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Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)

Harry Belafonte , Robert Ryan , Robert Wise  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Price: $27.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame, Shelley Winters, Ed Begley
  • Directors: Robert Wise
  • Writers: Abraham Polonsky, John O. Killens, Nelson Gidding, William P. McGivern
  • Producers: Harry Belafonte, Robert Wise, Phil Stein
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: December 2, 2003
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000CNY4M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,052 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Odds Against Tomorrow" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Nerve-snapping tension, gritty style and an unsparing look at racial tension unite in this 'thunderbolt of a film (Los Angeles Examiner) from four-time OscarÂ(r) winner* Robert Wise and writers Abraham Polonsky and Nelson Gidding. Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Shelley Winters and EdBegley deliver 'superb (Hollywood Citizen Herald) performances in this absorbing'taut crime melodrama (Variety). One hundred and fifty thousand dollars, ready for the taking. It's too much to resist for bigoted ex-con Earl Slater (Ryan). He agrees to take part in a bank robbery with former cop Burke (Begley)but hesitates when he finds out that one of his partners (Belafonte) is black. As tensions mount and the men get closer to their biggest score ever, Earl's hatred erupts, resulting in violent consequences for the heist and their lives. *1965: Best Picture, Director, The Sound of Music; 1961: Best Picture, Director (with Jerome Robbins), West Side Story

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Gem July 28, 2005
"Odds Against Tomorrow" was recommended to me by Netflix, based on some of the other films I rented recently. I had never even heard of the film before but am glad that I saw it.

Dave Burke (Ed Begley, "12 Angry Men"), a disgraced former cop now living in a dingy one-bedroom apartment, asks Earle Slater (Robert Ryan, "The Professionals"), a bigoted white Southerner recently moved to New York, to meet him. Earle is anxious to get some money of his own; he doesn't want to depend on his girlfriend (Shelly Winters) for financial support. Dave's plan is to rob a bank in Melton, a small town in upstate New York. He assures Earle that the plan is foolproof, like snatching candy from a baby, and will net each of them at least $50,000. (The film was made in 1958.) Earle doesn't want to have anything to do with it. Dave then meets with the other member of the group, Johnny (Harry Belafonte), a singer with a small jazz group. After hearing the plan, Johnny also passes. But events in the lives of Earle and Johnny conspire against them, forcing them to take part. When they meet, racial conflicts arise threatening the job and their lives.

Directed by Robert Wise ("The Day The Earth Stood Still", "The Sound of Music"), "Odds Against Tomorrow" is not really the crime drama it is billed as, which is a surprise and benefits the film greatly. Almost two thirds of the film is about the lives of the two central characters, Earle and Johnny. Because so much time is devoted to them, we really get a sense of who they are, we get to know them, and they become real.

