IMDb > There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)
There Was a Crooked Man...
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guide
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

There Was a Crooked Man... (1970) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 31 | slideshow) Videos
There Was a Crooked Man... -- Open-ended Trailer from Warner Brothers Pictures


User Rating:
7.0/10   2,980 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
David Newman (written by) &
Robert Benton (written by)
View company contact information for There Was a Crooked Man... on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 September 1970 (France) See more »
Once upon a time, there was a crooked man. When he was good, he was very, very good. And when he was bad, it was murder... See more »
A charming but totally ruthless criminal is sent to a remote Arizona prison. He enlists the help of his cellmates in an escape attempt with the promise of sharing his hidden loot. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(2 articles)
User Reviews:
Uneven western that is difficult to recommend See more (38 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Kirk Douglas ... Paris Pitman, Jr.

Henry Fonda ... Woodward W. Lopeman

Hume Cronyn ... Dudley Whinner

Warren Oates ... Floyd Moon

Burgess Meredith ... The Missouri Kid

John Randolph ... Cyrus McNutt

Lee Grant ... Mrs. Bullard

Arthur O'Connell ... Mr. Lomax

Martin Gabel ... Warden LeGoff

Michael Blodgett ... Coy Cavendish
C.K. Yang ... Ah-Ping

Alan Hale Jr. ... Tobaccy (as Alan Hale)

Victor French ... Whiskey
Claudia McNeil ... Madam

Bert Freed ... Skinner

Jeanne Cooper ... Prostitute

Barbara Rhoades ... Miss Jessie Brundidge

Gene Evans ... Col Wolff

Pamela Hensley ... Edwina

J. Edward McKinley ... The Governor
Karl Lukas ... Otis

Larry D. Mann ... Harry

Ann Doran ... Mrs. Lomax
Paul Prokop

Bart Burns ... Dr. Loomis
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

E.J. André ... Judge (uncredited)
Bob Bennett ... Bartender (uncredited)
Danny Borzage ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Buff Brady ... Nolan (uncredited)
David Cadiente ... Rioting Prisoner (uncredited)
Vincente Cadiente ... Riot Guard (uncredited)

Harry Caesar ... Rioting Prisoner (uncredited)

Virginia Capers ... Cook (uncredited)
Donald Chaffin ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Al Checco ... Wheatley (uncredited)
Robert Cleaves ... Grizzard (uncredited)
John Davey ... Riot Guard (uncredited)
Barbara Eaton ... Girl (uncredited)

Duke Fishman ... Prisoner (uncredited)

Byron Foulger ... Member of Town Council (uncredited)

Bruce Garrick ... Lomax Kid (uncredited)
Lars Hensen ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Bob Herron ... Oran (uncredited)

Harry Holcombe ... Hammond (uncredited)

Clyde Howdy ... Marshal (uncredited)

Michael Jeffers ... Church Member (uncredited)

Henry Kingi ... Rioting Prisoner (uncredited)
Ron Kinwald ... Rioting Prisoner (uncredited)
Monty Laird ... Rioting Prisoner (uncredited)
Jacquelyn Landrum ... Girl (uncredited)
John Lawrence ... Jones (uncredited)

Norman Leavitt ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Ian Maclean ... Cavalry Man (uncredited)

John McCook ... Deputy (uncredited)
Boyd 'Red' Morgan ... Hobbs (uncredited)
Paul Newlan ... (uncredited)
Terry L. Nichols ... Tower Guard (uncredited)
Carol Nicholson ... Lomax Girl (uncredited)
Gerry Okuneff ... Riot Guard (uncredited)
Renee Paul ... Girl (uncredited)

Jack Perkins ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Red Perkins ... Guard (uncredited)
Bill Peterson ... Gordon Hartley (uncredited)
Mel Pittenger ... Cavalry Man (uncredited)
Roberta Randall ... Girl (uncredited)
Clark Ross ... Church Member (uncredited)

James Seay ... Aide to Lieutenant Governor (uncredited)
Vince St. Cyr ... Apache Prisoner (uncredited)

Kelly Thordsen ... Edwina's Father (uncredited)
Rick Traeger ... Peddler (uncredited)

Jesse Wayne ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Napoleon Whiting ... Lomax Servant (uncredited)

