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Bad Day at Black Rock Details


This powerfully tense, fast-paced suspense drama also yields a grim social message about racial prejudice. Spencer Tracy is John J. MacReedy, a one-armed stranger who comes to the tiny town of Black Rock one hot summer day in 1945, the first time the train has stopped there in years. He looks for both a hotel room and a local Japanese farmer named Komoko, but his inquiries are greeted at first with open hostility, then with blunt threats and harassment, and finally with escalating violence. MacReedy soon realizes that he will not be allowed to leave Black Rock; town boss Reno Smith (Robert Ryan), who had Komoko killed because of his hatred of the Japanese, has also marked MacReedy for death. MacReedy must battle town thugs, a treacherous local woman (Anne Francis), and finally Smith himself to stay alive. The entire cast is flawless, especially Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin as the mean-spirited town bullies, and the relentlessly paced action never eclipses the film's sobering themes. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi

  • Release date:January 7, 1955


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Millard Kaufman Best Screenplay 1955 Nominee
Cannes Film Festival Spencer Tracy International Prize- Best Actor 1955 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Spencer Tracy Best Actor 1955 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts John Sturges Best Film - Any Source 1955 Nominee
Directors Guild of America John Sturges Best Director 1955 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences John Sturges Best Director 1955 Nominee


Spencer Tracy
as John J. Macreedy
Robert Ryan
as Reno Smith
Anne Francis
as Liz Wirth
Dean Jagger
as Tim Horn
Walter Brennan
as Doc Velie
Ernest Borgnine
as Coley Trimble
John Ericson
as Pete Wirth
Lee Marvin
as Hector David
Russell Collins
as Mr. Hastings
Walter Sande
as Sam


John Sturges
Dore Schary
Howard Breslin
Book Author
Don McGuire
Millard Kaufman
William C. Mellor
Andre Previn
Composer (Music Score)
Cedric Gibbons
Art Director
Edwin B. Willis
Set Designer
Joel Freeman
First Assistant Director