The Maltese Falcon

Released 1941


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Movie Summary

John Huston (I)
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The Maltese Falcon is a classic 1941 film starring screen-legend Humphrey Bogart (The African Queen, Casablanca). The movie's plot focuses on San Francisco private investigator Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart). Spade and his partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) meet a client named Miss Ruth Wonderly (Mary Astor). Wonderly claims that she is searching for her missing sister and hires Archer to follow a man named Thurby to get information about her sister. While following Thurby that night, Archer is shot dead. Detective Spade had an affair with Archer's wife Iva (Gladys George), and as a result the police label Spade the number one suspect in Archer's murder. Spade attempts to reach Miss Wonderly, but, mysteriously, she is nowhere to be found. Spade is thrust into a web of deceptions that all point in one direction: a Maltese statue of a falcon. Based on the novel by Dashiel Hammet, The Maltese Falcon was written for the screen and directed by John Huston.


Metacritic Score

  • 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    On a number of accounts it is distinguished celluloid entertainment, but it is of great interest to the trade because it reveals, in startling terms, the unheralded talent of topfl...

  • 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The movie is essentially a series of conversations punctuated by brief, violent interludes. It's all style. It isn't violence or chases, but the way the actors look, move, speak an...

  • 88

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    With Hammett's dialogue incorporated virtually verbatim into the screenplay, Bogart in top form, and Huston allowed total directorial freedom, watching this first of the films noir...

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • This was the third film version of Dashiell Hammett's novel in ten years. In 1931, there was a straightforward but critically-disliked version starring Ricardo Cortez, whilst in 1936, there was an elaborately-disguised remake retitled Satan Met A Lady. This version, directed by William Dieterle, left out the falcon entirely (the object being sought was transformed into an antique hunting-horn), renamed several characters and gave the emphasis to the Brigid O'Shaughnessy character, now renamed "Valerie Purvis" and played by Bette Davis.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (0)


More Info About This Movie


treasure hunt, ruthless killing, judicial justice, high stake situations, gunfights