- Directors: Robert Siodmak
- Producers: Mark Hellinger
- Writers: Story, Ernest Hemingway, Screenplay, Anthony Veiller, Richard Brooks, Uncredited, John Huston
- Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery, Romance
- Actors: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O Brien, Sam Levene
The story is about two hit men assigned to find and kill a man, Ole Anderson aka “the Swede” (Burt Lancaster), at a small-town diner. Impatient for his arrival, they kill him instead at a boarding house where, resigned to his fate, he awaits their arrival.
Because Anderson’s life was insured, Investigator Jim Reardon (Edmund O’Brien) is assigned to look into the murder for his company. Interviewing several people from Anderson’s past, Reardon develops the theory that Anderson’s murder stemmed from an unsolved payroll robbery years earlier.
Working with a police detective (Sam Levene), who was a boyhood friend of Anderson’s, Reardon sets a plan in motion to trap the hired killers, and the man who hired them.