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591 Ratings

The Big Combo

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
United States, 1955
Crime, Drama, Film noir


Police Lt. Diamond is told to close his surveillance of suspected mob boss Mr. Brown because it’s costing the department too much money with no results. Diamond makes one last attempt to uncover evidence against Brown by going to Brown’s girlfriend, Susan Lowell.

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The Big Combo Directed by Joseph H. Lewis

Critics reviews

The film understands that the truly wild movies are casual about their wildness, accepting a state of anything goes as status quo. Lewis and screenwriter Philip Yordan matter-of-factly reveal a traditional tale of a cop’s pursuit of a kingpin as having virtually nothing to do with honoring law and order and everything to do with private vendettas that tumble into reality out of the realms of our submerged desires.
October 05, 2013
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What are people saying?

  • chanandre's rating of the film The Big Combo

    [Cinémathèque PT #: 35 mm (2012)] Saw this two times at the Cinémathèque. Has got not one wrinkle. So effective, fast-paced, cool, superbly shot, directed and acted. Mr Brown was awesome. Did Tarantino watch this?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film The Big Combo

    More than merely entertainment for Film Noir fans, this film is exceptional in its Noir cinematography - photographing darkness.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film The Big Combo

    Essential noir, impressive not just for the atmospheric cinematography but mainly for its superb characters (from criminal mastermind Mr. Brown to the antique dealer Dreyer) and the tragic conclusion that befalls the gay couple of gangsters. If the interior shots make it look a bit dated, the rest of the film makes for a compelling crime drama of obsessive detective work. Innovative torture scenes too. Great thrills!

  • Lights in the Dusk's rating of the film The Big Combo

    A couple of extraordinary sequences & a nice air of mystery elevate this perfunctory noir. Richard Conte is mesmerising as a charismatic crime boss, while Lee Van Cleef stands out in an early role as a ruthless enforcer. Wilde is ineffectual as the lead, & despite some amazing moments of cinematography, the film feels unambitious; lacking the deeper themes & interpretations found in the genre's greatest works.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film The Big Combo

    Un somptueux chef-d'oeuvre du film noir américain, d'une violence étonnante, avec d'évidentes connotations (homo)sexuelles dans les motivations et les comportements des principaux protagonistes. A voir ou à revoir de toute urgence. Il est vrai que le réalisateur Joseph H. Lewis trône, en toute discrétion, chez les plus grands !

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film The Big Combo

    Femmes fatales en détresse, hard boiled gangsters, passages à tabac, flics teigneux & obsédés, dialogues incisifs. La photo N&B, inquiétante, signée John ALTON. En prime, le truand de Sergio LEONE, Lee Van CLEEF, à 30 ans. Women in Distress, hard boiled gangsters, beatings, burlesque, nasty & obsessed cops, incisive dialogues. Dramatic B&W photo signed John Alton. As a bonus, Sergio LEONE's Bad, Lee Van CLEEF, at 30.

  • mpho3's rating of the film The Big Combo

    In an interview with Peter Bogdanovich, Lewis said Wilde never forgave him for allowing his wife, Jean Wallace, to be portrayed so suggestively in the scene where Brown kisses Lowell from behind. The censors didn't like it either, but somehow the scene survived. Love that ending silhouette and disappearance into the fog. Conte is brilliant, but the implied gay duo were also fun to watch. Great score, too.

  • Dave's rating of the film The Big Combo

    That screen cap is probably the most iconic image in all of film noir and rightfully so. John Alton's photography is beyond spectacular. Possibly the finest work ever done in noir. Joseph Lewis was already a B-noir master, having directed Gun Crazy, but The Big Combo outdoes even that classic. A great, great movie, not just a great noir.

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