They Live by Night
They Live by Night (1948)

"This boy...and this girl...were never properly introduced to the world we live in." With this superimposed opening title, director Nicholas Ray inaugurates his first feature, They Live by Night. Farley Granger and Cathy… More

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Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: August 1, 1948
DVD Release Date: July 31, 2007
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Variety Staff

There's no attempt at sugarcoating a happy ending, and yarn moves towards its inevitable, tragic climax without compromise.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

A key film noir of the 40s, this was Nicholas Ray's first film as a director (1949), and the freshness of his expressionist-documentary style is still apparent and gripping.

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Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

One of the greatest debut features in movie history.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

Passionate, lyrical, and imaginative, it's a remarkably assured debut, from the astonishing opening helicopter shot that follows the escaped convicts' car to freedom, to the final, inexorably tragic climax.

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Fernando F. Croce

A cinema of anxiety and sensuality, with a streak of instability and a peculiar combination of the folksy and the Cocteau-abstract

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Nick Schager
Slant Magazine

Ray's plaintive artistry lends this weepy noir a melancholic beauty.

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Bosley Crowther
New York Times

Although it -- like others -- is misguided in its sympathies for a youthful crook, this crime-and-compassion melodrama has the virtues of vigor and restraint.

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Emanuel Levy

Nicholas Ray established himself as a major talent to watch with his feature debut, one of the best noirs of the 1940s as well as a lyrical variation on the theme of lovers on the run, splendidly played by Granger and O'Donnell.

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Ray writes and directs with easy assurance, propelling the plot forward to its unbearably doomy, inevitable conclusion.

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More reviews for They Live by Night

Flixster Audience Score: 80% Flixster User Reviews
Jonathan Hutchings
A little too sentimental for my taste, but the film's influence is clearly apparent. Nicolas Ray's sympathy for criminals and of youth culture is on… More
Randy Tippy
Teen angst in the tradition of <i>Rebel Without a Cause</i> but wrapped in the guise of a <i>Bonnie & Clyde</i>-ish crime drama.… More
Stella Dallas
it might be the first film noir i ever saw. anyway i remember it fondly. rip bowie
Ken Stachnik
Mostly Meh. and Farley Granger is wicked miscast extra 1/2 star bonus for the camera work
jay nixon
Solid noir is full of despair but well told and acted with assurance.
Michael Gildea
I was expecting a little bit more than a Bonnie and Clyde, jr. And not so much Bonnie either. With the exception of Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train,… More