The Bad Seed

Watch The Bad Seed

  • Approved
  • 1956
  • 2 hr 9 min
  • 7.4  (15,715)
  • 51

The Bad Seed is a 1956 psychological thriller directed by Mervyn LeRoy and based on the novel of the same name by William March. The movie follows the story of Christine Penmark (Nancy Kelly), a devoted mother to her eight-year-old daughter Rhoda (Patty McCormack) and loving wife to her husband Kenneth (William Hopper). Rhoda is a seemingly perfect child- intelligent, well-mannered, and talented, with a talent for playing the piano. However, when a terrible tragedy strikes in their small town, and a child drowns, Christine begins to suspect that her daughter may not be as innocent as she seems.

The film deals with the theme of nature vs. nurture, as Christine begins to uncover dark secrets about her daughter's past and fear that she may have inherited a murderous streak from her grandmother. Throughout the movie, we see her struggle with the idea of her daughter being a "bad seed" and wrestle with the decision of what to do with the knowledge she uncovers.

At the same time, Christine is also dealing with personal issues, such as her own guilt over her neglectful behavior towards her own sister, who was born with learning difficulties and was sent away to an institution. This guilt fuels her fears about Rhoda's behavior and makes her more determined to delve deeper into her daughter's psyche.

The performances in this film are top-notch, with Nancy Kelly delivering a powerful and emotional performance as Christine Penmark. Patty McCormack also does an excellent job as Rhoda, portraying the character's cold and calculated demeanor with ease.

One of the most compelling aspects of this movie is the depiction of the 1950s American family. The movie takes place in a small town, where everyone knows each other's business, and it's evident that image and reputation are of utmost importance. The family dynamic of the Penmarks is also very interesting, with Christine being a stay-at-home mom who is completely devoted to her husband and daughter. This contrasts sharply with Rhoda's behavior, which breaks every convention of what a child is supposed to be like in this era.

The film's climax is both shocking and satisfying, as the tension builds to a dramatic conclusion that leaves the viewer wondering just how far Rhoda's evil really goes. The ending is masterfully executed, with a twist that is sure to leave audiences reeling.

Overall, The Bad Seed is a classic psychological thriller that still manages to hold up today. With excellent performances, an intriguing plotline, and beautiful cinematography, this movie is a must-see for fans of the genre.

The Bad Seed is a 1956 thriller with a runtime of 2 hours and 9 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4 and a MetaScore of 51.

The Bad Seed
Where to Watch The Bad Seed
The Bad Seed 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 The Bad Seed for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 9 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (15,715)
  • Metascore