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The Big Heat

The Big Heat

1953
Drama
Suspense/Thriller
1h 29m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 70.51% from 1100 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(1100)
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Rated 28 Jan 2009
4
83rd
With The Big Heat, Lang plays a wonderful, dirty little trick on us. After the first twenty minutes, I thought this would be another 'misclassified' noir: a standard detective drama with a few diagonal lines and some deep shadows. Oh baby, was I ever wrong. Every time I let my guard down, Lang would make me pay for it. I seriously felt my heart seize up after his first big trick. It was just so unexpected. Well made flick.
Rated 31 Jan 2020
85
94th
We did a hot sauce challenge last week that included one that averages over 1.5 million on the Scoville scale. It burned us all down. During the crying, walking around and mouth fanning, I found out that people experience heat differently whether it be forehead sweat, runny nose, bleeding from the eyes, etc. I won't divulge which of those natural reactions I have. Anyways, I wonder if Lee Marvin ever ate anything that hot. If he did I bet he experienced a single eye quiver and then ate more.
Rated 19 Mar 2008
90
97th
Definitely one of the better noirs out there and one of my favourites of all time. Lee Marvin is such a gangster!
Rated 07 Feb 2007
82
73rd
There's a lot of talk in this movie about fear of standing up for what's right, which coming from Lang may very well be an indictment of Nazi Germany. Or perhaps it's just a cry against institutionalized corruption in general. Other than that, and the transformation of the moll character, there's nothing especially remarkable about The Big Heat. But it's made very competently and certainly an enjoyable watch, if a bit predictable at times.
Rated 10 Jul 2016
85
80th
Just an excellent noir with compelling characters all around and an exciting plot with enough twists and turns to keep it going, filmed beautifully by Mr. Lang. Never boring, never stupid, plenty of fantastic dialogue and performances. So you know, it was okay or whatever.
Rated 06 Jun 2013
76
70th
Most of the big developments are a bit predictable nowadays, but there's a surprising viciousness to them that quickly drew me in. It never knocked me off my feet (though it did splash some hot coffee on me) but Glenn Ford does the 'man boiling over with anger' pretty decently and Lee Marvin plays a gloriously assholeish asshole.
Rated 14 Sep 2015
9
90th
I like Dave Bannion. In many ways, he reminded me of one of my favourite characters - Bob Kane's Dark Knight - and the criminal world he inhabits, void of hope and virtue; A fearless avenger who stands against injustice in the face of danger and widespread corruption. Loses some points, however, for some pretty horrible make-up. I understand we've come a long way since then but Gloria Grahame looked like someone had smeared half a jar of peanut butter on her face.
Rated 10 Feb 2008
84
77th
The first half hour is decidedly average, but it really picks up steam after that. The acting is solid and the story got me hooked once it got rolling.
Rated 30 May 2009
76
57th
Half boring detective drama, half awesome noir. The movie thankfully picks up after about forty five minutes and becomes what many other movies of this genre should have been, but it's unable to explore all the possibilities because lang already wasted half the movie on sub par crap.
Rated 13 Jun 2007
100
95th
VERY dark for the time it was made. Very exciting, too
Rated 07 May 2017
82
77th
Quite a raw film for 1953. Some scenes might not have surprised me had it been a modern movie, but I was actually shocked here. Overall a good movie, with Fritz Lang in typically fine form. Ford and Grahame were good in their roles, and I'm certainly down for Lee Marvin as a scumbag. While I was a bit unsatisfied by the final resolution, I found the scene with Bannion reminiscing about his wife to be quite good. Deceptive poster complaint: that scene wasn't Bannion!
Rated 07 Mar 2007
3
38th
A very fine noir; it's well-done in the most simplistic narrative terms, and Glenn Ford's sinister, subversive morality takes it to the next level. Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin are great as well. I'd have more to say, but it's been quite some time since I watched this.
Rated 21 May 2009
60
85th
Brutal crime-buster movie, not just in the limited sense of the famous coffee-in-the-face scene and the subsequent Phantom of the Opera makeup job. It is brutal, beyond that, although to less effect, in the lack of all artifice and adornment with which it lays out its issues. It lays them out, so to speak, stiff.
Rated 12 Jan 2010
5
56th
Really disappointing. It reminded me of a Marlowe picture, with a few major flaws; lack of Raymond Chandler's dialogue, a plot more convoluted than The Big Sleep, and Glenn Ford's wooden performance makes Dick Powell look like Robert Mitchum.... so yeah, other than that, I have no complaints, other than it's kinda boring at times.
