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A Thief in the Night

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Rating: 4.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Film Synopsis:

One of the most spectacular and widely seen motion pictures of all time. Chilling prophecies come to life in this acclaimed thriller. Patty is a modern young woman living for the moment with little concern for the future … until she awakens one morning to find her husband gone and the radio reporting that millions of people have mysteriously vanished.

As dramatic earth-shaking events begin to unfold around her, Patty realizes she is living in the ‘End Times’ Adventure and suspense build to a thought-provoking climax in this powerful gripping film.

Check out all of the films in this 5-part series!

A Thief in the Night
II: A Distant Thunder
III: Image of the Beast
IV: The Prodigal Planet
V: The Battle of Armageddon

Watch the Film Trailer

  • Patty Dunning … Patty Myers
  • Mike Niday … Jim Wright
  • Colleen Niday … Jenny (as Coleen Niday)
  • Maryann Rachford … Diane Bradford
  • Thom Rachford … Jerry Bradford (as Tom Rachford)
  • Duane Coller … Duane
  • Russell S. Doughten Jr. … Reverend Matthew Turner
  • Clarence Balmer … Pastor Balmer (the good minister)
  • Betty D. Jackson … Wedding Guest
  • Gareld L. Jackson … Leader of U.N.I.T.E.
Company: Russ Doughten Films
Contact Person:
Phone: 1-800-247-3456
Fax: 1-515-278-4738
Email: Email Contact
A Thief in the Night, 4.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

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  1. Jonathan Becker says
    01 March 14, 5:58pm

    contrary to what the synopsis says, “thief in the night” is not a “spectacular” film. nor was it all that widely seen. compared with blockbusters such as “titanic” or “avatar,” it received only limited distribution. (it was shown mostly in churches, not in cinemas.) “thief in the night” is actually an understated little film. it isn’t “epic” at all. it is a small scale film with only a few maor characters, a portrayal of “apocalypse” as intimate human drama. and it’s low budget production values and intimate scale are what give it it’s quaint charm. if “thief in the night” had been conceived on a grander scale, it almost certainly would have been a crashing bore.

  2. Ron Judge says
    01 April 14, 11:20pm

    It’s been 40 years since the release of a film that wrecked havoc on the sleep of millions of souls in America and around the world, a film that combined religious themes with the chills of a horror film. No, not The Exorcist. But a year before that: Long before millions of readers were getting worried about being left behind, scores of viewers fretted about the ramifications of A Thief in the Night.

    The film told the story of a young woman, Patty Myers (played by Patty Dunning), who wakes one morning to find that her husband has suddenly vanished, along with millions of other people throughout the world. The film brings to life the dispensational view of Matthew 24:36-44—one will be taken and one will be left—assuming the Rapture of believers takes place before seven years of tribulation … coming without warning, like a thief in the … well, you know. Patty faces the nightmare of a one-world totalitarian government that will usher in the coming of the Anti-Christ.

    At the time, it was a radical new way of making a Christian film. There had been Christian movies before, particularly from Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures (usually about a troubled teen who considers smoking a cigarette before being converted at a Graham crusade). But Thief was different, using the conventions of science fiction and horror—everything from the “It’s Only a Dream … or is it?” device (from every other episode of The Twilight Zone), to the paranoid “Are They With Me or Against Me?” questions (replace the Pod People of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with the Mark of the Beast people), to the End Credits with a Twist (The End??? from The Blob becomes The End Is Near). (Not coincidentally, Thief’s executive producer, Russell Doughten Jr., worked on 1958’s The Blob.)

    Today, Christian filmmakers like Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) consider the supernatural nature of the horror film a natural genre for introducing spiritual themes. But 40 years ago, such themes in a Christian film was a radical idea.

    A Thief in the Night also introduced new audiences to the budding Christian rock music scene, featuring Larry Norman’s “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” sung in the movie by The Fishmarket Combo. (Check out the groovy/spooky video of the song here; they’re also featured in the film’s trailer.)

    The film’s budget was $60,000, a paltry sum compared to today’s indie films, rarely made for less than $1 million. Thom Rachford, one of the actors in Thief and now a vice president at Russ Doughten Films (RDF), said that to raise the money, the filmmakers prayed and asked people to invest $5,000 apiece.

    Thief was a pioneer of the End Times genre; Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye have cited the film as an inspiration for their Left Behind series. Three Thief sequels were made (A Distant Thunder, Image of the Beast, and The Prodigal Planet) over the next decade.

    A Thief in the Night has reportedly been seen by over 300 million people around the world. Pirated copies appeared in communist countries during the Cold War, and it since has turned up on YouTube. Upon its initial release, the production company developed a program to share the gospel with viewers; RDF records show six million people made decisions for Christ through their ministry.

    Rachford says all of RDF’s films were always about presenting a clear presentation of the gospel. When asked whether Thief and other end-times films are made to scare people into the Kingdom, Rachford says, “Look at John 3:16. What is Jesus talking about when he says perish, but the judgment to come?”

    A Thief in the Night may look more than a little corny by contemporary standards, and the 1970s fashions are truly frightening. But the film truly did inspire fear in many who woke up in an empty house, wondering if they had been left behind. Still, such urgency and intent to ultimately bring people to Christ will never go out of fashion.

    Dean A. Anderson

  3. John Asase says
    28 September 14, 3:47pm

    pls sir we are the soul seekers outreach. we share Christ through evangelism, video shows, tracks sharing etc. from one place to other. and your materials will help us reach to the lost ones. we have our address below. John Asase, p.o box an 11847 Accra – Ghana. 00233. we are counting on your favourable consideration.

  4. Annelie says
    30 September 14, 5:50am

    We don’t sell the films, just list them – there is a distribution page at the bottom of the website that you can click on and contact individual places to request some films sent to you.


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