Bad Day at Black Rock

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Bad Day at Black Rock is a 1955 American neo-western movie with a runtime of 81 minutes. Distributed by MGM, it is a Dore Schary production directed by John Sturges. The screenplay is based on Bad Time at Honda, a 1947 short story by Howard Breslin which was published in The American Magazine. The original screenplay was written by Millard Kaufman, later adapted by Don McGuire.

Filming began in July 1954 and the film went on national release in America on 7 January 1955. It was a box office success, grossing $3,788,000 over a budget of $1,288,000, and was nominated in three categories at the 28th Academy Awards in 1956. In 2018, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

The film stars Spencer Tracy and Robert Ryan with support from Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, John Ericson, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin. The cinematography was by William C. Mellor, editing by Newell P. Kimlin and the music by André Previn. The cast was small but included three past (Brennan, Jagger, Tracy) and two future (Borgnine, Marvin) Academy Award winners, one past Academy Award nominee (Ryan), and one future Golden Globe winner (Francis).

The setting is a remote location in the Arizona desert where a small town called Black Rock has a seldom-used railway halt. Although the film is a crime drama set in 1945 just after the end of the Second World War, it is in effect a revisionist western. The plot concerns a one-armed stranger (Tracy) who arrives by rail and uncovers an evil secret that has corrupted the entire community.