Rated 23 Nov 2021
85
92nd
Pretty perfect, Fritz Lang, pretty perfect. Except for a significant part setting up a confrontation with the big boss Lagana that never came. The grand finale of the movie is just a minor piece of the puzzle that toppled the empire. Gloria Grahame was believably funny. I'd have liked to see Glenn Ford let loose more punches/shots. All the women get killed? Nice fake city backdrops and mirror shots. Fav scene: final shootout had great camera work.
Rated 31 Jan 2007
80
84th
Mmmmm....hot coffee.
Rated 04 Aug 2011
80
91st
Lang's violence is so visceral that you forget you're watching a film noir from the fifties. Well-acted all around with a satisfying conclusion.
Rated 20 Dec 2009
96
96th
A noir classic. Ford, Marvin, Graham and Nolan are all superb, and the two hot-coffee scenes are famously unforgettable. What makes it all work, however, is the clinical way every detail is presented to us in Lang's merciless and minimalist style.
Rated 01 Aug 2014
84
90th
Still looks brutal, simply because for what it presents (hides) and stands for. It starts with a cop killing himself, under pressure because he knows too much about crime lords, and it ends with the investigator of this case in an act of mercy, despite wife murdered by a bomb in a car and career interrupted by his dirty bosses. Gloria does a good job changing sides after Marv threw hot coffee in her face, being the femme fatale who gets finally shot to dead in the final moments. What a beauty.
Rated 27 Mar 2013
81
75th
Lee Marvin steals it (again), and the morality, like the cinematography, is provided in gorgeous shades of gray. A couple times I caught myself saying aloud, "Did that just happen?" Yes, yes it did, Lang, you sexy beast.
Rated 13 Dec 2009
92
83rd
Lang needs nothing but praise.
Rated 07 Dec 2009
98
95th
Will probably go down in history as the most gruesome and unpleasant of the classic noirs. It's also up there with M as Langs finest hour. Everything about this film is simply outstanding, with special props going to the hate-fueled relationship between baddie henchman Marvin and not-so-bad girl Grahame.
Rated 26 Feb 2009
70
33rd
A fine noir, and that's it. I think it's a bit overrated to be honest.
Rated 26 Jan 2011
86
82nd
An excellent detective thriller from Lang that explores the darker side both of what it means to stand up for justice in a hostile environment, and of the way vengeance can so easily weave its way into the pursuit of justice. The film's themes gel nicely with the genre, but what really helps this one to take off is Lang's fluid camera. It moves effortlessly through the various locations, emphasizing the inter-connectedness of people/events and the ethical gray areas that all people grapple with.
Rated 24 Mar 2007
87
95th
Hard-boiled and nasty, this twisted little noir gem is a particular favorite of mine. Lee Marvin shines as a vicious hood, and Glenn Ford takes the tough guy hero to absurd new heights of blind determination.
Rated 14 May 2012
70
53rd
Ford was quite good, but Marvin is the true star here.
Rated 20 Mar 2020
80
94th
2. What a grand piece of entertainment. The suspense was kept from beginning to end for the most part, without a single moment feeling tiresome. Glenn Ford is powerful in his unapologetic personal call to action, with the friendly volunteers squad at the end coming as a much needed relief within the grim and hostile atmosphere. The wife and family sequence is gut-wrenching with its spot on execution, and Gloria Grahame's character is adding an additional element of intrigue. Top entertainment.
Rated 14 Jan 2019
60
47th
Nice, old-fashioned crime film.
Rated 29 Jun 2012
90
80th
Goddamn, Gloria Grahame! The best noir actress, ever? I mean, the first half hour of this movie is really rough, but once Grahame, and Lee Marvin, starts getting more screentime, it picks up immensely. Plus, Glenn Ford is really good as the alienated cop. For the last hour, the film's breakneck place is full of great twists and shocking violence, making this a classic noir.
Rated 01 Mar 2008
79
66th
# 427
Rated 15 Dec 2010
78
63rd
Lang's methods of creating suspense have aged quite a bit, but the story is all right. Great performances by Marvin and Ford.
Rated 24 Aug 2021
5
81st
Lang's camerawork is goated
Rated 12 Mar 2013
80
68th
So many film noirs have corrupt police and dark underworlds of crime, but this is one of those better ones that can actually make that stuff seem like a genuine threat rather than just another plot element. It's dark, has a nasty streak to it and is a gripping piece of film-making. I thought some of the family interaction stuff between Dave Bannion and his family was a bit clunky, but that's my only real complaint with an otherwise very engaging piece of film noir.
Rated 10 Nov 2019
60
38th
Probable Score was 90! But this one turned out to be a highly uninvolving film, much weaker than other noir movies of Lang from that period.
Rated 21 Sep 2010
69
83rd
Next to Chinatown, this is the blackest film noir you will ever see. Fritz Lang gives Glenn Ford's tough, honest cop stock character a dark and destructive spin, making him responsible for the deaths of at least four women. This movie has a really nasty, sadistic streak. Also Gloria Grahame is the best and sexiest gun moll in movie history.
