Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity

Billy Wilder (1944)

PG Certificate


Our Score
This classic thriller from director Billy Wilder is one of the best-loved examples of film noir ever made. Based on a short story by James M Cain (author of The Postman Always Rings Twice), and with a crackling screenplay co-written by Raymond Chandler, it follows definitive femme fatale Barbara Stanwyck as she seduces insurance salesman Fred MacMurray into doing away with her husband to claim his life insurance. But dogged claims investigator Edward G Robinson smells a rat. Wilder keeps the sexual tension tight and displays a mastery of visualisation on key plot points. Some may find Stanwyck less sexy than her character should be, but that's a minor quibble when the dialogue's as good as this: "I loved you and I hated him, but I didn't do anything about it 'til you came along." Wilder was nominated for an Oscar, as was John F Seitz's cinematography and Miklos Rozsa's atmospheric score. In the best actress category, Stanwyck lost out to Ingrid Bergman for Gaslight.


An insurance salesman has an affair with the wife of a client, who persuades him to help kill her husband for the policy he has arranged. While the plan is successful, one of the salesman's colleagues suspects foul play. Billy Wilder's thriller, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray and Edward G Robinson. Co-scripted by Raymond Chandler from the novel by James M Cain.

Cast & Crew

Walter Neff Fred MacMurray
Phyllis Dietrichson Barbara Stanwyck
Barton Keyes Edward G Robinson
Mr Jackson Porter Hall
Lola Dietrichson Jean Heather
Mr Dietrichson Tom Powers
Nino Zachette Byron Barr
Mr Norton Richard Gaines
Sam Gorlopis Fortunio Bonanova
Joe Pete John Philliber
Secretary Bess Flowers
Director Billy Wilder
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: BFIGuidance: Some violence. Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 11 Nov 2005