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1,539 Ratings

The Fallen Idol

Directed by Carol Reed
United Kingdom, 1948
Thriller, Mystery


Philippe, the young son of a diplomat, idolises Baines, his father’s butler. When Baines’ wife is found murdered and Baines is implicated, Philippe tries everything to point the investigation away from the butler. In doing so, he unintentionally makes matters worse for his idol.

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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

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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Inside a two-year period, Carol Reed made Odd Man Out and The Third Man. Reed wasn’t just on a roll, he was on fire. Somehow though, The Fallen Idol has always been the Cinderella title among this esteemed trio, perhaps lacking the pulse-quickening spectacle or thrilling baroque visuals of the other two. However, the current carefully restored release makes a strong case that this story… remains the most perfect jewel in Reed’s entire filmography.
November 27, 2015
The film itself exemplifies the extraordinary craftsmanship of British cinema in the late forties, both behind the camera and in front of it. Even as a child, I could grasp that there was something extraordinary about the intricate surfaces created by Georges Périnal’s cinematography and Vincent Korda’s set designs and the sometimes harsh spareness of Graham Greene’s dialogue and Carol Reed’s direction.
November 06, 2006
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