Rated 09 Aug 2011
83
80th
A well-crafted noir with an engaging plot and great characters. I always thought that female characters in noirs tend to be rather underdeveloped and weak, but there is no such problem in The Big Heat. Gloria Graham was a pleasure to watch as Debby.
Rated 19 Dec 2008
81
62nd
379
Rated 08 Jun 2012
87
56th
fine acting all-around in this noir classic from lang. i especially enjoyed gloria grahame's performance. jocelyn brando and jeanette nolan were also quite convincing. favorite line: "we're sisters under the mink"
Rated 13 May 2012
80
70th
A very exciting noir. While it presents a fairly standard story, it has some deep moral implications that are interesting to think about after it ends.
Rated 02 Aug 2012
70
47th
This film is good, but I didn't see it as much more than that. Ford is decent, but I thought Gloria Grahame gave the best performance. The plot is rather ordinary I guess, but I have a feeling it was probably a lot more outlandish back when it was released.
Rated 13 Sep 2021
83
82nd
Lang at his most violent
Rated 19 Aug 2008
85
89th
If you don't love this, you probably just don't like film noir. Glossy look (although I do miss a bit of the grittiness of some of the lower-budget noirs), good script, sure directing, and excellent performances. This is probably Gloria Grahame's best role, Jocelyn Brando is near-perfect as Bannion's wife, Glenn Ford manages to stay sympathetic with all that seething hate, and Lee Marvin makes evil ever so appealing--hot, even. Bravo, Lang!
Rated 10 Apr 2009
50
67th
Considered at the time to reach a new low in violence (a certain scene involving coffee), this dour little thriller also struck a new note of realism in crime films and produced one of Glenn Ford's most typical performances.
Rated 04 Jan 2010
86
86th
Is it wrong that I want to call a film from 1953 fresh?
Rated 07 Jan 2008
83
79th
It's a very enjoyable noir but it does take some effort to get into the right mindset. By today's standards it's packed with cliches but this is due to everyone else taking from this film, not the other way around. If you can let that slide and not be put down by being able to guess almost exactly where the story's going or what characters will do then it's a most enjoyable film, especially if you enjoy film noir.
Rated 17 Nov 2014
90
84th
En av de mørkere noirene jeg har sett. Noen av scenene var direkte ubehagelige, og hovedpersonen er et godt eksempel på hvordan helten ikke nødvendigvis er en helt selv om han løser saken i de tradisjonelle noriene. Denne er for noir-sjangeren litt det The Searchers er for western-sjangeren. Beste rollen var han ene skurken spilt av han karen jeg alltid glemmer hva heter.
Rated 27 Feb 2016
16
88th
Star Rating: ★★★★1/2
Rated 24 Dec 2010
53
51st
Gloria Grahame is great in this, i wish her character was developed more.
Rated 20 Feb 2019
90
77th
90.00
Rated 18 Apr 2024
82
83rd
Rated 13 Aug 2021
65
46th
Okay but it could have been better. Don't ask me how I'm not a noir expert.
Rated 13 Jul 2020
78
95th
"The Big Heat" is storytelling at its best, you find your self pulling for the underdog hero and hating the overconfident sadistic villains.
Rated 17 Mar 2012
81
88th
polis, dedektif, cinayet, intihar, suikast, polis-mafya isbirligi, meslekten atilan polis, cinayet masasi (bir intihari arastiran polis, olayin arkasinda baska isler oldugunu fark eder.) Finali daha iyi olabilirmis fena film degildir.
Rated 21 Dec 2011
80
84th
Solid noir that examines the difference between justice and vengeance. Glenn Ford plays an odd character; he starts the film as a typical honest cop railing against injustice and corruption, but seems completely oblivious to the fact that it's his actions that are causing all the bodies to pile up around him. Strong performances from Lee Marvin and Gloria Grahame, too. Marvin as the psycho mob henchman and Grahame as the ditzy moll with a good heart.
Rated 17 Feb 2012
5
93rd
Among Lang's prolific output of Hollywood noir, The Big Heat is his greatest achievement. A violent cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy, wherein procedural routine is compromised by institutional corruption, justice gives way to obsessive vengeance, and one pot of scalding-hot coffee begets another. This two-faced depravity is laid bare with spartan visual efficiency, swift and brutal like blunt-force trauma.
Rated 27 Feb 2021
80
78th
Classic noir that earns its place. The underlying corruption is rampant, and the boiling-over thirst for revenge keeps increasing.
Rated 30 Apr 2011
80
81st
watched: 2011, 2018
Rated 04 Apr 2020
70
59th
Under Quarantine Film Reviews #26: Pretty standard and stock story but both Lee Marvin and Glenn Ford are fantastic.
