Watch Harper

"Harper takes a case - and the payoff is murder."
  • NR
  • 1966
  • 2 hr 1 min
  • 6.8  (10,712)
  • 51

Harper is a 1966 crime drama film starring screen legend, Paul Newman, alongside an impressive ensemble cast. The movie follows Lew Harper, a private investigator who specializes in handling complicated cases that nobody else is capable of solving. When Harper is approached by a wealthy California woman, Elaine Sampson, he is offered a job to track down her missing husband.

The storyline is set in Southern California and is loaded with classic American Noir elements, including the likes of mysterious women, secret affairs, multi-layered plots, and difficult twists. The movie is adapted from the novel, The Moving Target, by Ross Macdonald, which is known for its gritty characteristics and often delves into the depraved and twisted psychology of its characters.

Watching Harper is like diving into a vintage detective story that effortlessly mixes suspenseful questions around lost fortunes, a young woman desperate for answers, and clear evidence of malfeasance. Harper is a man of few words, but his deductive abilities and peculiar stoicism adds to his smoky allure - an archetype masterfully played by Newman who also adds a touch of sarcasm and a quick wit into the character of Harper.

Lauren Bacall, a screen veteran, is at her scintillating best as the sultry Sampson. Bacall never misses a beat, consistently hitting the perfect pitch in her seductive maneuvering while masking her true emotions. Additionally, the ever-talented Julie Harris delivers a multi-layered performance as the Sampson's house help, while Shelley Winters steals the show, acquitting herself admirably as a past her prime, alcoholic, and flirtatious character.

Robert Wagner also stars in the movie as the son of Sampson's husband, who surprisingly disappeared after learning he was unwell. The plot takes a twisted, often blurred path as Harper familiarizes himself with Sampson's other acquaintances, who have possible links with the missing millionaire.

Harper's investigations continuously led him to confrontations with cold-blooded killers and intelligent psychopaths who are bent on protecting their own interests, making the movie extremely captivating from beginning to end.

The screenplay, written by William Goldman, brings out the best in Macdonald's novel; its style is forward-thinking, and the pacing is fast and dynamic, keeping the audience glued to their seats. The settings take full advantage of California's sunny vistas and picturesque backdrops, making this movie as visually impressive as it is exciting in its storytelling.

The movie's rhythm changes when Harper gets briefed on the different seasons of society and situations that forms a deeper web of intrigue that further complicates the case. With one twist after another, Harper must use all his mental and physical senses to uncover the truth and solve the mystery around the missing millionaire.

In conclusion, Harper is an absolute gem of a movie that is equal parts gritty noir, psychological thriller, and classic detective story. Paul Newman's iconic performance as the private investigator Harper is remarkable, matched by a talented cast that includes Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris, Shelley Winters, and Robert Wagner. The movie's stunning cinematography and well-written screenplay keep the story engaging, exhilarating, and captivating to every single moment. Harper is a must-watch for every lover of classic American mystery and noir stories.

Harper is a 1966 crime movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 1 minute. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 51.

Where to Watch Harper
Harper is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Harper for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 1 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (10,712)
  • Metascore