Bad Day at Black Rock 

Drama | English | 81 minutes


In late 1945, John J. Macreedy steps off a train in the dusty, isolated town of Black Creek in the California desert. The train has not made a stop at Black Creek in four years. The town residents are immediately suspicious as to why this stranger came to their town. The hotel clerk at first refuses to give him a room. The town tough, Coley Trimble provokes a bar room fight with Macreedy. Upon hearing that Macreedy is looking for Komoko, a Japanese farmer, the town leader Reno Smith aims to stop Macreedy from continuing his search. Macreedy has come to give Komoko the medal he earned for heroics during World War II. But Reno Smith and his  accomplices fear their secret of what happened to Komoko will be revealed. Reno Smith determines that stronger measures must be taken to stop Macreedy.     

Spencer Tracy (John J. Macreedy) / Robert Ryan (Reno Smith) / Ernest Borgnine (Coley Trimble)
Why Stream This Film?
 Bad Day at Black Rock is one of the first films made after World War II that recognized the discrimination of heroic Japanese Americans who fought with the Americans against Nazi Germany. Novelist John O’Hara hailed it as “one of the finest motion pictures ever made.”
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 97%
  • Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Spencer Tracy); Best Director (John Sturges); Best Screenplay (Millard Kaufman)
  • Cannes Film Festival: Winner, Best Actor (Spencer Tracy)
  • National Board of Review: Listed, Top Ten Films of the Year
  • Bad Day at Black Rock was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Considerable excitement is whipped up in this suspenseful drama. Fans who go for tight action will find it entirely satisfactory. Besides telling a yarn of tense suspense, the film is concerned with a social message on civic complacency.
Variety staff


The menace of the swaggering desert roughnecks is creeping and cold. And the battle Mr. Tracy puts up to save his hide is dramatically taut. It is obvious that not only valor but justice must prevail.
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

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