracts included in
Deadly Friend (1986)
Enfant Terrible: A Conversation with Patty McCormack (2004)
The Road to God Knows Where (1990)



  • Horror and Science Fiction Films: A Checklist by Donald C. Willis p.35 – credits
  • Horror Films by Subgenre: A Viewer's Guide by Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay p.63
  • by Walt Lee p.23 – credits