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Sweet Smell of Success

Released Jun 27, 1957 1h 36m Drama List
98% Tomatometer 61 Reviews 91% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings
New York City newspaper writer J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) holds considerable sway over public opinion with his Broadway column, but one thing that he can't control is his younger sister, Susan (Susan Harrison), who is in a relationship with aspiring jazz guitarist Steve Dallas (Marty Milner). Hunsecker strongly disproves of the romance and recruits publicist Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) to find a way to split the couple, no matter how ruthless the method. Read More Read Less
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Sweet Smell of Success

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Critics Consensus

Sweet Smell of Success boasts a top-notch cast, sharp direction, atmospheric cinematography, and an appropriately jazzy score, making it one of the best noir crime thrillers ever made.

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Critics Reviews

View All (61) Critics Reviews
SMH Staff Sydney Morning Herald Despite some shrill overstatements that remind one that Clifford Odets had a hand in the screenplay, the film is a highly successful product of what might be called the "New York School" of filmmaking. Nov 17, 2021 Full Review Brandon Judell indieWire That Clifford Odets co-wrote the screenplay explains the film's continued ability to fascinate, but not why it was made into a current musical. Jun 15, 2021 Full Review Mae Tinee Chicago Tribune It's a tough tale about utterly amoral people. I thought the ending rather weak bet for most of the footage the film packs plenty of punch. Aug 10, 2020 Full Review Josh Larsen LarsenOnFilm Curtis is like oil and oil... Rated: 3/4 Jan 18, 2024 Full Review Roger Moore Movie Nation The look is as lurid as black and white cinematography ever got...The music is jazz at its sleaziest -- brassy, brazen, squawking in protest to be heard over the din of the dialogue. And those words pure poetry, straight from pens dipped in poison. Rated: 4/4 Jul 26, 2023 Full Review Keith Garlington Keith & the Movies There is nothing redeeming and respectable about its cruel and shameless lead characters. But in terms of wickedly smart and thoroughly compelling filmmaking, “Sweet Smell” is top of the line. Rated: 4.5/5 Aug 25, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (536) audience reviews
Steve D I didn't find myself caring what happened to anyone involved. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 04/09/24 Full Review Christian K Great performances and dialogue but the plot is drab enough that it didn't really grab me. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/18/24 Full Review harwee h Burt Lancasert. Fantastic as always. Tony Curtis, not so much. I don't buy this actor in anything. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/10/24 Full Review John H Great movie. Lancaster and Curtis are such fun slimes Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/10/24 Full Review Tim M Steeped in mood and featuring an iconic turn from Tony Curtis, Sweet Smell of Success realizes its title as one of the last great film noirs. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/13/24 Full Review JJJJJJ J Unconventional yet engaging plot that has something to say about American society. This film does so much right it is hard to criticize. It works on every level, first as an engaging thriller, second as a conduit to say something bigger about the way we interact with each other on a social level, and third to critic the wider American Society at the time. Imo these are the movies that should be told in film school. The mise-en-scene of the story is all put in place to support and help the story shine, done so well you forget its even there truly beautiful. A movie that deserves more credit and publicity then it gets, truly great, I'd recommend it to as many people as I can. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 11/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Sweet Smell of Success

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis New York City newspaper writer J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) holds considerable sway over public opinion with his Broadway column, but one thing that he can't control is his younger sister, Susan (Susan Harrison), who is in a relationship with aspiring jazz guitarist Steve Dallas (Marty Milner). Hunsecker strongly disproves of the romance and recruits publicist Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) to find a way to split the couple, no matter how ruthless the method.
Director
Alexander Mackendrick
Producer
James Hill
Screenwriter
Ernest Lehman, Clifford Odets
Distributor
United Artists, MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc.
Production Co
Norma Productions, Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Jun 27, 1957, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
Apr 29, 2017
Runtime
1h 36m
Sound Mix
Mono
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