7.9/10
22,405
136 user 81 critic

In Cold Blood (1967)

After a botched robbery results in the brutal murder of a rural family, two drifters elude police, in the end coming to terms with their own mortality and the repercussions of their vile atrocity.

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writers:

Truman Capote (based on the book by), Richard Brooks (written for the screen by)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Blake ... Perry
Scott Wilson ... Dick
John Forsythe ... Alvin Dewey
Paul Stewart ... Jensen
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ... Harold Nye
Jeff Corey ... Mr. Hickock
John Gallaudet ... Roy Church
James Flavin ... Clarence Duntz
Charles McGraw ... Tex Smith
Will Geer ... Prosecutor
John McLiam ... Herbert Clutter
Ruth Storey Ruth Storey ... Bonnie Clutter
Brenda Currin ... Nancy Clutter (as Brenda C. Currin)
Paul Hough Paul Hough ... Kenyon Clutter
Vaughn Taylor ... Good Samaritan
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Storyline

In meeting in Kansas, ex-cons Perry Smith and Dick Hickock are breaking several conditions of their respective paroles. The meeting, initiated by Dick, is to plan and eventually carry out a robbery based on information he had received from a fellow inmate about $10,000 cash being locked in a hidden safe in the home of the farming Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas. After the robbery, they plan on going to Mexico permanently to elude capture by the police. Each brings a necessary personality to the partnership to carry out the plan, Dick who is the brash manipulator, Perry the outwardly more sensitive but unrealistic dreamer with a violent streak under the surface. Perry literally carries all his dreams in a large box he takes with him wherever he goes. The robbery does not go according to plan in any respect, the pair who ultimately hogtie and execute all four members of the Clutter family, only coming away from the home with $43 in cash. As Perry and Dick go on the run, a murder ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1968 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Truman Capote's In Cold Blood See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (5.0) (L-R)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In two scenes Robert Blake's character makes a reference to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). Blake played the paperboy who sold the winning lottery ticket to Humphrey Bogart in that classic movie. However, despite the fact that many people believe it was written into the script because of Blake. It wasn't. According to Truman Capote, it was Perry Smith's favorite movie. See more »

Goofs

When Perry Smith is sent through the gallows trap at the end of the film, it is apparent that the rope is connected to the stand-in mannequin's middle back, rather than around its neck. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Little girl on bus: 'Scuse me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Infamous (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Row, Row, Row Your Boat
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed a cappella by Robert Blake and Ted Eccles
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Extremely disturbing, even now
4 August 2002 | by virek213See all my reviews

Although it was released way back in 1967, IN COLD BLOOD still remains the benchmark by which all true-crime films are matched. Veteran writer/director Richard Brooks (ELMER GANTRY) adapted Truman Capote's non-fiction book into a chilling docudrama that retains a disturbing power even today, thirty-five years later.

Robert Blake and Scott Wilson portray Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, two ex-cons who, on a tip from Hicock's old cellmate Floyd Wells, broke into the Holcomb, Kansas home of Herbert Clutter, looking for a wall safe supposedly containing $10,000. But no safe was ever found, and the two men instead wound up killing Mr. Clutter, his wife, and their two children, getting away with only a radio, a pair of binoculars, and a lousy forty dollars. Two months on the run, including an aimless "vacation" in northern Mexico, ended in Las Vegas when cops caught them in a stolen car. But it eventually comes out, after merciless grilling by Kansas law enforcement officials, that these two men committed that heinous crime in Holcomb. Tried and convicted on four counts of murder, they stew in jail over a five-year period of appeals and denials until both are hanged to death on April 14, 1965.

Blake and Smith are absolutely chilling as the two dispassionate killers who show no remorse for what they've done but are concerned about getting caught. John Forsythe also does a good turn as Alvin Dewey, the chief detective investigating the crime, as does Gerald S. O'Laughlin as his assistant. In a tactic that is both faithful to Capote's book and a good artistic gambit all around, Brooks does not show the murders at the beginning; instead, he shows the two killers pulling up to the Clutter house as the last light goes out, then cuts to the next morning and the horrifying discovery of the bodies. Only during the ride back to Kansas, when Blake is questioned by Forsythe and narrates the story, do we see the true horror of what happened that night. We don't see that much blood being spilled in these scenes, but we don't need to. The shotgun blasts and the horrified look on the Clutters' faces as they know they are about to die are more than disturbing enough, so there is no need to resort to explicitly bloody slasher-film violence.

Brooks wisely filmed IN COLD BLOOD in stark black-and-white, and the results are excellent thanks to Conrad Hall's expertise. The chilling jazz score by Quincy Jones is the capper. The end result is one of the most unsettling films of any kind ever made, devastating in its own low-key fashion. It is a 134-minute study of a crime that shook an entire state and indeed an entire nation, and should be seen, though viewer discretion is advised; the 'R' rating is there for a reason.


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