Rated 09 Feb 2017
95
91st
I didn't expect a film in the 1950s to go that dark, but here we are. Excellent story telling on what would otherwise be a simple story, but told with bold characterization and some surprisingly wince-inducing moments of terror.
Rated 30 Oct 2013
3
30th
if this is the sort of generic dribble lang directed in his later american period, i can understand why his reputation might not be as great as his earlier work deserves. a silly and bland story, boring camerawork, and ridiculous 'good cop' moralising. blah.
Rated 17 Jan 2008
90
97th
Late in the noir cycle, Fritz Lang shows tremendous genre affinity and cranks up the brutality to great effect. It's one of his best and most memorable films.
Rated 22 Feb 2008
98
97th
Os Corruptos estreava há 70 anos em New York. Durante anos considerei este um dos melhores noir já feitos, a revisão só me fez reiterar esse pensamento. Gloria Grahame e Lee Marvin estão tão brilhantes aqui que nem sei. Obra-prima. Box Versátil Filme Noir Volume 2.
Rated 29 May 2012
68
78th
Protagonist is a bad-ass to the point of actually becoming a dumb douchbag. Interesting to see a twist on film-noir femme fatale (or should I say macho fatale) convention, but female characters are unforgivably weak. Lee Marvin shines in acting department. There is nothing particularly interesting to say about Lang's direction. It's same as cinematography - characteristically good.
Rated 17 Oct 2011
9
93rd
About as powerful as getting hit with some coffee in the face. Was constantly intrigued and the film gives you enough twists and turns that what comes next isn't obvious and can be shocking. I like how the runtime was short and they didn't waste a second of it, no scene felt misplaced. Lee Marvin and Glenn Ford were both excellent as well. Besides some somewhat dated dialogue this was pretty great.
Rated 25 Oct 2015
100
0th
"That's the end of every biography online, 'He was in Contempt, and then he died.'" http://illusionpodcast.blogspot.com/2015/07/episode-64-films-noir-of-fritz-lang.html
Rated 01 Jun 2008
65
73rd
Good film.
Rated 16 Aug 2021
70
29th
A solidly made noir, but without the interesting moral conflicts, masterfully built up tension or indelible visuals that the bests of that genre have to offer.
Rated 10 Jun 2022
90
87th
Ford callously puts people at risk in his single-minded pursuit of the mobsters and is really responsible for getting three women killed. It's a film that uses the form of a police procedural to suggest that there really is no line between the sunny surface of suburbia and the corruption and violence that lies beneath.
Rated 13 Feb 2008
70
75th
Uneven. All in all it's naive and generic, but just well-made enough and human enough to be very good.
Rated 26 Feb 2019
74
66th
Lang has once again made me uncomfortable with the amount of peril and seemingly inevitable plunges into villainy his characters always fall into. I might have been taken out of the story for how extreme Ford's character was, but the feel, the mood, the intensity Lang always provokes was present once again. It's gritty. It's gnarly. It's challenging
Rated 14 Jan 2010
80
60th
403
Rated 01 May 2008
85
84th
A wonderful, hard-boiled film noir from the 50s.
Rated 24 Oct 2023
79
67th
This is really good, but given my love for noir and Lang I am a bit disappointed. I'm not a huge Glenn Ford guy, which might have been part of the issue. It's a very efficient, well plotted noir, though, that's another good entry in Lang's filmography and has some quite nasty (in a good way) stuff in it, even for a noir of the period. There are several elements that are a little unusual. Good stuff.
Rated 25 Oct 2021
73
75th
SO problematic in ways both relevant and irrelevant.
Rated 10 Mar 2013
80
75th
Pretty brutal and vicious, yet satisfying
Rated 16 Aug 2021
39
30th
Host ratings: - / 70 / 65. Podcast review link: https://rydeorwrong.podcaster.de/rydeorwrong/folge-099-heisses-eisen-1953-orig-the-big-heat/
Rated 17 Nov 2010
65
60th
A film-noir with a happy ending seems unnatural. Fritz Lang is a successful director but this work is unimpressive, i could barely find one or two shining things about the movie. And the absurdity after coffe throwing scenes. How can you even talk after your face is burnt with hot coffee?
Rated 30 Nov 2011
82
64th
#362
Rated 15 Aug 2021
88
93rd
A cracking good tale,
Rated 23 Jan 2011
69
46th
(rewatch . . apparently) I watched this 11 years ago? cant remember it at all.
Rated 24 May 2013
77
87th
Car bomb and the apartment scenes would have influence on The Godfather. Also we hear "Put the Blame on Mame" (from Gilda) when Ford show off in The Retreat.

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