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The Maltese Falcon

1941 motion picture starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor and Sydney Greenstreet.

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Bizaare tale surrounding one man's quest for the long lost Golden Falcon.

  • Feb 1, 2009
  • by
John Huston's debut as a director is a gem.  In fact, "The Maltese Falcon" has been included on many lists as one of the greatest films of all-time.  Humprhey Bogart stars as detective Samuel Spade who along with his partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) are engaged by the stunningly beautiful Ruth Wonderly (Mary Astor) to assist her in locating her sister.  But Wunderly has completely misrepresented her situation to the boys and is involved in something far more sinister.  Miles Archer is shot dead that same night and now Spade finds himself totally enmeshed in a bizarre tale of murder and intrigue.  Although the plot can be a bit difficult to follow at times the film is highly entertaining nonetheless.  The cast is extraordinary with outstanding performances by Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet and Ward Bond to mention just a few.  

If you enjoy a good mystery then "The Maltese Falcon" will command your attention from start to finish.  My wife and I watched the film on an old VCR tape that we taped off AMC years ago.  Happily in 1989  "The Maltese Falcon" was selected  for preservation by the National Film Registry.   A new DVD package featuring the fully restored film replete with the original theatrical trailer was released in 2006.   It is also worth noting the "The Maltese Falcon" is generally considered to be the very first of the genre known as film noir.     Very highly recommended.   
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September 12, 2009
Great review. I'm ashamed to say that I've never seen this movie (though I have heard great things about it). I'm putting it on my to-watch list. I can't get enough of Humphrey Bogart.
More The Maltese Falcon reviews
review by . July 17, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
There are so many archetypes in this film because it is based on one of several books written by Dashiell Hammett who invested detective fiction with so many innovations of his own. The result is a delightful film in which private investigator Sam Spade (Bogart) attempts to answer a series of questions which somehow seem much more important to him than they do to those who see this film. The screenplay is based on one of Hammett's novels and was written by John Huston. This is also the first film …
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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #6
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on I never could … more
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About this movie


The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film written and directed by John Huston, based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett, and starring Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam Spade, Mary Astor as his femme fatale client, Sydney Greenstreet in his film debut, and Peter Lorre. The film was Huston's directorial debut and was nominated for three Academy Awards.

The story concerns the entanglement of a San Francisco private investigator with three greedy, unscrupulous and murderous adventurers who compete with each other to obtain a fabulous jewel-encrusted statuette of a falcon worth millions.

The Maltese Falcon has been named as one of the greatest films of all time by Roger Ebert,[1] and Entertainment Weekly,[2] and was cited by Panorama du Film Noir Américain, the French book that coined the term film noir, as the first film of that genre.[3]

The film premiered on October 3, 1941 in New York City and in 1989 was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.[4]

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Director: John Huston
Release Date: October 3, 1941
Screen Writer: John Huston, Dashiell Hammett
DVD Release Date: February 15, 2000
Runtime: 101 minutes
Studio: Warner Brothers
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