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The Stranger (1946)

HD   NR Closed Captioning

Orson Welles

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About the Movie

Orson Welles directs and plays a college professor named Charles Rankin, who lives in a pastoral Connecticut town with his lovely wife Mary (Loretta Young). One afternoon, an extremely nervous German gentleman named Meineke arrives in town. Professor Rankin seems disturbed—but not unduly so—by Meineke's presence. He invites the stranger for a walk in the woods, and as they journey farther and farther away from the center of town, we learn that kindly professor Rankin is actually notorious Nazi war criminal Franz Kindler. Conscience-stricken by his own genocidal wartime activities, Meineke has come to town to beg his ex-superior Kindler to give himself up. The professor responds by brutally murdering his old associate. If Kindler believes himself safe—and he has every reason to do so, since no one in town, especially Mary, has any inkling of his previous life—he will change his mind in a hurry when mild-mannered war crimes commissioner Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) pays a visit, posing as an antiques dealer.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 23
  • Fresh: 22
  • Rotten: 1
  • Average Rating: 7.6/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Adroitly directed by Orson Welles, who also plays the star, it is a grade A gooseflesh-raiser. – TIME Magazine, Mar 12, 2013

Fresh: The Stranger is socko melodrama, spinning an intriguing web of thrills and chills. – Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: Orson Welles's 1946 film reproduces his personal themes of self-scrutiny and self-destruction only in outline, though it is an inventive, highly enjoyable thriller. – Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: As distinctively Wellesian as Citizen Kane. – Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine, Jul 27, 2007

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Welles wanted Agnes Moorehead for the Edward G. Robinson part

I like the mood of some of the scenes in this, a walk in the woods here, an edgy monologue in close-up there, and there are only a handful of legitimate releases of films Welles directed or was in before he was 40, so I'll take this. And tell me why Kane isn't on iTunes?