The Big Heat

Watch The Big Heat

"A hard cop and a soft dame."
  • PG
  • 1953
  • 1 hr 29 min
  • 7.9  (28,822)

The Big Heat is a 1953 crime drama film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, and Jocelyn Brando. It is based on the novel of the same name by William P. McGivern and follows the story of a tough and dedicated police detective, Sergeant Dave Bannion, who is on a mission to bring down a ruthless criminal organization.

The film is set in a fictional city where corruption and crime are rampant. Ford plays the lead role of Sergeant Bannion, an honest and fearless cop who is determined to get to the bottom of a case involving the mysterious suicide of a fellow officer. However, as he delves deeper into the investigation, he realizes that the case is much larger than he originally thought.

Gloria Grahame plays Debby Marsh, the girlfriend of a notorious gangster named Vince Stone, played by Lee Marvin. When Bannion starts to get too close to the truth, Stone and his cohorts decide to take matters into their own hands by threatening Bannion's wife and child. Bannion refuses to back down, and the ensuing battle of wills between Bannion and the criminal underworld becomes increasingly intense and violent.

The Big Heat is a classic film noir that masterfully captures the gritty and dangerous world of organized crime. The film is known for its searing visuals, brutal violence, and complex characters, all of which are hallmarks of Lang's distinctive style. It is a compelling and intense noir that is hailed as one of the best of the genre.

At the center of the film is Ford's extraordinary performance as Sergeant Bannion, a man who is willing to risk everything to bring down the corrupt criminals threatening his city. He is a tough, no-nonsense cop who plays by his own rules and knows how to get results. Despite the danger around him, Bannion never loses his sense of duty or his determination to see justice done.

Gloria Grahame's performance as Debby Marsh is also noteworthy. She is a troubled character who is torn between her loyalty to her criminal boyfriend and her growing attraction to Bannion. Although she is initially portrayed as a femme fatale, her character arc is complex and nuanced, allowing Grahame to showcase her range as an actor.

One of the film's most memorable scenes is the infamous coffee scene, where Lee Marvin's character throws a pot of boiling coffee in Grahame's face, scarring her for life. This scene is emblematic of the brutality and violence that permeates the film, and the way it is shot is indicative of Lang's mastery of visual storytelling.

The Big Heat is also notable for its themes of corruption, betrayal, and vengeance. The characters in the film are complex and multifaceted, with allegiances that shift and change throughout the story. The film explores the idea that sometimes it takes vigilante justice to bring down the corrupt power structures that exist in society.

In conclusion, The Big Heat is a classic film noir that still resonates with audiences today. It features strong performances from its lead actors, a compelling plot, and masterful direction from a legend of cinema. The film's themes of corruption, loyalty, and justice are timeless, and it remains a must-see for fans of the genre.

The Big Heat is a 1953 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 29 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9.

The Big Heat
Where to Watch The Big Heat
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 29 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (28,822)