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'The Wrong Man' true story: Alfred Hitchock movie based/Christopher Balestrero

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"The Wrong Man" is an Alfred Hitchcock movie classic based on the true story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero aka Manny Balestrero. The movie debuted in 1956 in black and white. It is based on the book "The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero" written by Maxwell Anderson. "The Wrong Man" used most of the names of the real people for the mystery drama. The cast includes: Henry Fonda and Vera Miles as Manny and Rose Balestrero, according to the original New York Times movie review.


"The Wrong Man" synopsis/plot

This Alfred Hitchcock movie was advertised as a suspense movie and a "powerful portrait of man drawn from life." In other words, the movie was based on a true story. The real-life 'Manny Balestrero aka Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero was accused of robbery in New York in 1953. He was held in a jail in Queens for several months before his true identity was revealed.

Christopher Balestrero looked exactly like another man who had actually committed the robbery. It was just a case of mistaken identity. Hitchcock became intrigued with the case after reading about it in a 1953 magazine article published in Life magazine. The article by Herbert Brean was entitled "A Case Of Identity."

Ironically, 20 years later another 'lookalike' mistaken identity case made headlines. You can read about that case here.

"The Wrong Man" still airs on American Movie Classics(AMC) channel. "The Wrong Woman" is a modernized version of this Hitchcock classic.

Other places to research the real case


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