The Breaking Point (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Breaking Point1950

The Breaking Point (1950)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In this taut adaptation of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not a financially struggling charter-boat captain finds himself in deep and turbulent water when he is forced to get involved with smugglers after a dishonest millionaire cheats him out of pay during a fishing excursion to Mexico; the louse also leaves his seductive girl friend, a hooker, stranded on the boat. The desperate captain agrees to illegally smuggle Chinese refugees into the US, but during the voyage, he is again double-crossed and must force his hapless passengers to jump ship when the Coast Guard suddenly appears. They take his boat away from him. Deeply depressed, he has sex with the abandoned woman and then goes home. Meanwhile, the crooked lawyer who talked him into smuggling the refugees, gets the captain's boat back and then blackmails him into taking a gang of crooks to Catalina Island. During the 26-mile voyage things come to a head when one of the crooks kills the skipper's first mate. Suddenly the captain snaps and he finally gets his revenge.

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John Garfield
as Harry Morgan
Patricia Neal
as Leona Charles
Phyllis Thaxter
as Lucy Morgan
Juano Hernandez
as Wesley Park
Edmon Ryan
as Rogers
Ralph Dumke
as Hannagan
Norman Field
as Dock Attendant
Juan Duval
as Bartender
Spencer Chan
as 1st Chinese Cook
Helen Hatch
as Mrs. Cooley
Bob McLean
as Leona's Party
John Close
as Deputy
Alex Gerry
as Mr. Phillips
Glen Turnbull
as Taxi Driver
John Alvin
as Reporter
David McMahon
as Coast Guardsman
Paul McGuire
as Leona's Escort
Len Hendry
as Boatswain
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Critic Reviews for The Breaking Point

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (1)

The Breaking Point is crackling good drama.

July 30, 2019 | Full Review…

An unrelentingly downbeat picture.

November 1, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The film's not great Hemingway. Few films based on his work are. But it's as close to this novel as we're likely to ever get in an adaptation, no matter who owns the remake rights, now.

June 3, 2021 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Arguably the superior mounting of the Ernest Hemingway story, The Breaking Point proves moral gloom exists as equally and virulently sunny-side up.

September 8, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

The acting, script and direction (by Michael Curtiz) are first-rate, making it classic filmmaking.

July 31, 2020 | Full Review…

Phyllis Thaxter steals the show. Her scenes are the best in the movie, and some of the best domestic scenes in cinema history. You don't often see a husband and wife on equal footing like this, nor do you see it this sexually charged.

July 23, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Breaking Point


Superior performances in this rough well made film. In his second to last film, a much truer version of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not than the Bogie/Bacall film, Garfield is nothing short of brilliant making his early death and the loss of his talent all the clearer. Patricia Neal has one of her best if not the best role of her early Hollywood career and she's great as the been around wise girl who has a yen for Garfield. She and Phyllis Thaxter, also very fine, provide an interesting contrast as women who are miles apart but also similar in many ways. The fact that the two actresses share a resemblance helps make the point even clearer. Worth seeking out.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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