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The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977)

The story of the late J. Edgar Hoover, who was head of the FBI from 1924-1972. The film follows Hoover from his racket-busting days through his reign under eight U.S. presidents.


Larry Cohen


Larry Cohen


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Broderick Crawford ... J. Edgar Hoover
James Wainwright ... Young Hoover
Michael Parks ... Robert F. Kennedy
José Ferrer ... Lionel McCoy
Celeste Holm ... Florence Hollister
Rip Torn ... Dwight Webb
Dan Dailey ... Clyde Tolson
Ronee Blakley ... Carrie DeWitt (as Roneé Blakley)
Howard Da Silva ... Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt
John Marley ... Dave Hindley
Michael Sacks ... Melvin Purvis
Raymond St. Jacques ... Martin Luther King
June Havoc ... Hoover's Mother
Lloyd Nolan ... Attorney General Harlan Stone
Andrew Duggan ... Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson


The story of the late J. Edgar Hoover, who was head of the FBI from 1924-1972. The film follows Hoover from his racket-busting days through his reign under eight U.S. presidents.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The files that escaped the shredder have become an incredible motion picture. From the Kennedys to Martin Luther King. From cab drivers to Congressmen. From housewives to hostesses. He had something on 58 million people. It was all in his files. Now you can see how he used it.


Biography | Drama


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

December 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

F.B.I. Arquivo Secreto See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Larco Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


According to Larry Cohen (in a 1997 interview with Creative Screenwriting Magazine), the insurance company refused coverage for actor Dan Dailey. Knowing that this would make it difficult for Dailey to get insured on future projects, virtually guaranteeing an end to his acting career, Cohen canceled the insurance coverage on the entire cast. In this way the application for Dailey's insurance was torn up and there was no record of his having been denied coverage. It also meant that Cohen and the production was vulnerable if any of the older cast members died or became incapacitated before shooting ended, but Cohen felt the risk was worth it for the sake of Dailey's career. As it turned out, Dailey broke his hip shortly after production ended and died 10 months after the film was released. This was his final film. See more »


Lionel McCoy: [sarcastically] Give my regards to the Wizard of Oz!
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User Reviews

Well Done Story Of America's First Top Cop
6 March 2001 | by CinebugSee all my reviews

Casting Broderick Crawford as Hoover was a stroke of genius on the part of the casting director of this film. He's perfect for the part. He brings out the gruffness and arrogance of the character, while simultaneously showing the insecure, low self-esteem inner man that Hoover is portrayed as being.

We see him first as a young idealist, working in the Justice Department, wanting to protect the legal rights of immigrants and fighting the internal corruption of the FBI in the 1920's. Then he becomes the "Top Cop" of the nation and a publicity seeker with the help of Walter Winchell. And finally as an old man jeolously guarding his power and firmly entrenched in the political system. But more importantly, we see the dual nature of his morality: on the one hand, his fastidious approach to sexuality and his ego crushing sensitivity to his own unattractiveness; and on the other hand, his sessions-------bottle in hand--------listening to the sexual encounters on FBI surveillance tapes.

The film is not without humor, however. Look for a scene about disposing of a fly in Hoover's office.

In some ways, a waxworks of a film with actors looking and sounding like famous political leaders, but more importantly a record------part fact, part fiction------of a very complex man, who's personality and inner demons helped to form the concept of justice in the American public's mind from the 1930's until his death.

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