The Bad Seed Overview:

The Bad Seed (1956) was a Drama - Horror Film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Mervyn LeRoy.


A suspenseful thriller about a mother who slowly comes to the ghastly conclusion that her eight-year-old daughter is responsible for a string of brutal murders. Kelly was awarded an Oscar nomination for her strong portrayal of a woman who also discovers that the recurring nightmare she's been having is rooted in her past. Based on Maxwell Anderson's play, this picture was the inspiration for 1994's The Good Son, as well as the 1985 TV movie of the same name.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


Academy Awards 1956 --- Ceremony Number 29 (source: AMPAS)

Best ActressNancy KellyNominated
Best Supporting ActressEileen HeckartNominated
Best Supporting ActressPatty McCormackNominated
Best CinematographyHal RossonNominated

BlogHub Articles:


By Terry on Feb 21, 2019 From Stardust and Shadows

Some films don’t? sit in areas of? ?style or content that fit a particular genre. THE BAD? SEED (1956) is thought to be Horror film,? ?a Film Noir or? a thriller.? Where? it fits? in the canon is not important only that it is? a strong film yet not to everyone’s taste.? THE BAD SEED (195... Read full article

The Bad Seed (1956)

By Summer Reeves on Feb 13, 2017 From Serendipitous Anachronisms

The Bad Seed (1956) 13 Monday Feb 2017 Posted by Summer Reeves in 1950s, Cinema, Crime, Drama ≈ 4 Comments TagsCinema, Crime, Drama, Movies with Cute Clothes, Philosophy, Psychology Darling Readers, do you have one of?those films? O... Read full article

The Bad Seed (1956)

By Beatrice on Apr 26, 2016 From Flickers in Time

The Bad Seed Directed by Mervyn LeRoy John Lee Mahin from a play by Maxwell Anderson and a novel by William March 1956/USA Warner Bros. Repeat viewing/Netflix rental I don’t find this movie scary anymore but, boy, do I love it. Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack) is the kind of eight-year-old I... Read full article

The Bad Seed (1956) (2)

on Feb 6, 2014 From Journeys in Classic Film

I first saw The Bad Seed in my high school film class and it was love at first sight. ?Sure, it’s got campy written all over it, heavy-handed acting and characters breaking into monologue, but the characters and plot keep everything from going completely off the rails. ?The film is remarkably ... Read full article

Classic Films in Focus: THE BAD SEED (1956)

By Jennifer Garlen on Oct 16, 2012 From Virtual Virago

The Bad Seed (1956) ranks pretty high on the list of classic "evil children" movies, although it's not exactly a straightforward horror film. Director Mervyn LeRoy, working from a stage adaptation of William March's original novel, presents the story more as dark melodrama, like Mildred Pierce (1945... Read full article

See all The Bad Seed articles

Quotes from

Hortense Daigle: He was such a lovely, dear little boy. He used to say I was his sweetheart and he was going to marry me when he grew up. I would laugh so. "No you won't. You'll forget about me long before then. You'll find a prettier girl and marry her." And do you know what he said then? "No, I won't. 'Cause there isn't a prettier girl in the whole world than you are."

Christine Penmark: Rhoda, what happened to old Mrs. Post in Witchita?
Rhoda: There was ice on the steps and I slipped and fell against her, and that was all.
Christine Penmark: That was all?
Rhoda: No. I slipped on purpose.

Emory Wages: Well, I'll be a middle-aged mongoloid from Memphis.

read more quotes from The Bad Seed...

Facts about

The original ending had Rhoda surviving, and her mother dying. The Motion Picture Production Code in effect at the time, however, required that "Crime shall never be presented in such a way as to throw sympathy with the crime as against law and order." The usual interpretation of this was that criminals weren't allowed to "get away with it." Because of this, the ending was changed: Rhoda's mother survived being shot in the head, and Rhoda herself was killed by a bolt of lighting by a lake.
The film marked the motion picture debut of Broadway actress Joan Croydon who played Claudia Fern. Although she had also appeared on television, this may have marked her only feature film appearance.
The piano piece that Rhoda plays and sings and is heard as a theme throughout the film is the traditional French children's song Au Claire de la Lune.
read more facts about The Bad Seed...
Share this page:
Visit the Classic Movie Hub Blog CMH
Best Actress Oscar 1956

See more Best Actress awards>>
Also directed by Mervyn LeRoy

More about Mervyn LeRoy >>
Also produced by Mervyn LeRoy

More about Mervyn LeRoy >>
Also released in 1956

See All 1956 films >>
More "Based on Play" films

See All "Based on Play" films >>
More "Book-Based" films

See All "Book-Based" films >>