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653 Ratings

The Man with the Golden Arm

Directed by Otto Preminger
United States, 1955
Drama, Crime


A strung-out junkie deals with a demoralizing drug addiction while his crippled wife and card sharks continue to pull him down even further.

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The Man with the Golden Arm Directed by Otto Preminger

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1956 | 3 nominations including: Best Actor in a Leading Role

BAFTA Awards

1957 | 2 nominations including: Best Film from any Source

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

1955 | 2 runner-up prizes including: Best Actor

Critics reviews

A significant film from Preminger’s middle-career, The Man with the Golden Arm is at once emotionally and visually compelling, and efficient and contained; the work of a controlled and assertive director. It features a remarkably assured performance from Frank Sinatra as the central protagonist Frankie Machine, a recently reformed heroin addict who struggles to keep clean after returning from rehab to his home in a grimy Chicago slum.
March 17, 2013
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…The most potent movie among the four considered here is undoubtedly The Man With the Golden Arm. It packs the biggest wallop, and it features what is surely the strongest of all Frank Sinatra’s dramatic performances, as well as the most affecting and glowing of Kim Novak’s.
February 17, 1995
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Frank Sinatra, as the drug-addicted poker dealer, plays a reasonably naturalistic character, but he’s surrounded by a collection of bizarre archetypes (Eleanor Parker as his demanding, crippled girlfriend; Kim Novak as an “entertainer” with a heart of gold) and trapped in one of the most audaciously unreal studio sets ever designed for a Hollywood film.
January 01, 1975
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What are people saying?

  • Dave's rating of the film The Man with the Golden Arm

    It starts off a little too cliche and, quite frankly, boring, but it builds up into a powerhouse Sinatra lead performance. Tension and the inevitability of Frankie Machine's continued downfall begin to pile up, gaining steam toward the finish. A very, very good Preminger film - not quite his best, but close to that level.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film The Man with the Golden Arm

    Tremendous direction by Otto Preminger - one of Hollywood's greatest unsung heroes - both in the art of staging and directing actors, and in pacing the narrative through the latter. Powered by an electrifying score, vigorous supporting performances (namely Darren McGavin) and a screenplay that shows great understanding of human behavior, 'The Man with the Golden Arm' doesn't get nearly as much credit as it should.

  • EdieEmm's rating of the film The Man with the Golden Arm

    Just because that meal was great last week doesn't mean the leftovers are edible today... Once a game changer; now just another pretty noir full of tired moralism. Still, very watchable, and not just because of the luminous Ms. Novak. Plenty of fascinating aspects: That this relatively tepid portrayal of addiction was once so taboo, for one. Or that no one, back then, found the score hilarious. 2.5

  • msmichel's rating of the film The Man with the Golden Arm

    Preminger's take on drug addiction is a performance film of the first order featuring a career best turn by Sinatra, and great support from Novak, McGavin and Eleanor Parker as the mentally disturbed wife. Script by Newman and Meltzer has a gritty authenticity, for the time period, and a memorable score from Bernstein along with strong production values that make up for a convenient ending and obvious back lot locale

  • Sudipto Basu's rating of the film The Man with the Golden Arm

    Even with the taboo-breaking themes the writers could not resist watering down the moral complexity, could they? That said, it is fascinating to see the relationship of the low-and-out junkie with his boss and peddler. The show-stealer is the cinematography: such precision and economy is something to behold.

  • HEDONIST's rating of the film The Man with the Golden Arm

    I missed the lush, crisp and calculated cinematography of the Preminger of the '40s when I first saw this flick... must be the change in the DP... don't know enough about Preminger to know whether or not he usually stayed with the same DPs but wow, the difference in style is staggering... Nevertheless, Sinatra and Novak are great and one cannot deny that the mystique surrounding this film makes it a fun ride...

  • azoulay's rating of the film The Man with the Golden Arm

    Kim Novak est sublime d'élégance, de justesse et de beauté, Sinatra criant de vérité, la mise en scène est parfaite, et voilà le chef d'oeuvre d'un cinéma américain qui savait dépeindre le monde dans sa misère et sa déchéance, je veux dire son propre monde celui d'une Amérique des ratés, des accros, des petits et des perdus. C'est poignant et bouleversant. Great movie , yes Mister Preminger

  • Quattro's rating of the film The Man with the Golden Arm

    What a great movie! Didn't know that back in the '50s it was allowed to represent drug addiction in a way so rough and explicit. The narration moves in circles, slowly increasing the tension from the first to the last scene: it hooked me. Preminger moves the camera with exquisite smoothness, and the jazzy soundtrack is just perfect. I read some cold ratings around here: maybe you're understimating this a bit, fellas.

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