The Enforcer (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Enforcer1951

The Enforcer (1951)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Humphrey Bogart plays Martin Ferguson, a prosecutor about to put Albert Mendoza (Everett Sloane), the head of a murder-for-hire ring, on trial. But the night before the trial, his key witness, Joe Rico (Ted de Corsia), dies in a fall out of the window of the room in which he's been guarded, part of an abortive escape attempt to keep from testifying. His case in shambles, Ferguson and detective Captain Nelson (Roy Roberts) try to piece the entire four-year investigation back together from square one, trying to find something that might give them another way to prosecute Mendoza. The main body of the movie is told in flashback, starting when a small-time hood named Duke Malloy (Michael Tolan, then billed as Lawrence Tolan) walks into a police station to turn himself in for killing his girlfriend -- and says that someone made him kill her. He babbles to the bewildered detectives about "hits" and "contracts" and men nicknamed Philadelphia, Big Babe, and Smiley. The body isn't found, but they arrest Malloy, who hangs himself in his cell. That dead end leads, almost by accident, to Philadelphia Tom Zaca (Jack Lambert), an asylum inmate who has to be put under sedation at the mention of Malloy's name. They find another suspect's body burning in his building's incinerator, and then Big Babe Lazick (Zero Mostel), a two-bit hood, hiding in a church in mortal fear of his life. He begins weaving a tale of a murder-by-contract ring and its head operator, Joe Rico, of a murder contract that Duke Malloy never filled on a girl who had to change her name, of mistaken identity and the murder of the girl's cab-driver father, and the connection between that and a murder that they both witnessed eight years earlier. In the midst of all of those interlocking stories (spread across ten years), there's something Ferguson missed -- when he had Rico to testify -- that he has to sort out from the reams of testimony and evidence, and he has to figure it out before Mendoza does, or lose the last witness he has. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

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Humphrey Bogart
as Dist. Atty. Martin Ferguson
Zero Mostel
as Big Babe Lazick
Ted de Corsia
as Joseph Rico
Everett Sloane
as Albert Mendoza
Roy Roberts
as Capt. Frank Nelson
Lawrence Tolan
as Duke Malloy
King Donovan
as Sgt. Whitlow
Bob Steele
as Herman
Adelaide Klein
as Olga Kirshen
Don Beddoe
as Thomas O'Hara
Tito Vuolo
as Tony Vetto
Jack Lambert
as Philadelphia Tom Zaca
Patricia Joiner
as Teresa Davis/Angela Vetto
Susan Cabot
as Nina Lombardo
Mario Siletti
as Louis the Barber
Dan Riss
as Mayor
Art Dupuis
as Keeper
Bud Wolfe
as Fireman
Robert Strong
as Secretary
Michael Lally
as Detective
George Meader
as Medical Examiner
Ralph Dunn
as Sergeant
Perc Launders
as Police Sergeant
Tom Dillon
as Policeman
James Brick Sullivan
as Police Chauffeur
Greta Granstedt
as Mrs. Lazick
Chuck Hamilton
as Policeman
Jay Morley
as Policeman
Karen Kester
as Nina as a child
Eula Guy
as Landlady
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Critic Reviews for The Enforcer

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (1)

Walsh... endows the film's deadly violence with stylishly macabre flourishes. Yet the movie's originality is mainly in its script, by Martin Rackin.

July 26, 2021 | Full Review…

[The Enforcer] is a very good film indeed, and one which must appeal to anyone who happens to have a base instinct about him.

June 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Vivid film noir, with many images that recall other Raoul Walsh thrillers.

January 1, 2011 | Full Review…

Fine latter day Bogie (1950), and the title says it all.

February 23, 2008 | Rating: 4/5

A história bem construída e as boas atuações são o ponto forte deste noir, que se inspirou em fatos reais e foi um dos primeiros filmes a abordar o universo dos assassinos profissionais - e Bogart, mesmo no piloto automático, é sempre interessante.

August 11, 2003 | Rating: 3/5

A fast moving film.

October 9, 2001 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Enforcer


Minor crime caper. In his last Warners movie Bogart is excellent as always but the film is average in all other aspects

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


When a hoodlum staggers into a police station and confesses to the murder of his girlfriend, it sets in motion a chain of events which leads to D.A. Humphrey Bogart following a series of clues and bodies uncovering a group of ruthless contract killers. All the elements of film noir are in place, including gritty violence in darkened streets and tough, uncompromising characters. The structure is a little episodic, most of the story being told in flashback, and it would've benefited from giving more screen time to Bogie himself, but it's still a tautly directed and well shot minor classic of the detective genre.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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