Panic in the Streets

Panic in the Streets

Elia Kazan (1950)

A Certificate


Our Score
Shot on location on the New Orleans waterfront, this tense drama might have seemed an unusual choice for director Elia Kazan. Yet, given the mood of xenophobia that prevailed in the United States at the time, the storyline - the killing of an illegal immigrant results in a potential plague outbreak - is very much in keeping with Kazan's preoccupation with racism as demonstrated in Gentleman's Agreement and Pinky. Richard Widmark gives one of his more restrained performances as the health inspector teaming up with cop Paul Douglas to apprehend the plague-infected murderers, compellingly played by Jack Palance and Zero Mostel, who was himself hounded during the Communist witch-hunt the following year.


A gangster murders an illegal immigrant during a card game on the docks of New Orleans. A doctor is alarmed to discover the victim was ill with pneumonic plague, and must turn detective and trace the killer quickly to halt the contagion. If he fails, there will be pandemonium as the terrified population flees the city. Thriller, starring Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes, Jack Palance and Zero Mostel.

Cast & Crew

Clinton Reed Richard Widmark
Police Captain Tom Warren Paul Douglas
Nancy Reed Barbara Bel Geddes
Blackie Jack Palance
Raymond Fitch Zero Mostel
Neff Dan Riss
John Mefaris Alexis Minotis
Poldi Guy Thomajan
Vince Poldi Tommy Cook
Jordan Edward Kennedy
Cook H T Tsiang
Kochak Lewis Charles
Captain Beauclyde Emile Meyer
Director Elia Kazan
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Co. LtdAvailable on: DVD and Blu-ray