7.3/10
5,189
60 user 55 critic

Force of Evil (1948)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | March 1949 (USA)
An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.

Director:

Abraham Polonsky

Writers:

Abraham Polonsky (screenplay), Ira Wolfert (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Body and Soul (1947)
Drama | Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A talented boxer's young career hits difficult terrain when an unethical promoter takes interest in him.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks
Gun Crazy (1950)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: John Dall, Peggy Cummins, Berry Kroeger
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a lovely woman and her new husband settle in an ancient mansion on the East coast, she discovers that he may want to kill her.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere
The Big Combo (1955)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Jean Wallace
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After discovering the dead body of her teenage daughter's lover, a housewife takes desperate measures to protect her family from scandal.

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An otherwise moral captain of a charter boat becomes financially strapped and is drawn into illegal activities in order to keep up payments on his boat.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Garfield, Patricia Neal, Phyllis Thaxter
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit".

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An escaped convict, injured during a robbery, falls in love with the woman who nurses him back to health, but their relationship seems doomed from the beginning.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Cathy O'Donnell, Farley Granger, Howard Da Silva
Raw Deal (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Joe Sullivan has taken the rap for Rick who double-crosses him with a flawed escape plan and other means intended to get rid of him.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A married woman and a drifter fall in love, then plot to murder her husband.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Garfield ... Joe Morse
Thomas Gomez ... Leo Morse
Marie Windsor ... Edna Tucker
Howland Chamberlain ... Freddie Bauer (as Howland Chamberlin)
Roy Roberts ... Ben Tucker
Paul Fix ... Bill Ficco
Stanley Prager ... Wally
Barry Kelley ... Detective Egan
Paul McVey ... Hobe Wheelock
Beatrice Pearson ... Doris Lowry
Edit

Storyline

Lawyer Joe Morse wants to consolidate all the small-time numbers racket operators into one big powerful operation. But his elder brother Leo is one of these small-time operators who wants to stay that way, preferring not to deal with the gangsters who dominate the big-time. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

John Garfield puts his Body and Soul into Force of Evil.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tucker's People See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$948,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,165,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Identified by critic Thom Andersen as an example of "film gris", a suggested sub-category of film noir incorporating a left-wing narrative. See more »

Goofs

When Joe reads the newspaper at the beginning of the film about the prosecutor cracking down on the numbers racket, the second paragraph of the story is about another topic entirely. See more »

Quotes

Hobe Wheelock: Joe, you usually know what you're doing. But it's one thing to represent Tucker legally - as his lawyer, I mean. I mean, it's the business of lawyers to protect a lot of people. They even teach that at Harvard.
See more »

Alternate Versions

All existing copies of the film are of the version that was cut by 10 minutes in order to fit into a double bill. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Rules of Film Noir (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quartet opus 131, no. 14: Ist Movement
(uncredited)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Top Marx!
23 January 2003 | by kennethwright2612See all my reviews

McCarthy blacklist victim Abraham Polonsky's angry and poetic film noir is perhaps the most candidly subversive picture ever made in a commercial genre, almost explicitly equating capitalism with crime in the metaphor of the numbers racket. It belongs on the face of it to the post-war-disillusionment school of American thrillers (eg The Blue Dahlia, Key Largo), in which the evils that ordinary Joes spent the war fighting turn out to be business as usual when they get back home. But what makes it so unusual is its insistence, contrary to the message of other social-comment crime thrillers of the 1940s, that it's a bad system, rather than bad people, that's to blame for the woes of the world. The fate of Mob lawyer John Garfield's decent, kind-hearted brother Thomas Gomez, a small-time policy banker, shows us what happens to good people who try to play straight in a crooked game. If the bad guys in the film turned good, Polonsky implies, they'd only get the same. Polonsky described the source novel, Tucker's People, as "an autopsy on capitalism".

Sermon over: none of the above gets in the way of a raging, doom-laden crime melo that, like a snowball, gets faster and weightier as it barrels along. Superb New York location photography, a vitriolic script, and committed, sincere performances lock our attention to every second of its 81 New York minutes. If it weren't for Gun Crazy (scripted under a front name by another dangerous pinko, Dalton Trumbo), Force of Evil would be the best film noir ever made.


19 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 60 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed