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258 Ratings

Sadie Thompson

Directed by Raoul Walsh
United States, 1928
Drama, Romance


The first film version of Somerset Maugham’s classic about the clash between a San Francisco prostitute and a reformer in the South Seas.

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Sadie Thompson Directed by Raoul Walsh

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1929 | 2 nominations including: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Critics reviews

It had the great Raoul Walsh as director and costar, but studying the history of the film leaves little doubt that Gloria Swanson has a strong claim as its auteur. She jumped through hoops to acquire the property, fought the censors to get it produced, cowrote the script with Walsh…, helped finish the editing when Walsh had to leave for another project, and, above all, gave a sensational performance in the title role. There is symmetry in Swanson’s dominance of the Sadie Thompson saga.
December 14, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Sadie Thompson

    Gloria Swanson is such an egotistical ham! I LOVE silent films, but this one is really overrated. Much better is the re-make, "RAIN", 1932, starring Joan Crawford, a far superior actress. The best film Swanson ever starred in was "SUNSET BLVD.", which uses her maniacal egotistical persona as the key story element. If you want to see a great Raoul Walsh silent, see "THIEF OF BAGDAD", 1924, starring Douglas Fairbanks.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Sadie Thompson

    Dynamite classic silent adaptation of Somerset Maughan's "Rain" featuring an incredible performance by Gloria Swanson. This pre-code firecracker doesn't pull its punches in its examination of a pious reformer and his quest to reform or destroy the fallen woman played by Swanson. Swanson is equal parts carefree and haunted plus she pretty much embodies sex on heels here as well. Barrymore as the reformer is as good.

  • Max Seqgar's rating of the film Sadie Thompson

    Wow what a treat of a story! Funny to see dynamics of a century ago are plainly the same we see today.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film Sadie Thompson

    Excellente interprétation du toujours magistral Lionel Barrymore, dans le rôle du maladif puritain dévasté par les élancements de la chair qui va chercher par tous les moyens à détruire la jeune femme, pour lui une évidente incarnation du Mal...

  • dAlton Anthony's rating of the film Sadie Thompson

    Despite her seductive eyes and sexy profile, Gloria Swanson's attempt at play acting a hard-as-knocks San Francisco whore stranded in the South Seas is thoroughly unconvincing. If you really want to see Sadie Thompson fight the devil, go check out Joan Crawford's rendition of this same role four year's later in 1932's Rain (youtube it). Quite simply one of the great performances of early cinema. Sorry Gloria.

  • Leco's rating of the film Sadie Thompson

    I must confess that the turn we get in the final moments of it got this movie a better evaluation from me, behavioral differences from that time to nowadays cast aside, of course. I'm no silent era expert, but I'd say nothing much about Swanson here. I'd prefer to focus on the biased morale (infected, better put) of the self righteous reformer and the bold criticism on that time, as well as some of Walsh's skills.

  • Ben Dooley's rating of the film Sadie Thompson

    This pre-code chamber play has fun-loving Swanson in a hostel in the South Seas with a Christian reformer who wants her to return to an unfair prison sentence in San Francisco; his lecherous attraction suggests what she has escaped. Economic storytelling in the romance with the soldier. But there's much 'art' too: in original images, mobile camera and Swanson's electrifyingly intense, expressionistic performance.

  • Storm KMB Moon's rating of the film Sadie Thompson

    This turned out to be a fairly gripping watch, with captivating performances from the leads. The addition of the ending was sensitively done for the most part. Sadie herself is a vivacious, plucky character who's easy to watch and root for. Some of the sensibilities are certainly peculiar for a modern viewer, but it's an enjoyable slice of cinema history.

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