The film was produced by Harbel Productions, a production company owned by Harry Belafonte. It is easy to see why he was so interested in the project.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Wise's Invisible Oscar June 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Director Robert Wise is probably most identified with his two Oscar winning musicals, West Side Story and The Sound of Music. Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow, a 1959 film produced at the end of the noir cycle should have earned him his first Oscar, but that year Ben Hur's eleven Academy Awards left little in the wake of cinematic honors. Odds Against Tomorrow may have been slighted by the Academy and the box office, but it unassumingly remains as one of the first films to address racism towards blacks in American society. Wise's casting of African American Harry Belafonte as Johnny Ingram and Robert Ryan as the bigot Earl Slater revealed the racial tensions that marked the social undercurrent of the 1950's. Odds Against Tomorrow may have been an emblematic precursor to the racial violence that exploded into the consciousness of mainstream America during the 1960's. The film's plot is structured around a planned bank hiest involving a retired police detective (Ed Begley), a gambling, jazz musician (Belafonte) and a psychotic loner (Ryan). The three protagonists are drawn together by the lure of money; each thinking that a big score will erase the haunting failures of their past. Unlike other noir films in which lust, greed, or deception caused a downward spiral for the protagonist, our trio's well devised plan unravels from within. Earl's seething malevolence and resentment towards Johnny causes the caper to disintegrate. James Coburn deservedly won an Oscar for his role as an alcoholic, abusive father in Affliction; Ryan's portrayal of an emotionally unstable, violent, racist is equally noteworthy. Read more ›
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TAKING THE ODDS..... December 4, 2003
Excellent, hardbitten crime drama brilliantly directed by Robert Wise about three men planning a bank robbery. Ex-cop Burke (Ed Begley) recruits bitter, aging racist Earl Slater (Robert Ryan) and urban jazz muscian/singer Johnny Ingram (Harry Belafonte) for the big heist. The money will change and better all of their lives for different reasons. Ingram especially, as he's indebted to a brutal gangster with his gambling debts. Burke is hopelessly enthusiastic but Slater and Ingram are skeptical and don't trust each other because of Slater's blatant racism towards Ingram. As the tension of the planning of the robbery mounts, so does the antagonism between the two men. That such ignorance should exist between people who have the same goal is intelligently played out with a realistic script. Belafonte, Ryan and Begley give convincing performances as do Shelley Winters, Gloria Grahame and Kim Hamilton as the women in Slater's and Ingram's lives. Haunting b&w photography expresses the bleak and depressing world of the men and the individual anxieties experienced by each. A smoky jazz club, stark city streets, cramped apartments, the stares of strangers---all contribute to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the film. The tense, moody jazz score underlies the tense feeling that something is going to go horribly wrong. When it does, the brewing hatred between Slater and Ingram finally and (literally) explodes. Don't miss this exciting film if you like good, gritty adult noir crime dramas. The DVD is a good print and you can't beat the price.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film with great actors
Would give this movie more stars if I could. Wonderful film with great actors.
Published 1 month ago by Joyce Cerami
5.0 out of 5 stars Taunt, and raw
This movie preceeded the era of polite conversation about prejudice and race. Very raw and impactful. The movie has a dark and moody presence. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Anthony F. Keene
4.0 out of 5 stars Good "film noire" with great music.
Saw it long long time ago.
Later found the music by John Lewis' Modern Jazz Quartet which I love,
espessialy "Scating in Central Park". Read more
Published 12 months ago by R. V. H. Vinke
4.0 out of 5 stars Odds Against Tomorrow... ain't so good for these fellas
In Melton, in upstate New York, on Thursday evenings, a waiter habitually slips over to the side door of the 1st National Bank and drops off his delivery of coffee and sandwiches. Read more
Published 12 months ago by H. Bala
5.0 out of 5 stars A personal treasurer
I was so happy to find this movie available as it was partly filmed in my hometown of Hudson, NY. The quality is superb and the price and quick delivery were terrific.
Published 16 months ago by Linda Zlomek
5.0 out of 5 stars Odds Against Tomorrow
I am an old movie lover, and this one is just great to add to my collection. Harry Belafonte is great in this.
Published 17 months ago by BARBARA NELSON
4.0 out of 5 stars unusual criminals
One of the last black and white film noir productions that painted big cities as crime infested traps to nowhere, Odds Against Tomorrow matches 3 desperate down and outers willing... Read more
Published 19 months ago by likes good books, music, movies
5.0 out of 5 stars A 5-Star Gem
A 5-star cinematic gem with all elements of the movie intermeshing perfectly - the main plot containing sub-plots, vignettes all joining together in striking B&W photography &... Read more
Published on September 10, 2012 by Philos
5.0 out of 5 stars BOB RYAN HEADS NORTH PART 2.
He's just got to be one of the best actors of his time, and Earl Slater just may be his best role ever. Read more
Published on September 1, 2012 by Richard J. Oravitz
4.0 out of 5 stars Melville's favorite film
I read recently that Robert Wise's ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW was French thriller director Jean-Pierre Melville's favorite film. Read more
Published on June 16, 2012 by Stephen Gordon
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