The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre1948

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)



Critic Consensus: Remade but never duplicated, this darkly humorous morality tale represents John Huston at his finest.

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Movie Info

John Huston's 1948 treasure-hunt classic begins as drifter Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), down and out in Tampico, Mexico, impulsively spends his last bit of dough on a lottery ticket. Later on, Dobbs and fellow indigent Curtin (Tim Holt) seek shelter in a cheap flophouse and meet Howard (Walter Huston), a toothless, garrulous old coot who regales them with stories about prospecting for gold. Forcibly collecting their pay from their shifty boss, Dobbs and Curtin combine this money with Dobbs's unexpected windfall from a lottery ticket and, together with Howard, buy the tools for a prospecting expedition. Dobbs has pledged that anything they dig up will be split three ways, but Howard, who's heard that song before, doesn't quite swallow this. As the gold is mined and measured, Dobbs grows increasingly paranoid and distrustful, and the men gradually turn against each other on the way toward a bitterly ironic conclusion. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a superior morality play and one of the best movie treatments of the corrosiveness of greed. Huston keeps a typically light and entertaining touch despite the strong theme, for which he won Oscars for both Director and Screenplay, as well as a supporting award for his father Walter, making Walter, John, and Anjelica Huston the only three generations of one family all to win Oscars. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Humphrey Bogart
as Fred C. Dobbs
Tim Holt
as Curtin
Barton MacLane
as McCormick
Manuel Donde
as El Jefe
Jacqueline Dalya
as Flashy Girl
Robert Blake
as Mexican Boy
Spencer Chan
as Proprietor
John Huston
as White Suit
Harry J. Vejar
as Bartender
Pat Flaherty
as Customer
Clifton Young
as Flophouse Man
Ralph Dunn
as Flophouse Man
Jack Holt
as Flophouse Man
Guillermo Calleo
as Mexican Storekeeper
Ann Sheridan
as Streetwalker
Martin Garralaga
as Railroad Conductor
Ignacio Villabajo
as Mexican Bandit
Roberto Canedo
as Mexican Lieutenant
Ernesto Escoto
as Mexican Bandit
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News & Interviews for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Critic Reviews for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (9)

Transcends the medium to become a mandatory viewing experience for anyone that identifies themselves as a human being, period.

April 20, 2011 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

This is so brilliant that the only real effect of the other versions is to make you want to watch the original again.

April 20, 2009 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

John Huston has rarely been in better form than in this 1948 study of gold fever and worse obsessions among an unlikely trio of prospectors...

July 2, 2007 | Full Review…

There's a quite enjoyable yarn buried under the hollow laughter.

February 9, 2006

Riveting, downbeat, and surprising, a gripping adventure and one of Hollywood's most resonant morality tales… a smart, remorseless story of gold, greed, guns, and guile.

June 14, 2004 | Rating: A+ | Full Review…

The movie has never really been about gold but about character, and Bogart fearlessly makes Fred C. Dobbs into a pathetic, frightened, selfish man -- so sick we would be tempted to pity him, if he were not so undeserving of pity.

January 15, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

John Huston made quite a name for himself back in the day with the simple trick of presenting the story from the antagonist's point-of-view, and we are with him (Bogie as Fred C. Dobbs) as he slowly begins to slide into disconnection all the while clasping onto sanity with all the power at his command. Huston gave the protagonist role to his grudging father (Walter Huston), and you can really see him frame the codger in a favorable light (and see ol'Walt love it), but its Bogie's film (everyone knows) no matter who got the Oscar. Tim Holt does well as the unsung third wheel. The bar fight is an exceptional piece of work in a film loaded with intimate gems of moments, not the least of which is Bogie begging for money.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Walter Huston steals the scene and deserved the Oscar he won, but Bogart was unfairly not even nominated for his phenomenal performance in this classic that is all at once a light adventure, a riveting character study and a powerful morality tale about greed and paranoia.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Two down at heel Americans stranded in the backwaters of Mexico use the last of their money to go searching for gold in the company of grizzled old prospector Walter Huston. Unfortunately when they strike it rich, avarice turns them against each other resulting in deceit and murder. John Huston's classic story of greed is based upon The Pardoner's Tale from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. It's basically a morality story warning of the dangers of greed and how the promise of wealth can blacken a man's heart; in this case Humphrey Bogart in quite possibly his finest performance. Huston is also marvellous as the pragmatic and worldly wise old geezer who predicted everything that occurs to the disbelief of his initially wide eyed and enthusiastic partners. The suspense builds tangibly as the former friends become more and more suspicious of each other, all three at one point or another tempted to stab each other in the back for their share of the goods. It's a brilliant story, expertly told by some of the best in the business and one of the true cinematic greats. One of those films anyone who calls themself a movie buff must surely have on their list.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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