Box art for The Letter (1940)

The Letter (1940)

drama, thrillers

Bette Davis stars in this suspenseful jungle thriller as a woman who claims to have killed in self-defense, until a blackmailer turns up with incriminating evidence.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 9
    see all The Letter (1940) reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews


- Bosley Crowther, New York Times, Saturday, January 28, 2006


- Christopher Null,, Monday, May 14, 2007

Fresh: The second and best version of Maugham's noirish tale of adultery and murder is emarked by Wyler's nunaced mis-en-scene, Gaudio's lensing, and superlative acting of Bette Davis (surprisingly restrained), Herbert Marshall and especially James Stephenson.

- Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

A slightly predictable story of blackmail and murder involving Bette Davis. Pretty good movie, but it could be more exciting.

- ajv2688, Monday, September 27, 2010

4 stars

What a powerful performance by Miss Davis in a very unflattering role. All the elements are present for a great motion picture (casting, direction & screenplay) and The Letter delivers in spades Of note is the presence of Gale Sondergaard as the silent but ominous Malaysian widow who speaks volumes without ever uttering a word. Yes, this is the same Gale Sondergaard who was originally cast as the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz before (thankfully) turning the role over to the talents of Margaret Hamilton. Sondergaard's appearance might seem stereotypical and offensive today, but there's no denying her screen presence. Simply brilliant.

- flixsterman, Sunday, November 15, 2009

4 stars

maybe the best of ms. davis' many fine performances. and one of the best opening scenes ever.

- rubystevens, Sunday, November 4, 2007