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1,189 Ratings

The Fallen Idol

Directed by Carol Reed
United Kingdom, 1948
Thriller, Mystery


Elegantly balancing suspense and farce, Carol Reed and Graham Greene’s tale of the fraught relationship between a boy and the beloved butler he suspects of murder is a delightfully macabre thriller of the first order and a visually and verbally dazzling knockout.

The Fallen Idol Directed by Carol Reed

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

1948 | 2 wins including: Best Screenplay

Academy Awards

1950 | 2 nominations including: Best Director

National Board of Review

1949 | 3 wins including: Best Actor

BAFTA Awards

1949 | Winner: Best British Film

1949 | Nominee: Best Film from any Source

When Rialto Pictures mounted a stateside theatrical reissue of THE FALLEN IDOL in 2006, it was hailed as a neglected classic. Today it feels a bit less neglected, and perhaps a bit less of a classic, too. It doesn’t feel as fresh as Ted Tetzlaff’s contemporaneous B-noir thriller THE WINDOW, which also stars a young Bobby (Driscoll) as a boy who suspects he holds the key to a household murder… Its virtues lie not in its narrative ingenuity, but in its emotional intensity and its precisely judged details.
November 18, 2016
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Written by the great Graham Greene, the film builds up pressure subtly over time, creating an entire narrative around the cascading consequences of dishonesty. Labyrinthine interiors of the embassy contain endless hiding places flanked by massive glass windows. It’s a layered and precipitous space for futile efforts of men and women trying desperately to cover their tracks.
September 13, 2016
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The virginal eye and the “nasty, wicked mind,” the perplexing adult whirl impeccably laid out by Reed as a matter of essential lies and unsteady witnesses. Chabrol in Les Bonnes Femmes has the trip to the zoo (“Aw, you’re pretty,” coos the lad to the cobra lunging behind the glass pane), the much-needed hug after the traumatic plunge comes from a cockney streetwalker at the police station.
August 15, 2016
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