Sweet Smell of Success
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

J.J. Hunsecker, a powerful New York newspaper columnist, is dead set against his sister's marrying a jazz musician. Sidney Falco, a sleazy PR man, will do anything to get publicity for his clients, and he sees Hunsecker's situation… More

Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: June 27, 1957
DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
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Critic Score: 98% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

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.

TIME Magazine

Sweet Smell, which could have been offal, is raised to considerable dramatic heights by intense acting, taut direction (by Alexander Mackendrick), [and] superb camera work (by James Wong Howe).

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Chris Auty
Time Out

The screen was rarely so dark or cruel.

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Wendy Ide
Times (UK)

New York never looked as thrillingly sordid as it does in this scabrous masterpiece.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

Mackendrick's nighthawk landscape is compellingly, poetically bleak.

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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News

A lean, mean amorality tale that still goes down like a cookie laced with arsenic.

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Cole Smithey

[VIDEO ESSAY] Here lies the defective foundation of the American Dream as viewed from an implicitly American viewpoint - Bert Lancaster's company produced the film.

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Variety Staff

James Hill's production, locationed in Manhattan, captures the feel of Broadway and environs after dark.

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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer

The main incentive to see this movie is its witty, pungent and idiomatic dialogue, such as you never hear on the screen anymore in this age of special-effects illiteracy.

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Wesley Lovell
Cinema Sight

A meandering drama about the lure of success and the ignominious aggression of defeat.

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More reviews for Sweet Smell of Success

Flixster Audience Score: 92% Flixster User Reviews
Kevin M. Williams
A double-barrelled shotgun in the face of celebrity press and American societal values itself, the film snaps, crackles, and pops with its depiction of a… More
xGary Xx
This pitch black hearted noir was something of a flop on its release, and it's not difficult to see why. Not through lack of quality, but rather the fact… More
Tim Salmons
The word tense doesn't even begin to describe Alexander Mackendrick's psychologically unsettling masterpiece Sweet Smell of Success. Carrying perhaps… More
Jennifer Xu
The codependency of JJ and Falco is one for the books, that slimy, gritty animalistic relationship of prey and predator, agent and sellout - almost homoerotic… More
jay nixon
About as hard edged as a movie can be. As a look at a group of venal people it can't be beat but this is a very loathsome group so spending any time with… More
Reid Volk
A fairly straightforward but well acted film about the dark side of those crazed by the "sweet smell of success." In an attempt to secure a name for… More