The Fallen Idol
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Adapted from the Graham Greene story The Basement Room, director Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol is told almost completely from a child's eye view-but it isn't a children's story. Young Bobby Henrey idolizes household butler Ralph Richardson. Therefore, when it seems as though Richardson might be implicated in a murder, Bobby does his best to throw the police off the track. The boy succeeds only in casting even more suspicion upon Richardson. As the story progresses, Henrey's hero worship is eroded by Richardson's shifty behavior, and even more so when the boy discovers… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Masterful 1948 suspense thriller."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"An indelible portrait of childhood's confusions, disillusionments and inevitable lost innocence."
‑ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"... one of the great films of innocence lost and a powerful portrait of the powerlessness of children in the adult world, where they are so often ignored or discounted."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online
"Watching The Fallen Idol is like setting off one of those milelong mazes of dominoes, with ramps and loop-de-loops and sheer drops. First, every element is ingeniously set up; then, everything falls into place."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Reed and Greene build unbearable tension, with the nifty trick of showing events both as they happen and as little Philippe interprets (and occasionally misinterprets) them."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
"As a portrait of the sometime destructiveness of innocence and as a sharp fresco of post-war Britain, this movie is a little masterpiece, an idol that has never fallen."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"Remains one of those classics that makes you thankful you haven't seen them all."
‑ Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post
"It's a gripping mystery story involving adult secrets, childhood lies and betrayal as part of the human equation."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Many themes are tragic, but Fallen Idol also extols the resilience of innocence."
‑ Jeffrey Westhoff, Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
"A marvel of postwar British skill with a frisson of Gallic flavor."
‑ David Elliott, San Diego Union-Tribune
"It's a masterful and unsentimental child's-eye view of the cold, hard adult world."
‑ Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News
"A Hitchcockian thriller with human conundrums to go with the suspense."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"separates itself from what would otherwise be a rather rote drama/thriller."
‑ Christopher Null,
"This earlier pairing between the two masters is another well-crafted and thought-provoking film. And it makes you wish that Reed and Greene had teamed for more than just three films."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"A superbly subtle thriller that represents director Carol Reed and British Tradition of Quality (in black and white) at their very best. It's hard to think of another tale that captures a child's awakening disillusionment in a more perceptive way."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
More reviews for The Fallen Idol on Rotten Tomatoes