Truda Loya

Truda Loya

Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023


Are you a fan of classic movies? If so, you’re in for a treat! In this article, we’ll be diving into the fascinating world of the iconic film Sweet Smell of Success. Released in 1957, this noir drama has left an indelible mark on the history of cinema. Directed by Alexander Mackendrick and starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, Sweet Smell of Success is a tale of ambition, power, and the dark side of New York City. In this article, we’ll be uncovering 36 intriguing facts about this timeless masterpiece. From behind-the-scenes anecdotes to the film’s impact on pop culture, you’ll get an in-depth look at all things Sweet Smell of Success. So grab some popcorn and get ready to immerse yourself in the captivating world of this cinematic gem!

Table of Contents

Box Office Success

The movie Sweet Smell of Success, released in 1957, was a box office success, grossing over $7 million worldwide.

Tony Curtis’ Role

Tony Curtis played the role of Sidney Falco, a struggling press agent, in the movie.

Burt Lancaster’s Character

Burt Lancaster portrayed the influential and ruthless newspaper columnist J.J. Hunsecker in the film.

Noir Film

Sweet Smell of Success is often regarded as a classic film noir, known for its dark and atmospheric storytelling.

Screenplay Collaboration

The screenplay for the movie was a collaboration between Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman.

Chico Hamilton’s Jazz Score

The jazz score for Sweet Smell of Success was composed by Chico Hamilton, adding to the film’s unique atmosphere.

New York City Setting

The movie is set in New York City during the 1950s, capturing the bustling and gritty energy of the era.

Critical Acclaim

Sweet Smell of Success received critical acclaim upon its release, with praise for its performances, script, and cinematography.

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick

The film was directed by Alexander Mackendrick, known for his work on other notable films like The Ladykillers.

A Tale of Corruption

Sweet Smell of Success delves into the world of media corruption, showcasing the lengths people will go to gain power and success.

Black-and-White Cinematography

The movie was filmed in black-and-white, adding to its noir aesthetic and enhancing the overall mood.

Edith Head’s Costume Design

Acclaimed costume designer Edith Head worked on the film, creating stylish and iconic outfits for the characters.

Elmer Bernstein’s Theme

The film features a memorable theme composed by Elmer Bernstein, which captures the essence of the story.

Power Struggles

Sweet Smell of Success explores themes of power struggles, manipulation, and the ethics of journalism.

Iconic Dialogue

The movie is known for its sharp and memorable dialogue, filled with biting one-liners and witty exchanges.

Influence on Film Noir

Sweet Smell of Success is considered influential in shaping the future of film noir, with its visual style and narrative techniques.

Failed at the Academy Awards

Despite its critical success, Sweet Smell of Success failed to garner any Academy Awards nominations.

Retrospective Appreciation

Over the years, the film has gained retrospective appreciation and is now considered a classic in the film noir genre.

Social Commentary

Sweet Smell of Success serves as a social commentary on the power dynamics within the media industry and society at large.

Tony Curtis’ Method Acting

Tony Curtis immersed himself in the role of Sidney Falco, adopting a method acting approach to bring the character to life.

Burt Lancaster’s Intimidating Presence

Burt Lancaster’s portrayal of J.J. Hunsecker is marked by his intense and intimidating on-screen presence.

Timeless Themes

The themes explored in Sweet Smell of Success, such as ambition, betrayal, and the pursuit of success, remain relevant to this day.

Preservation in the National Film Registry

In 1993, the movie was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

A Character-Driven Narrative

Sweet Smell of Success is driven by its complex and morally ambiguous characters, who navigate a world of manipulation and self-interest.

Notable Supporting Cast

The film features notable performances from Susan Harrison, Martin Milner, and Sam Levene in supporting roles.

Iconic Movie Poster

Sweet Smell of Success is known for its iconic movie poster, featuring the film’s main characters against a vibrant red background.

Failed at the Box Office Initially

Despite its eventual success, Sweet Smell of Success initially struggled at the box office due to its dark and uncompromising themes.

Inspirational for Filmmakers

Sweet Smell of Success has served as an inspiration for many filmmakers, influencing their approach to storytelling and visual style.

A Tale of Moral Corruption

The film explores the moral corruption prevalent in both the media industry and society, leaving audiences with a thought-provoking message.

A Study in Manipulation

Sweet Smell of Success showcases the art of manipulation, as characters navigate a complex web of secrets and deceit.

Intense Performances

The performances in Sweet Smell of Success are marked by their intensity and depth, with the actors fully embodying their flawed characters.

Pioneering Cinematography Techniques

The film showcases pioneering cinematography techniques, with innovative camera angles and lighting adding to its distinctive visual style.

Timeless Cinematic Experience

Sweet Smell of Success continues to captivate audiences with its timeless storytelling, gripping performances, and atmospheric cinematography.

Impact on Pop Culture

The movie has left a lasting impact on pop culture, with references and homages to its iconic scenes and dialogue appearing in various media.

Tony Curtis’ Career Milestone

Sweet Smell of Success is considered a career milestone for Tony Curtis, showcasing his versatility and talent as an actor.

A Must-Watch Film

Sweet Smell of Success is a must-watch film for fans of the film noir genre, offering a compelling and thought-provoking cinematic experience.

With its gripping storyline, memorable performances, and captivating cinematography, the “36 Facts about the movie Sweet Smell of Success” stands as a testament to its enduring legacy in the world of cinema. Whether you’re a fan of film noir or simply appreciate masterful storytelling, Sweet Smell of Success is a must-watch film for any cinephile. So, grab your popcorn, dim the lights, and prepare to be enthralled by this timeless classic.


The movie “Sweet Smell of Success” is a timeless classic that has captivated audiences for decades. With its gripping storyline, memorable performances, and iconic dialogue, it has solidified its place in cinema history. From the infamous character of J.J. Hunsecker to the atmospheric depiction of 1950s New York City, every aspect of this film is meticulously crafted. Whether you’re a fan of film noir or just appreciate masterful storytelling, “Sweet Smell of Success” is a must-watch. Its exploration of power, manipulation, and the dark underbelly of the entertainment industry still resonates today. So grab some popcorn, settle in, and prepare to be immersed in the intoxicating world of “Sweet Smell of Success.”


Q: Who directed “Sweet Smell of Success”?

A: “Sweet Smell of Success” was directed by Alexander Mackendrick.

Q: When was “Sweet Smell of Success” released?

A: The film was released on June 27, 1957.

Q: Who stars in “Sweet Smell of Success”?

A: The movie features Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker and Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco.

Q: What is the genre of “Sweet Smell of Success”?

A: The film is classified as a neo-noir drama.

Q: Is “Sweet Smell of Success” based on a book?

A: Yes, the movie is based on a novella of the same name by Ernest Lehman.

Q: What is the plot of “Sweet Smell of Success”?

A: The film follows the dark and twisted web of lies and corruption involving a powerful newspaper columnist and a desperate press agent.

Q: Was “Sweet Smell of Success” successful at the box office?

A: Unfortunately, the movie did not perform well upon its initial release, but it gained critical acclaim and a cult following over the years.

Q: Where was “Sweet Smell of Success” filmed?

A: The majority of the film was shot on location in New York City, giving it an authentic and gritty atmosphere.

Q: What are some notable quotes from “Sweet Smell of Success”?

A: One famous quote from the movie is “I love this dirty town!” uttered by J.J. Hunsecker.

Q: Is “Sweet Smell of Success” considered a classic?

A: Yes, the film is widely regarded as a classic and is included on many lists of the greatest movies of all time.