On Dangerous Ground (1952) - Rotten Tomatoes

On Dangerous Ground (1952)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

On Dangerous Ground Photos

Movie Info

Robert Ryan plays Jim Wilson, a tough police detective embittered by years of dealing with low-life urban scum, in Nicholas Ray's moving film noir. After severely beating several suspects, Jim is assigned to a case far from the city to find the killer of a young girl. Joining the manhunt, in snow-covered terrain, Wilson finds himself paired with the victim's father, Walter Brent (Ward Bond), who plans to shoot the killer himself. When the two men come upon a cabin occupied by Mary Malden (Ida Lupino), a blind woman who is also the killer's sister, Wilson's life is changed forever. Mary, a generous and loving person who has cared for her mentally ill brother Danny (Sumner Williams) since the death of their parents, convinces Wilson to protect Danny from Brent. Wilson also promises to get help for Danny if he surrenders to him. Inspired by Mary's courage and recognizing Brent's rage as the mirror image of his own, Wilson gains the insight to free himself from his own blindness. The film includes a memorable score by Alfred Hitchcock favorite Bernard Herrmann. ~ Rovi

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Robert Ryan
as Jim Wilson
Ida Lupino
as Mary Malden
Ward Bond
as Walter Brent
Anthony Ross
as Pete Santos
Ed Begley Sr.
as Capt. Brawley
Ian Wolfe
as Carrey
Sumner Williams
as Danny Malden
Olive Carey
as Mrs. Brent
Pat Prest
as Julie
Ruth Lee
as Helen
W.J. O'Brien
as Hotel Clerk
Nita Talbot
as Woman in Bar
Joe Devlin
as Bartender
Jim Drum
as Stretcher Bearer
Tracey Roberts
as Peggy Santos
Nestor Paiva
as Gabini, Newsdealer
Jimmy Conlin
as Doc Hyman
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Critic Reviews for On Dangerous Ground

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (1)

One of the loveliest of Nick Ray's movies.

October 23, 2007 | Full Review…

It's a film that defies not just genre expectation, but even the expectations it sets up for itself, culminating in a devastating ending where the only comfort left is the possibility of some human connection.

September 23, 2019 | Full Review…

There is a certain kind of beauty that expresses so much in such a short space that no words can capture its essence. All I know is that it stirred the deepest reaches of my soul.

July 11, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Considering the talents of all involved, it ought to be a masterpiece; but genre takes its revenge, and the picture's rhythm never recovers from the unanticipated quiescence of the rural milieu.

August 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Is there a film noir that spends so much time watching the landscape change from the driver's seat of a moving car, and then find the same fury and intolerance is here in the heartland too?

January 28, 2017 | Full Review…

The performances are potent, the direction by Nicholas Ray is suitably moody, and the score by Bernard Herrmann is terrific.

October 29, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for On Dangerous Ground


Atmospheric noir mood piece with excellent work by greats Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino with an evocative score by Bernard Hermann, reportedly his favorite of all his work.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Really interesting Noir from Nicholas Ray. It's sort of the Dusk till Dawn of it's day. It's a picture of two distinct halves. The first a police film. The second a chase. It's easy to see why this film, with it's early use of hand held camera was an inspiration for the French new wave. As Godard said "Nicholas Ray is cinema"

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

A great psychological noir. Completely changes tone in the middle which almost makes watching this film like a double feature.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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