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965 Ratings

The Man with the Golden Arm

Directed by Otto Preminger
United States, 1955
Drama, Crime
  • English
  • English, Dutch


When illegal card dealer and recovering heroin addict Frankie gets out of prison, he decides to straighten up. Armed with nothing but an old drum set, Frankie tries to get honest work as a drummer. But Frankie finds it hard to stay clean without succumbing to his old habits.

Our take

Besides making masterpiece after masterpiece, in the 1950s Austrian emigre auteur Otto Preminger was known for pushing the envelope of American censorship. Try this one on for size: Frank Sinatra as a drug addict! Impeccably fluid filmmaking, a legendary performance, and an unforgettable score.

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.
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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