There Was a Crooked Man (1970) - Rotten Tomatoes

There Was a Crooked Man1970

There Was a Crooked Man (1970)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

There Was a Crooked Man Photos

Movie Info

A typically adventurous work from producer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, There Was a Crooked Man casts Kirk Douglas as the brains of a gang of frontier desperadoes. Arrested in a brothel after holding up merchant Arthur O'Connell, Douglas is carted off to territorial prison, where he quickly establishes himself as the lord of the flies. Idealistic new warden Henry Fonda vows to improve morale and living conditions in the prison, and to that end enlists the aid of Douglas, who pretends to be the warden's toady. In fact, Douglas is plotting a prison break along with Warren Oates, who'd previously crippled Fonda in a shoot out, and homosexual cellmates Hume Cronyn and Burgess Meredith. There's many a surprise and double-cross in store for all concerned before the wryly cynical finale. There Was a Crooked Man was co-scripted by David Newman and Robert Benton, who manage to inject a great deal of historical accuracy into their fictional yarn.

Watch it now


Kirk Douglas
as Paris Pitman, Jr.
Henry Fonda
as Woodward W. Lopeman
Hume Cronyn
as Dudley Whinner
Warren Oates
as Floyd Moon
Burgess Meredith
as The Missouri Kid
John Randolph
as Cyrus McNutt
Martin Gabel
as Warden Le Goff
Michael Blodgett
as Coy Cavendish
Lee Grant
as Mrs. Bullard
C.K. Yang
as Ah-Ping Woo
Bert Freed
as Skinner
Barbara Rhoades
as Miss Jessie Brundidge
Gene Evans
as Col. Wolff
Jeanne Cooper
as Prostitute
Ann Doran
as Mrs. Lomax
Byron Foulger
as Town Council Member
View All

Critic Reviews for There Was a Crooked Man

All Critics (11)

The penultimate film of director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve) is a tart-tongued Western written by the same gents who had penned Bonnie and Clyde three years earlier.

June 19, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Technically, the film is near perfect, reminding us how good a Hollywood programmer can be, even at an inflated cost of seven million dollars.

January 13, 2020 | Full Review…

If smart callousness, moral indifference and violence on the rockpile are what you are looking for, at least this ex- ample is rather conspicuously well acted.

July 9, 2018 | Full Review…

Fails to deliver on a promising story.

January 14, 2018 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

...a solid little Western that's worth a look if only for its refreshingly cynical sensibilities.

January 24, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

O senso de humor do filme desarma de maneira brilhante o espectador, pegando-o completamente de surpresa com o cinismo de seu terceiro ato.

January 20, 2007 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for There Was a Crooked Man


I suspect that the writers and the director (Joseph Mankiewicz) would be better suited for comedic endeavors than serious, dramatic westerns. This is one picture that is far too light-hearted to be taken seriously. Even the violence, and there is lots of it, seems slapstick and frivolous. It's a shame that such a great cast was wasted on shallow, forgettable material.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

There Was a Crooked Man Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features