All My Sons (film)

All My Sons is a 1948 drama film noir directed by Irving Reis, based on Arthur Miller's play of the same name, and starring Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster. The supporting cast features Louisa Horton, Mady Christians, Howard Duff, Arlene Francis, and Harry Morgan.[2]

All My Sons
Theatrical release poster
Directed byIrving Reis
Produced byChester Erskine
Screenplay byChester Erskine
Based onthe play All My Sons
by Arthur Miller
StarringEdward G. Robinson
Burt Lancaster
Music byLeith Stevens
CinematographyRussell Metty
Edited byRalph Dawson
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • March 27, 1948 (1948-03-27) (New York City)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States


Joe Keller is sorry to hear son Chris plans to wed Ann Deever and move to Chicago, for he hoped Chris would someday take over the manufacturing business Joe built from the ground up.

Ann's father Herb was Joe’s business partner, but when both men were charged with shipping defective airplane parts that resulted in wartime crashes and deaths, only Herb was convicted and sent to prison.

Another son of the Kellers is in the Army air corps, missing in action and presumed dead. Ann used to be engaged to him and her engagement to his brother upsets Kate Keller, who hasn't yet accepted that son Larry is gone for good.

Ann's attorney brother George strongly discourages her from marrying a Keller, and many in town still whisper that Joe was responsible for the death of twenty-one pilots. A war widow even calls Joe a murderer to his face in a restaurant.

On a visit to Ann's father in prison, Chris hears how Joe called in sick on the one day the Army came to pick up the airplane parts. Joe admits to Chris that he knew they were defective, but repairs would have been costly and could have bankrupted the business. Chris strikes his father in anger at hearing this.

A letter from Larry reveals that he knew of his father's guilt and intended to go on a suicide mission in a plane, no longer wanting to live with the family's shame. This is the final disgrace for Joe, who shoots himself.



Reportedly Burt Lancaster postponed his own first production, Kiss the Blood off My Hands in order to take the role of Chris, an ex-GI who initially idolizes his father, not knowing what he has done.[3]


Critical response

In his film review, critic Bosley Crowther contrasted Arthur Miller's play to the screenplay. While stating that the screenplay was more restrained, he praised the acting. He wrote, "In the role of this rugged individualist, Mr. Robinson does a superior job of showing the shades of personality in a little tough guy who has a softer side. Arrogant, ruthless and dynamic in those moments when his 'business' is at stake, he is also tender and considerate in the presence of those he loves ... As the right-thinking son of this corrupt man, Burt Lancaster is surprisingly good and, although he appears a bit dim-witted at times, that is not implausible. Louisa Horton is natural as his sweetheart and Mady Christians plays the mother intensely. Irving Reis' direction is slightly stilted in some scenes but generally matches the tempo of a fluid script".[4]



  • Writers Guild of America Award: Best Written American Drama - Chester Erskine; The Robert Meltzer Award (Screenplay Dealing Most Ably with Problems of the American Scene) - Chester Erskine; 1949.


  1. All My Sons at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. All My Sons at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. Hollywood Vineyard. The Film Daily, trade magazine, Sept 8, 1947. Accessed: October 9, 2019.
  4. Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, March 29, 1948. Accessed: August 12, 2013.

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