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The Desperate Hours

Country: USA

Genre: Drama



Three escaped felons randomly target a suburban house to hide out in until midnight, at which time an accomplice is to deliver them money. They take the entire family hostage - but midnight comes and goes without a delivery. As their stay extends from hours into days, homeowner Dan Hilliard complies with the felons' demands in order to protect his wife and their two children - 19-year-old Cindy and 9-year-old Ralphie - whilst trying to plot an escape from the desperate situation.


  • Based on the 1955 play of the same name, which was in turn based on the bestselling 1954 novel of the same name by American writer Joseph Hayes (1918-2004). Hayes' novel was inspired by actual events. In 1952 a family were taken hostage for 19 hours in their own home in Pennsylvania by three escaped convicts. In contrast to the story portrayed in the play and the film, however, the family members were treated with dignity by the hostage-takers and the incident ended peacefully with the three convicts being re-apprehended.
  • The house used in exterior shots in this film would become the same one which appeared in later seasons of the classic American television series Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963). It would also be used in the sitcom American Housewife (2016-????).
Picture for The Desperate Hours


  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Fredric March
  • Martha Scott
  • Mary Murphy
  • Richard Eyer
    (Ralphie Hilliard)
  • Arthur Kennedy

BoyActors Reviews

3 member reviews/ratings for this Movie

Average and Weighted Ratings are only available once a Movie has received at least 5 ratings

Most recent review listed first

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My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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Movie was remade in 1990 with Danny Gerard as the boy.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 10
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A quality film noir, with a phenomenal performance from Eyer who shines even alongside the luminaries in the rest of the cast. You may find yourself yelling at the screen as Papa Hilliard bumbles and fumbles his way through escape and rescue efforts, but that's all part of the fun.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Page Last Modified: 25th March 2022
Page Added: 20th November 2018

Page Views: 1744

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