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Ernest Hemingway’s gripping short story “The Killers” has fascinated readers and filmmakers for generations. Its first screen incarnation came in 1946, when director Robert Siodmak unleashed The Killers, helping to define the film noir style and launching the careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner in this archetypal masterpiece. In 1956, then-film student Andrei Tarkovsky tackled the story with a faithful 19-minute short. In 1964, Don Siegel—initially slated to direct the 1946 version—took it on, creating the first-ever made-for-TV feature, which would prove too violent for American audiences in the wake of JFK’s assassination. The Criterion Collection presents all three versions of this classic tale of amorality that asks why a man would silently welcome his fate with the passivity of a man already dead.

The Killers
Robert Siodmak 1946

The first screen incarnation of Ernest Hemingway’s short story “The Killers” came in 1946, when director Robert Siodmak unleashed The Killers, helping to define the film noir style and launching the careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.

The Killers
Don Siegel 1964

Ernest Hemingway’s short story “The Killers” has fascinated readers and filmmakers for generations. In 1964, Don Siegel—initially slated to direct the 1946 version—took it on, creating the first-ever made-for-TV feature.

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Special Features

The Killers (1946)

Beautiful new digital transfer
Andrei Tarkovsky’s student film version of The Killers
Video interview with writer Stuart M. Kaminsky (Don Siegel: Director)
Screen Director’s Playhouse 1949 radio adaptation, starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters
Actor Stacy Keach (Mike Hammer) reads Hemingway’s short story
Production and publicity stills with actor biographies, rare behind-the-scenes stills gallery, original press book and ads
Collection of trailers for Robert Siodmak films
Writer/director Paul Schrader’s seminal 1972 essay “notes on film noir”
Notes by Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn)
Music and effects track
English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition


The Killers (1964)
Gleaming new digital transfer
Reflections with Clu Gulager, star of the 1964 version
Excerpts from A Siegel Film pertaining to the making of the movie
Production correspondence including memos from Don Siegel, broadcasting standards reports and casting suggestions
Production and publicity stills with actor biographies, rare behind-the-scenes stills gallery, and advertisements
Notes by Geoffrey O’Brien (Hardboiled America: Lurid Paperbacks and the Masters of Noir)
English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

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CC176 Killers: '46 & '64 Versions DVD (1964/Lee Marvin/1946/Burt Lancaster) $39.95 $35.99