The Naked Face (film)

Last updated
The Naked Face
Naked Face.jpg
Movie Poster
Directed by Bryan Forbes
Screenplay byBryan Forbes
Based on The Naked Face by
Sidney Sheldon
Produced by Yoram Globus
Menahem Golan
Rony Yacov
Starring Roger Moore
Rod Steiger
Elliott Gould
Cinematography David Gurfinkel
Music by Michael J. Lewis
Distributed by The Cannon Group
Release date
  • June 13, 1984 (1984-06-13)(U.S.)
Running time
103 min.
CountryUnited States

The Naked Face is a 1984 American thriller film written and directed by Bryan Forbes, based on the book of the same name by Sidney Sheldon. It stars Roger Moore, Rod Steiger and Elliott Gould. [1]


It was nominated for "Best Film" at Mystfest, a film festival. [2]


A patient of Chicago psychoanalyst Dr. Judd Stevens (Moore) is murdered after a session, stabbed while wearing a raincoat belonging to the doctor. Police detectives McGreavy (Steiger) and Angeli (Gould) investigate. McGreavy bitterly resents the doctor from a previous case in which Stevens' testimony led to a cop killer being institutionalized rather than sent to prison.

The patient's personal problems are in question until Stevens' secretary is also found brutally murdered. Stevens realizes he is the murderer's target, while the two detectives treat him as their prime suspect.

A widower, Stevens expresses concern to his physician brother-in-law about the cops' behavior. McGreavy in particular is so aggressive in his interrogations, Angeli reports him to a superior and gets McGreavy thrown off the case.

Posing as doormen, two armed gunmen break into Stevens' apartment. He holds them off until the brother-in-law and two paramedics arrive. Not trusting the cops, Stevens instead made an emergency call to the hospital for help.

Choosing a name out of the Yellow Pages at random, Stevens hires an old, quirky private investigator named Morgens (Art Carney) who lives in a rundown apartment filled with clocks and cats. Morgens saves his life by finding a bomb planted in Stevens' car. After he reports this latest attempt on his life, Angeli promises to lend Stevens a more sympathetic ear than his partner had. McGreavy, however, has secretly cut a deal with their captain to keep an eye on the case from a distance.

One evening, Morgens phones Stevens and claims to know the killer's true identity, but refuses to reveal it over the phone because nobody can be trusted, not even the police. He tells Stevens to meet him after midnight at the Navy Pier and mentions the name "Don Cicini." But when Stevens and Angeli arrive, they find the murdered body of Morgens, holding a cuckoo clock.

After doing some research, Stevens realizes that Don Cicini is an Italian code name for the head of an organized crime syndicate. Offering to hide Stevens in a safe house, Angeli instead drives him to a countryside mansion where the phony doormen appear. Angeli draws a gun but points it at Stevens, telling him he trusted the wrong cop.

Stevens is taken to a crime boss, discovering that the mobster's wife is Ann Blake (Anne Archer), a quiet woman who has been seeing Stevens as a patient. Don Cicini feels he simply can't have anyone knowing his private business, despite the fact that Ann told the psychiatrist practically nothing during their sessions.

Stevens is taken to a warehouse to be done away with permanently. Angeli, expecting a payoff, is killed instead. Stevens tries to escape but is quickly re-captured, then beaten savagely by the crime boss until McGreavy and a team of cops arrive just in time, having been called by Ann. Don Cicini is killed and the rest of his men are arrested.

At a cemetery where Stevens goes to visit his late wife's grave once a week, Ann Blake turns up to apologize for causing Stevens all this trouble at the cost of so many lives. He has quit his private practice, so she asks if that means he can see a former patient socially. It does and they begin to leave the cemetery together, but the doctor (and the viewers) are in for one last shock: Ann is shot and killed by a mob sniper who slips away, leaving behind a grieving Stevens wailing over her dead body.


Roger Moore Dr. Judd Stevens
Rod Steiger Lieutenant McGreavy
Elliott Gould Detective Angeli
Art Carney Morgens
Anne Archer Ann Blake
David Hedison Dr. Peter Hadley
Deanna Dunagan Mrs. Hadley
Ron Parady Cortini
John Kapelos Frank


Though the film was produced and released in 1984, Sidney Sheldon wrote its source novel in 1970, before psychological profiling became a widely accepted method of forensic crime-fighting work.

Related Research Articles

Rod Steiger American actor (1925–2002)

Rodney Stephen Steiger was an American actor, noted for his portrayal of offbeat, often volatile and crazed characters. Cited as "one of Hollywood's most charismatic and dynamic stars," he is closely associated with the art of method acting, embodying the characters he played, which at times led to clashes with directors and co-stars. He starred as Marlon Brando's mobster brother Charley in On the Waterfront (1954), the title character Sol Nazerman in The Pawnbroker (1964) which won him the Silver Bear for Best Actor, and as police chief Bill Gillespie opposite Sidney Poitier in the film In the Heat of the Night (1967) which won him the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Sidney Sheldon American writer

Sidney Sheldon was an American writer, director, and producer.

Elliott Gould American actor (born 1938)

Elliott Gould is an American actor. He began acting in Hollywood films during the 1960s.

<i>Drunken Angel</i> 1948 Japanese film

Drunken Angel is a 1948 Japanese yakuza film directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is notable for being the first of sixteen film collaborations between director Kurosawa and actor Toshiro Mifune.

