The House on Carroll Street (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

The House on Carroll Street (1988)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Yes, there are commies under the bed. But are there Nazis there too? Emily Crane (Kelly McGillis) is a modestly successful Life photo editor living in 1950s New York, until she is called before the Senate Un-American Activities Committee to testify about her "communist" associations. When she refuses to divulge the names of friends in her civil liberties group, she loses her employment and her friends. In desperation, she takes a job reading books for Miss Venable, a somewhat crotchety lady (Jessica Tandy) who lives in a quiet residential neighborhood. Then, while taking a break in Miss Venable's back yard, Emily overhears something from the house behind that compels her to investigate and leads her eventually to conclude that it is the headquarters of a group smuggling in ex-Nazi scientists for some mysterious purpose. Meanwhile, she is being harassed by two FBI men, on behalf of the Senate Committee, as well as by a sinister, McCarthyite, Senate investigator named Salwen (Mandy Patinkin). One of the FBI men, Cochran (Jeff Daniels), takes a liking to Emily and humors her by agreeing to investigate her suspicions. This quiet mystery is a nostalgia piece. It's '50s backgrounds are authentic and the plot device -- an innocent becoming entangled in an unbelievable conspiracy -- is closer to one of Hitchcock's masterpieces of that period (e.g., North by Northwest) than to Reservoir Dogs or Speed. The people seem to be from a simpler time, too, when the distinction between good and evil was clearer. Emily shines with idealistic integrity and the naive Cochran is so honest that he finds it impossible to deceive the target of his investigation. There is even a terrifying, "acrophobe's nightmare" scene played out in a dome high above Grand Central Station. For those tired of endless shoot-em-ups and car chases, this is the mystery to choose.

Watch it now


Kelly McGillis
as Emily Crane
Jeff Daniels
as Cochran
Mandy Patinkin
as Ray Salwen
Jessica Tandy
as Miss Venable
Remak Ramsay
as Senator Byington
Melba LaRose
as Receptionist
Paul Sparer
as Randolph Slote
Charles McCaughan
as Salwen Aide
Bill Moor
as Dr. Teperson
Randle Mell
as Salwen Aide
Patricia Falkenhain
as Woman In The House
Frederick Rolf
as FBI Director
Anna Berger
as Funeral Woman
Alexis Yulin
as Sackadorf
Trey Wilson
as Lt. Sloan
William Duff-Griffin
as FBI Librarian
George Ede
as Conductor
J.J. Barry
as Barber
Boris Leskin
as Hurwitz
Marat Yusim
as Bistrong
James Rebhorn
as The Official
John Randolph Jones
as Agent Simpson
David Hart
as Stage Manager
Maeve McGuire
as Mrs. Byington
Suzanne Slade
as Senator Byington's Daughter
Todd de Freitas
as Senator Byington's Son
Gregory Jbara
as Office Boy
Skip Rose
as Sloan's Partner
Frank Patton
as Sergeant
Polly O'Malley
as Manicurist
Maureen Moore
as Manicurist
Alice Drummond
as Woman at Hearing
Tony Carreiro
as Xanthias
Daniel Mills
as Bartender
James Babchak
as Salwen Aide in Senate Hearing
Stephen Gleason
as Man at Theater Bar
Christopher Cusack
as Theater-goer
Elizabeth A. Reilly
as Theater-goer
Gaylord C. Mason
as Theater Manager
View All

Critic Reviews for The House on Carroll Street

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

There is a kind of movie sequence which Alfred Hitchcock always did well, and which most later directors have chosen not to do at all.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Probes the moral issues involved in recruiting former Nazis to secure America's scientific lead over the Russians in the Cold War.

August 28, 2004 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The House on Carroll Street


I've always liked Kelly McGillis (Witness and Top Gun come to mind), so I had to watch this movie. The House on Carroll Street' is a slow-paced mystery, where the most excitement is Kelly and the bad guy crawling along the wall 10 stories up in Grand Central station. It is pretty bad if the 1950's United States of America "officially" accepted Nazis as immigrants in order for them to work on developing weapons.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer


This is an awesome movie that I never heard about when it was released in 1988, due to being out of the country and movie watching was very limited. Kelly McGills who was my heartthrob in Witness, and who played in Top Gun, played the role of Emily Crane in this later movie, and she was excellent and convincing. On the other hand Jeff Daniels its hard to place him anywhere else then Dumb & Dumber. This movie is time set right after WWII and a high political official is helping smuggle Nazi war criminals into the United States and Emily discovers this and with the help of a Stray FBI officer she tries to put an end to it. This was a very enjoyable film. 4 1/2 stars.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

A passable movie that has not aged well.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

The House on Carroll Street Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features