Guy Wilkerson ... Prisoner In Solitary (uncredited)
Ilona Wilson ... Girl (uncredited)
Will Wyler ... Rioting Prisoner (uncredited)

Directed by
Joseph L. Mankiewicz 
Writing credits
David Newman (written by) &
Robert Benton (written by)

Produced by
C.O. Erickson .... executive producer
Joseph L. Mankiewicz .... producer
Original Music by
Charles Strouse 
Cinematography by
Harry Stradling Jr. 
Film Editing by
Gene Milford 
Production Design by
Edward Carrere 
Set Decoration by
F. Keogh Gleason  (as Keogh Gleason)
Costume Design by
Anna Hill Johnstone 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup supervisor
Annabell Levy .... hair stylist
Jean Burt Reilly .... supervising hair stylist
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Production Management
Peter V. Herald .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Don Kranze .... assistant director
Art Department
Frank L. Brown .... set dresser (uncredited)
Robert Cooper .... prop master (uncredited)
Sound Department
Al Overton Jr. .... sound
George Hause .... sound recordist (uncredited)
William Thompson .... boom operator (uncredited)
Budd Albright .... stunts (uncredited)
Denny Arnold .... stunts (uncredited)
Bruce Paul Barbour .... stunt performer (uncredited)
Buff Brady .... stunts (uncredited)
Tony Brubaker .... stunts (uncredited)
Stephen Burnette .... stunts (uncredited)
David Cadiente .... stunts (uncredited)
Fred Carson .... stunts (uncredited)
James J. Casino .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Clark .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Courtney .... stunts (uncredited)
Roger Creed .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Gino DeAgustino .... stunts (uncredited)
Stephanie Epper .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Hart .... stunts (uncredited)
Bob Herron .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hicks .... stunts (uncredited)
Clyde Howdy .... stunts (uncredited)
Henry Kingi .... stunts (uncredited)
Monty Laird .... stunts (uncredited)
Gene LeBell .... stunts (uncredited)
Paul Nuckles .... stunts (uncredited)
George Orrison .... stunts (uncredited)
Jack Perkins .... stunts (uncredited)
Carl Saxe .... stunts (uncredited)
John Sistrunk .... stunts (uncredited)
Ron Stein .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Waters .... stunts (uncredited)
Jesse Wayne .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Bernie Abramson .... still photographer (uncredited)
Richard Craig Meinardus .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Rose Brandi .... wardrobe: women (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Lyman Hallowell .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Sonny Burke .... music supervisor
Dan Wallin .... scoring mixer (uncredited)
Other crew
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title designer: main title
Sidney Ganis .... assistant to producer
Ralph Helfer .... animal supervisor: Gentle Jungle (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"There Was a Crooked Man..." - Canada (English title) (imdb display title)
"Zwei dreckige Halunken" - Austria, West Germany
"Жил был обманщик" - Soviet Union (Russian title)
"Имаше един нечестен мъж..." - Bulgaria (Bulgarian title)
"A fost candva un sarlatan" - Romania (literal title)
"Bio jednom jedan nitkov" - Yugoslavia (Serbian title) (literal title)
"Byl sobie lajdak" - Poland
"Cezani çekeceksin" - Turkey (Turkish title)
"Det var en gång en skurk..." - Sweden
"El día de los tramposos" - Spain (imdb display title)
"El dia dels tramposos" - Spain (Catalan title)
"El final de un canalla" - Argentina
"Het Reptiel" - Belgium (Flemish title) (alternative title)
"Ish Nohel Haya" - Israel (Hebrew title)
"Itan enas palianthropos" - Greece (transliterated ISO-LATIN-1 title)
"Lännen kieroin kaveri" - Finland
"Le reptile" - France
"Ninho de Cobras" - Brazil (imdb display title)
"O Réptil" - Portugal (imdb display title)
"Slangen" - Denmark
"Uomini e cobra" - Italy
"Verraderlijker dan een slang" - Netherlands (imdb display title)
"Volt egyszer egy gazember" - Hungary (imdb display title)
See more »
126 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:SOA (original rating) | Australia:M (re-rating) (1987) | Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:14 (orginal rating) | Netherlands:14 (1970) | Portugal:17 (cut version) | Singapore:NC-16 | Sweden:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:15 (video) | USA:R (certificate #22309) | West Germany:18

Did You Know?

