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2,087 Ratings

Ace in the Hole

The Big Carnival

Directed by Billy Wilder
United States, 1951
Drama, Film noir


One of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker, Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole stars Kirk Douglas as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter who happens upon the story of a lifetime—and will do anything to ensure he gets the scoop.

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Ace in the Hole Directed by Billy Wilder

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

1951 | Winner: International Award

Academy Awards

1952 | Nominee: Best Writing, Story and Screenplay

National Film Preservation Board

2017 | Winner: National Film Registry

If, in many of his other films, Wilder offset his sardonicism with a sentimentality that allowed for happy endings, no such escape valve exists in Ace in the Hole. The Austrian émigré’s satire of media sensationalism/poison-pen letter to America remains as breathtakingly uncompromising in its cynicism as ever.
May 11, 2016
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Over 60 years after its initially underrated release, the film remains a prickly, hopeless, weirdly pleasurable masterpiece. Cynicism turns director Billy Wilder on, and he has the propulsive talent to ensure that it turns you on too, though he’s too much of an artist to deny the human cost that fuels the various sensations he offers.
May 13, 2014
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By downplaying [the film], Wilder actually underscores the central role contempt and cynicism play in his films. Perhaps Wilder’s most honest work, ACE IN THE HOLE might be a breath of fresh air if it didn’t knock the wind out.
June 07, 2013
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