<i>The Naked Face</i> 1970 novel by Sidney Sheldon

The Naked Face is the first novel (1970) written by Sidney Sheldon. It was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American author.

<i>In the Heat of the Night</i> (film) 1967 film by Norman Jewison

In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 American mystery drama film directed by Norman Jewison. It is based on John Ball's 1965 novel of the same name and tells the story of Virgil Tibbs, a Black police detective from Philadelphia, who becomes involved in a murder investigation in a small town in Mississippi. It stars Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, and was produced by Walter Mirisch. The screenplay was written by Stirling Silliphant.

<i>The Naked City</i> 1948 American film noir by Jules Dassin

The Naked City is a 1948 American film noir directed by Jules Dassin, starring Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart and Don Taylor. The film, shot almost entirely on location in New York City, depicts the police investigation that follows the murder of a young model.

<i>Brute Force</i> (1947 film) 1947 film by Jules Dassin

Brute Force is a 1947 American crime film noir directed by Jules Dassin, from a screenplay by Richard Brooks with cinematography by William H. Daniels. It stars Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn and Charles Bickford.

<i>Nora Prentiss</i> 1947 film by Vincent Sherman

Nora Prentiss is a 1947 American film noir drama film directed by Vincent Sherman and starring Ann Sheridan, Kent Smith, Bruce Bennett, and Robert Alda. It was produced and distributed by Warner Bros. The cinematography is by James Wong Howe and the music was composed by Franz Waxman. The film's sets were designed by the art director Anton Grot.

<i>If Tomorrow Comes</i> (novel)

If Tomorrow Comes is a 1985 crime fiction novel by American author Sidney Sheldon. It is a story portraying an ordinary woman who is framed by the Mafia, her subsequent quest for vengeance towards them and her later life as a con artist. The novel was adapted into a three-part TV miniseries with the same name in 1986, starring Madolyn Smith and Tom Berenger.

Tomas Milian Cuban-Italian-American actor and singer

Tomas Milian was a Cuban-born actor and singer with American and Italian citizenship, known for the emotional intensity and humor he brought to starring roles in European genre films.

<i>Cop</i> (film) 1988 film by James B. Harris

Cop is a 1988 American neo-noir crime suspense film written and directed by James B. Harris, starring James Woods, Lesley Ann Warren and Charles Durning. It is based on the 1984 book Blood on the Moon, by James Ellroy. Harris and Woods co-produced the film.

Sheldon Hawkes Fictional character from CSI: NY

Dr. Sheldon Hawkes is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama CSI: NY portrayed by Hill Harper. He was originally the sultry voiced medical examiner during the first season, but moves into the field in the start of the second season, much to the initial surprise of head CSI Mac Taylor.

<i>The Green Man</i> (film) 1956 film

The Green Man is a 1956 black and white British black comedy film based on the play Meet a Body by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, who produced and adapted the big-screen version.

<i>Cop Hater</i>

Cop Hater (1956) is the first 87th Precinct police procedural novel by Ed McBain. The murder of three detectives in quick succession in the 87th Precinct leads Detective Steve Carella on a search that takes him into the city's underworld and ultimately to a .45 automatic aimed straight at his head.

<i>10 to Midnight</i> 1983 film

10 to Midnight is a 1983 American crime-horror-thriller film directed by J. Lee Thompson from a screenplay originally written by William Roberts. The film stars Charles Bronson in the lead role with a supporting cast that includes Lisa Eilbacher, Andrew Stevens, Gene Davis, Geoffrey Lewis, and Wilford Brimley. 10 to Midnight was released by City Films, a subsidiary of Cannon Films, to American cinemas on March 11, 1983.

Kelly Watson Soap opera character

Kelly Watson is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Home and Away portrayed by Katrina Hobbs. She made her first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 28 August 1995 and departed on 25 April 1997.

<i>The Buster Keaton Story</i> 1957 film by Sidney Sheldon

The Buster Keaton Story is a 1957 American biographical drama film directed by Sidney Sheldon and written by Sidney Sheldon and Robert Smith, following the life of Buster Keaton. The film stars Donald O'Connor, Ann Blyth, Rhonda Fleming, Peter Lorre, Larry Keating and Jackie Coogan. It was released on April 21, 1957, by Paramount Pictures. The film was described by AllMovie as "sublimely inaccurate" regarding details of Keaton's life. It was produced by Paramount Pictures, which paid Keaton $50,000 for the rights to his life story.

<i>Smooth as Silk</i> 1946 film by Charles Barton

Smooth as Silk is a 1946 American noir film directed by Charles Barton and starring Kent Taylor, Virginia Grey, and Milburn Stone. The film is also known as Notorious Gentleman as it is a version of 1935 film A Notorious Gentleman. The film focuses on the murder of a theater producer committed by a lawyer, after the lawyer's bride, an actress, left him for the producer to win a role in his new musical. Despite the fascinating plot and tense intrigue, this film failed to attract much attention.

<i>All Coppers Are...</i> Film

All Coppers Are... is a 1972 British drama film directed by Sidney Hayers and starring Martin Potter, Julia Foster and Nicky Henson.


  1. "The Naked Face (1984) | BFI". Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  2. Awards at