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Bad Day at Black Rock (2005)

Spencer Tracy , Robert Ryan , John Sturges  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin, Dean Jagger
  • Directors: John Sturges
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 10, 2005
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007TKNH4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,703 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bad Day at Black Rock" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Spencer Tracy, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan. While searching for a long-lost friend, a man stumbles upon a small Western town hiding a dark secret. 1954/color/82 min/NR/widescreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
"Bad Day at Black Rock" is a riveting suspense thriller with several memorable performances from a first rate cast. Spencer Tracy (in one of his best roles) excels as John J. MacReedy who is in Black Rock to take a medal to the father of one of his wartime colleagues now that the war is over. He encounters unexpected resentment and hostility from some of the residents, in particular from Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin who make a trio of formidable villains. When threats and intimidation have no effect on Tracy (who doggedly continues to pursue his investigations) the three then resort to violence. Also in the impressive cast are Anne Francis, Walter Brennan, Dean Jagger, John Ericson and Russell Collins. With the help of Brennan and Francis and after surmounting many obstacles Tracy eventually gets the upper hand bringing the film to its exciting climax.

Some favourite lines from the film:

Spencer Tracy (to train conductor): "Oh, I'll only be here for 24 hours". Train conductor: "In a place like this that could be a lifetime!".

Russell Collins (to Spencer Tracy): "Important? It's the first time the streamliner has stopped here in four years".

Tracy (to Ernest Borgnine): "You're not only wrong - you're wrong at the top of your voice!".

Dean Jagger (to Tracy): "This ain't no information bureau".

John Ericson (to Tracy): "If you're in such a hurry you should have never got off here". Tracy: "I'm inclined to agree with you".

A brilliant and satisfying film expertly directed by John Sturges who later went on to make other classics including "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Great Escape".
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid "Rock" May 19, 2005
Format:DVD
This is a thrilling suspense film from start to finish. Though set apparently in post World War II Arizona the film has the feel of a traditional western. One could draw parallels to another classic western, "High Noon", in that the film's protagonist MacCreedy (Spencer Tracy) is confronted with sociopathic bullies and has difficulty enlisting the aid of the few people of good will in Black Rock. Whereas "High Noon" was considered a metaphor for McCarthyism, "Bad Day at Black Rock" tackles the theme of racism, in this case the prejudice that was prevalent at the time against Americans of Japanese descent. John Sturges crafts such an effective tale that you don't feel you are being preached to. Tracy is solid as the one-armed inquisitor. The supporting cast is all first-rate with Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, and Lee Marvin especially good as the creepy heavies. Great Technicolor and tremendous use of widescreen on display here. Andre Previn contributes an effective score.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tight, Well-Constructed Thriller About Justice June 29, 2005
Format:DVD
It's very satisfying to see a relatively small movie that was made efficiently by pros become so widely liked and respected. It's got just about everything...a gripping story that carries a message, vivid characters but a small cast, a dangerous setting, the plight of a brave loner on the side of justice who beats the odds. And it doesn't have dumb things...an extraneous love story, outraged citizens who meet in a church, excessive violence, time spent on flashbacks. It was a long wait for this one to come out on DVD, but it was worth it.

Among many elements I admire are the three character actors: Russell Collins as the weak, cowardly telegraph agent, Dean Jagger as the played-out sheriff (his humiliation at the hands of Robert Ryan is unpleasant), and, most of all, Walter Brennan as the doctor who tries to push things but isn't dumb enough to push too hard. I think this was one of Brennan's last, really good roles before he turned himself into the toothless old coot or cackling grampa of his later films. In his prime, he was a fine actor. And for vicious bullies I don't think anyone has topped Lee Marvin and Ernest Bognine in their roles. I'd even eat my catsup without any chili at all to avoid a confrontation with these guys.

I have a lot of respect for Robert Ryan but find it sad that, despite a number of opportunities, he never was able to break into the top rank of stardom. Maybe he didn't really want that. Maybe he was too willing to play bad guys. Maybe he lacked some element of charisma or just ambition. He was a fine actor and, from reports, a nice guy.

The DVD transfer is excellent
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think something kinda bad happened here June 18, 2005
Format:DVD
A nattily dressed one-armed man arrives in a small southwestern town and brings to light a dark, dirty secret the townspeople thought they had buried years ago.
The man is John Macreedy (Spencer Tracy), and what he's doing in Black Rock is slowly - very slowly - revealed. That presents a challenge for someone trying to write about the movie for someone who hasn't seen it. If ever a movie should be watched with an empty bucket of information it's BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK. Suffice it to say that many of the townspeople are less than thrilled to see the man-in-black stranger, and his soon-to-be chief nemesis, Reno Smith (Robert Ryan) makes it his business to see that the town's dirty past stays buried, by whatever means possible.
There's a lot more character interaction than straight out action in BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK. If Ryan's Reno represents an absolute evil, he's abetted by the corrupt (Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin, in particular), the apathetic (town doc Walter Brennan), and the used-up (town sheriff Dean Jagger.) Things change, though, and the ground upon which personal relationships are based tends to shift. Those who could abide the town's evil secret find their position less tenable the longer Macreedy sticks around, and BAD DAY takes great delight in chronicling the changes. As usual, Ryan is just right as the thoughtful bad guy. It's hard to find a movie Ryan was ever miscast in. The Macreedy role plays to Tracy's strength - in particular his ability to project moral righteousness without sermonizing.
Besides a trailer, the dvd carries a commentary track by film historian Dana Polan. I jotted down three of his comments, more or less at random: "This movie asks the question `what is the western in the modern age?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvin's Finest
The finest movie that Lee Marvin ever made. My review, my opinion. Lee is a surprisingly good bad guy that is essentially a bit part as Tracy is the star. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bruce Maybee
1.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for the movie, 1/2 star for amazon
Although the movie was what I expected, I didn't expect the copyright measures put in place. I wouldn't have guessed that I could only watch the movie on the computer it was... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chris Erwin
4.0 out of 5 stars A golden oldie
For years my husband has searched for this film. When we saw it on Amazon he had me order it. It taught me a lot of history about the US attitude during WWII and intolerance,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Geri H. Ball
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
Great cast in a really great movie. With all the bigotry that still exists, this movie is totally relevant today.
Published 1 month ago by Leo Spesard and Tania Malven
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel the Fear with Spencer!
A very believable movie, set in a very believable locale, this movie will generate the fear that we sometimes have when
we enter a very small and unknown town. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars another train movie. (I wish there were more)
This is like a Western but there are no horses ; the baddies are aplenty, though, and Spencer is like the hero of 'High Noon' who wants what we, the viewers, want ( not all... Read more
Published 1 month ago by stephen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Day for Tracy
A marvelous film. Best enjoyed if one has a knowledge of the attitudes toward Japanese-Americans during and after WWII. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard R. Rutter
4.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood greats-ironic story
Priceless performances from Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin and Walter Brennan, as well as the rest of the cast. A good vs. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Raymond H. Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent post WWII who-done-it.
I like the oldies as long as they are well made and this one is for sure a top ten. I highly recommend this and will keep this in my collection.
Published 2 months ago by smokin
2.0 out of 5 stars How to Look MORE Suspicious Without Even Trying
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Have you ever seen a topic trampled to death, a scene duplicated so many times you could scream, an overkill of meanies, ne'er... Read more
Published 2 months ago by DoMeNiQuE CoE
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