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Key Largo

Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Huston
Produced by Jerry Wald
Written by Maxwell Anderson (play),
Richard Brooks,
John Huston
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Edward G. Robinson
Lauren Bacall
Lionel Barrymore
Claire Trevor
Marc Lawrence
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Karl Freund
Editing by Rudi Fehr
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) July 16, 1948
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Key Largo is a 1948 crime film starring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, and Claire Trevor. This was the fourth and final film pairing of married actors Bogart and Bacall. Trevor won the 1948 Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance.

The movie was adapted from Maxwell Anderson's 1939 play and directed by John Huston.



Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) visits a small backwater Key Largo hotel run by wheelchair-bound James Temple (Lionel Barrymore) and his daughter-in-law Nora (Lauren Bacall), the widow of Frank's World War II friend. The hotel has been temporarily taken over by notorious fugitive gangster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) and his gang, with a hurricane headed Key Largo's way.

Frank at first appears indifferent to the situation, but Rocco's treatment of his alcoholic mistress Gaye (Claire Trevor) and his hand in the murder of two local Indians and a police officer convince Frank that Rocco must be stopped. His chance comes when Rocco forces Frank to pilot the boat by which the gang intends to escape to Cuba. Once at sea, with no hostages to worry about, Frank is able to kill every member of the gang, one by one, Rocco last of all. Frank then returns to Nora.

The subplot turns on Temple's grief over his dead son; he is under the impression that his son died a hero in Italy. McCloud resists telling tales, but at Mr. Temple's urging he relates exactly the story Mr. Temple and the widow Nora want to hear, although it is apparent that McCloud was the actual hero. Nora later says as much: "Only he had it the other way around; it was you on that hill." The climactic, shoot-out scene on the boat is a symbolic recasting of the wartime incident.


Differences from the play

In the play, the gangsters are Mexican bandidos, the war in question is the Spanish Civil War, and Frank is a disgraced deserter who dies at the end.


One claim is that much of the film was shot on location at the Caribbean Club on Key Largo in southern Florida.[1]However, the painted sky backdrop on the far side of the tank used in the water shots, distorted perspective of the painted background representing the shore in other shots and the visible wires holding up miniature palm trees during the storm sequence make it clear this was not shot on location.

Robinson had always had top billing over Bogart in their previous films together. For this one, Robinson's name appears to the right of Bogart's, but placed a little higher on the posters, and also in the film opening credits, to indicate Robinson's near-equal status. Robinson's image was also markedly larger and centered on the original poster. In the film's trailer, Bogart is repeatedly mentioned first but Robinson's name is listed above Bogart's in a cast list at the very end.

Exterior shots of the hurricane that delays the gang's getaway were actually taken from stock footage used in Night Unto Night, a Ronald Reagan melodrama made the same year by Warner Bros.

Cultural references

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Key Largo is a 1948 film about a veteran soldier who visits the family of an army buddy killed in the war, only to find that their Key West hotel has been taken over by a bunch of exiled gangsters who are orchestrating their own comeback.

Directed by John Huston. Written by Maxwell Anderson, Richard Brooks and John Huston.
A cast as explosive as its story!


Frank McCloud

  • You don't like it, do you Rocco, the storm? Show it your gun, why don't you? If it doesn't stop, shoot it.
  • When your head says one thing and your whole life says another, your head always loses.
  • One Rocco more or less isn't worth dying for!

Johnny Rocco

  • After living in the USA for more than thirty-five years they called me an undesirable alien. Me. Johnny Rocco. Like I was a dirty Red or something!
  • You'd give your left arm to nail me wouldn't you? I could see the headlines now, 'Local Deputy Captures Johnny Rocco'. Your picture'd be in all the papers. You might even get to tell on the newsreels how you pulled if off, yeah. Listen hick, I was too much for any big city police force to handle. It took the United States Government to pin a rap on me. And they won't make it stick. You hick, I'll be back pulling strings to get guys elected mayor and governor before you get a ten buck raise.

Nora Temple

  • Charlie! Charlie Winook and his family, Crawfish Island. Charlie's a prince of the Seminole Nation. His ancestors go back to the gods. He sells sea shells by the sea shore.


Edward "Toots" Bass: I say smack her and let it go at that.


James Temple: Are you thieves or what? You want money, is this a robbery?
Toots: Yeah, Pop, we're gonna steal all your towels.

Ralph Feeney: Hey Curly, what all happens in a hurricane?
Richard "Curly" Hoff: The wind blows so hard the ocean gets up on its hind legs and walks right across the land.
Toots: And singin' this song: Rain rain, go away, little Ralphie wants to play.


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