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The Wrong Man (1956)

Henry Fonda , Vera Miles , Alfred Hitchcock  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle, Harold J. Stone, Charles Cooper
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Angus MacPhail, Maxwell Anderson
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock, Herbert Coleman
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002HOER6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,184 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wrong Man" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Manny Ballestero is an honest hardworking musician at New York's Stork Club. When his wife needs money for dental treatment, Manny goes to the local insurance office to borrow on her policy. Employees at the office mistake him for a hold-up man who robbed them the year before and the police are called. The film tells the true story of what happened to Manny and his family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "An innocent man has nothing to fear, remember that" November 2, 2005
Format:DVD
Apparently the innocent man has plenty to fear, and that is the subject of this curious film by Alfred Hitchcock. Although the theme of false accusation is one that Hitchcock would use repeatedly throughout his career, THE WRONG MAN is a different kind of a Hitchcock film in many ways.

This film claims to be--and in fact is--a true story (it was based upon a 1952 LIFE magazine article "The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero") and Hitchcock went to great lengths in minimizing the fictionalization of any part of this narrative. The result is quite a serious film. Henry Fonda plays Manny Balestrero, a devoted family man who plays bass at night for local nightclub band. Based on faulty eyewitness identification, he is accused of committing a string of armed hold-ups that have been plaguing his neighborhood.

Now, in the usual Hitchcock film, the hero of the story would go on the lam, meet up with a beautiful blonde, and set about solving the mystery and clearing his own name. That does not happen here. We follow Balestrero through the tedious but very real process of being accused, processed, and jailed while his wife Rose (Vera Miles) slowly suffers a complete mental breakdown. So serious is this film, in fact, that Hitchcock forgoes his usual cameo role and instead appears during a prologue to the film explaining the film's basis in fact.

THE WRONG MAN has a documentary feel to it reflecting the considerable efforts by Hitchcock to be true to the real story. In many cases, in fact, the picture was filmed in the actual locations where the true to life events took place, including The Stork Club in Manhattan, the police precinct house in Queens, and the actual insurance office where one of the original armed robberies took place.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Man Caught in the Wheels of Justice November 30, 2004
Format:DVD
This is definitely not your typical Hitchcock. Based on a real life case of mistaken identity, we really see the cinematic magic that happens when a captivating story is told by a director with uncanny instinct and depicted by actors with tremendous scope and talent.

Fonda just blew me away with his portrayal of Manny Balestrero, a New York City club musician wrongfully accused of armed robbery. His pithy and grounded performance really gave this film a realistic and poignant feel. You feel a sympathy towards his character as he is churned through the justice system, gutted out physically and emotionally, and ultimately ends up in jail.

Vera Miles' portrayal of his wife Rose was a departure from what Hitchcock fans would expect...this is NOT the goody-goody gutsy sister of Janet Leigh in "Psycho". Vera Miles performance is startling. We see her character descend into mental instability as she places the blame of Manny's incarceration on herself.

The cinematography, of course, is excellent. Here is where Hitchcock makes his signature on an otherwise laid-out story. The backdrop of NYC lends its own gritty feel. All in all, this is a wonderfully rich film. It is an excellent contrast to Hitchcock's more sophisticated, glossy films like Vertigo and Rear Window, and the acting is simply superb.

A must for any Hitchcock fan.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hitchcock's Greatest Films! November 15, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Just rented it and had to watch it three times. An amazing film! Where's the DVD version! This simple grim tale a man wrongly imprisoned for robbery and the heart-breaking subsequent mental breakdown of his wife will haunt you. I would argue that this film demonstrates Hitchcock's films in its purest form. No bird attacks or shriveled corpses here but then some of us who love Hitchcock's works believe they are really in the end about people and how they survive, or come to be trapped by, dire circumstances. Watch this movie along with "Vertigo," "Psycho," "The Birds," and "Marnie." Like "Psycho" and "The Birds," we see both physical and psychological imprisonment of the characters (or being caught in a kind of trap might be the relevant metaphor here) and like "Vertigo" and "Marnie," we see the overwhelming power of mental disturbance have on one's ability to control one's own life. I have found that it always helps to compare Hitchcock's films with each other as certain themes seem to occur over and over again, almost as if Hitchcock had some compusive fixation on it.
I would consider this film a great tragedy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"The Wrong Man" was written by playwright Maxwell Anderson and directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the true story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero, a man wrongly accused of a series of armed robberies in New York City in 1953, only a couple of years before the film was made. "Manny" Balestrero (Henry Fonda) was a family man and a musician at New York's Stork Club. One day he visits the office of his life insurance company to find out how much his wife Rose (Vera Miles) can borrow against her insurance policy to finance some badly needed dental surgery. The insurance company has been held up a couple of times by a man claiming to have a gun, and the teller is convinced that Manny looks like the culprit. Charged with armed robbery and misidentified by witnesses, Manny hopes to find people to corroborate his alibis. When that fails, the situation takes a toll on Rose's mental state.

"The Wrong Man"'s primary objective is to give the impression of a loss of control. The most disturbing aspect of Manny's predicament is that he is at the mercy of an impersonal system that doesn't know or care about him and from which he cannot escape. Manny is an easy-going guy who is bewildered by the unjust turn of events but always optimistic. His wife Rose is less naïve and more proactive at first, but more emotionally fragile, ultimately tormented by feelings of guilt and persecution. Manny's helplessness and distress are expressed graphically in his scenes of confinement in the jail. Alfred Hitchcock excels at communicating the horror of being caged, though I could have done without the camera moving in circles. That conveyed a feeling of nausea more than confinement. "The Wrong Man" has some nice scenes of New York City circa 1956, including some filmed inside the Stork Club.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Engrossing and Relatable Film
Gripping true story. Henry Fonda. No need to say more.
Published 13 days ago by Soda
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good movie. Brilliant performance by Henry Fonda
Published 19 days ago by Jack Woolfe
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Different, but definitely Hitchcock!
Published 2 months ago by Keith Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality,
Excellent quality of film, well worth the money. There's a little lack of character development here, Hitch didn't quite have the drop on a deep back story for his characters in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Hope Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like planing the wrong guy...
It was an OK movie. I am still trying to figure out if it was a true story or not, because of what is shown at the end.
Published 3 months ago by S. Moller
5.0 out of 5 stars Justice Previals
Imagine you go into your insurance office one day to draw money out on your policy for your wife to have dental surgery. And, the next thing you know. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kathy Price
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie was terrific.
It wear exquisite. We enjoyed it very much. Thank you for your promptness. We were so pleased with our purchase.
Published 5 months ago by gizmo
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Hitch's Best of His "Wrong Identity"-themed films
Although Henry Fonda is a great actor, I thought the story lacking. Hitchcock's direction was spot on however, and the lighting, photography and mood he conveys were also great. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Scotman's Critic's Corner
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome point of view.
Love this movie! We don't often see how the accused and their entire family may be effected by being wrongly accused.
Published 8 months ago by AnJon
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock hits again
Very creepy and suspenseful. Especially if it's a true story as claimed! Enjoyed it as a Hitchcock fan and a mystery movie lover. Read more
Published 8 months ago by SusaR
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