Warner Brothers' front office was very worried about this film. It was shot over a five-month period in the first half of 1969, but it was well over a year before it was given any commercial showings. Like Joseph L. Mankiewicz's previous film, The Honey Pot (1967), it opened in Britain some two months before the US, in late 1970. According to Mankiewicz's biographer, Kenneth Geist, his preferred version of the film ran to 165 minutes; however, Warners objected to this and re-cut the film, to his great irritation, to a more manageable 126 minutes. One notable casualty of this re-cutting was the prominently-billed Lee Grant, a very well-known actress at the time, whose appearance is now barely a couple of minutes in length.See more »
Continuity: After escaping from prison, Pitman visits the widow Bullard and leaves the prison mule in her corral and takes a horse. After being bitten by the snake and dying, the warden takes his body back on the horse he rode, which now is a mule again.See more »
Paris Pittman Jr.:[after discussing his hidden loot and escape plans] I'm putting my trust in all of you. Keep quiet.
The Missouri Kid:Like asking a pack of coyotes to keep quiet about a dead horse!
See more »
Movie Connections:
There Was A Crooked Man...See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
26 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
Uneven western that is difficult to recommend, 3 October 2001
Author: roegrocks from China

My commentary refers to minor elements of the plot of the film in question, revealing, to an inconsequential extent, some of the events of the movie. Some may interpret this as a SPOILER, but I am very careful not to expose anything specific crucial.

Similar to "Paint Your Wagon" (1969) in it's use of a comedic western as a vehicle for social commentary, "There Was a Crooked Man" has a comic tone at times, but has difficulty being consistently one kind of movie: Is it a satire? Is it a comedy? Is it a bawdy western with a serious disguise? Is it a social commentary about the penal system? Is it an arc for Fonda's upright and uptight sheriff to find disillusionment?

Kirk Douglas portrays a robber who will sacrifice anyone and anything to get the loot and come out on top, while Henry Fonda is a town sheriff who seems the exact opposite of Douglas, and who specializes in moral correctness. While attempting to practice what he preaches, kindness before cruelty, Fonda is shot apprehending a drunken Warren Oates. The town quickly and easily gives up hope in Fonda's ability to do his job, leading Fonda to volunteer as warden for the prison where both Douglas and Oates are incarcerated.

Fonda begins a crusade to uplift the inmates of this desolate Arizona penal colony by abolishing obligatory hard labor and restricting cruel punishments upon the men. It seems the only way to earn Fonda's enmity as warden is to draw lascivious pictures of scantily clad women, as all other crimes are forgivable and reformable in Fonda' eyes.

While Fonda is trying to teach the prisoners self-respect, Douglas is luring them into his aid with promises of sharing the money he stole in the crime for which he was convicted and sentenced to the prison. Those he can't persuade he tricks into helping him by various plots and devices, all the while Fonda thinks Douglas should become the prisoners' leader and help give them hope by improving their living conditions. Burgess Meredith frequently steals the spotlight as a former flashy train robber that has been transformed by years in prison into a tired, gritty, petty old man who does nothing for free.

The problem with this movie is not the excellent acting, but the tone and the Mickey Mouse musical score. It deals with murder and betrayal carelessly, it refers to revenge and cruelty with humor, and it moves back and forth from serious to light-hearted scenes so quickly and easily that it becomes difficult to maintain any clear perspective. In the middle of a murderous rampage an (apparently) hilarious food fight ensues while a buxom visitor to the prison is gradually, but incompletely, disrobed.

Unlike other satires released that year such as "Catch-22" (1970) or "M.A.S.H." (1970), "There Was a Crooked Man" doesn't succeed in delivering a message, but only appears to chronicle an improbable series of events that have no meaning outside of itself, all the while the most irritating and thematically contrary music imaginable scores nearly every scene.

Despite good acting and some laughs, it's a tough film to recommend. If there was a DVD version that allowed you to keep the dialog and eradicate the music, this would be a totally different, and much improved, movie.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (38 total) »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford I Love You Phillip Morris The Ballad of Cable Hogue The Basketball Diaries Appaloosa
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Western section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.