Fear and Desire
Fear and Desire
Theatrical release poster

Directed by

Stanley Kubrick

Produced by

Stanley Kubrick

Written by

Howard Sackler


Stanley Kubrick

Editing by

Stanley Kubrick

Running time

72 minutes

Fear and Desire is a 1953 film directed, produced, and edited by Stanley Kubrick, who also served as the cinematographer. It is his first feature film and one of his least-seen ones. Despite being a box office failure, it has received moderately positive reviews from film critics since its release. even though Kubrick himself stated that it was his least favorite personal film and went out of his way to buy most prints of the film so other people wouldn't see it.


Four soldiers whose planes has crashed discover that they're six miles behind enemy lines. Aching to escape, they make a plan to travel over to an allied country by building a raft and traveling up a river. But when a woman discovers their presence, they learn that an enemy general is nearby.


Fear and Desire continues to enjoy a mostly positive reception. The film has scored a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 11 critics, with an average rating of 6.2/10. Tim Grierson, writing for the Village Voice, remarked in retrospect, "Treat it like a wobbly, precocious demo from a 24-year-old with mighty aspirations, filled with hints of what he would become, and you'll be properly enthralled." Nick Schager of Slant Magazine stated, "For all its heavy-handed gloom and stylistic unevenness, Fear and Desire has a certain fierceness that's hard to shake."

However, the film is still considered one of Kubrick's weakest releases.

Kubrick's opinions in retrospectEdit

Despite the somewhat positive reception for Fear and Desire, Kubrick remarked multiple times that it was his least favorite of his own films. In fact, he apparently went out of his way to buy most prints of the film so other people wouldn't see it. Kubrick's wishes, however, haven't been granted for the most part. Turner Classic Movies has broadcasted the film at least once.

Home videoEdit

In 2012, Kino released the film in both Blu-ray and DVD formats, along with Kubrick's short film The Seafarers.