IMDb > The Big House (1930)
The Big House
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The Big House (1930) More at IMDbPro »


User Rating:
7.2/10   1,182 votes »
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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Frances Marion (story)
Joseph Farnham (additional dialogue) ...
View company contact information for The Big House on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 June 1930 (USA) See more »
Timely! Tremendous! Thrilling! Drama of Love and a Jail-Break!
A convict falls in love with his new cellmate's sister, only to become embroiled in a planned break-out which is certain to have lethal consequences. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Good Story, Though A Bit Hokey See more (19 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Chester Morris ... Morgan

Wallace Beery ... Butch

Lewis Stone ... Warden

Robert Montgomery ... Kent

Leila Hyams ... Anne
George F. Marion ... Pop
J.C. Nugent ... Mr. Marlowe

Karl Dane ... Olsen
DeWitt Jennings ... Wallace
Matthew Betz ... Gopher (as Mathew Betz)

Claire McDowell ... Mrs. Marlowe
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Donlin (as Robert Emmet O'Connor)
Tom Kennedy ... Uncle Jed (scenes deleted)
Tom Wilson ... Sandy
Eddie Foyer ... Dopey
Roscoe Ates ... Putnam (as Rosco Ates)
Fletcher Norton ... Oliver
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Noah Beery Jr. ... Convict in Yard (uncredited)
Edgar Dearing ... Inmate (uncredited)
Ethan Laidlaw ... Trustee (uncredited)
Eddie Lambert ... Inmate (uncredited)
George Magrill ... Convict in Yard (uncredited)
Chris-Pin Martin ... Inmate (uncredited)
Louis Natheaux ... Morgan's Lawyer (uncredited)
Charles O'Malley ... Inmate (uncredited)
Angelo Rossitto ... Inmate (uncredited)
Adolph Seidel ... Prison Barber (uncredited)
Michael Vavitch ... Inmate (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Inmate #46375 (uncredited)

Directed by
George W. Hill  (as George Hill)
Ward Wing (additional director) (uncredited)
Writing credits
Frances Marion (story and dialogue)

Joseph Farnham (additional dialogue) (as Joe Farnham) and
Martin Flavin (additional dialogue)

Produced by
Irving Thalberg .... producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Harold Wenstrom (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Blanche Sewell (film editor)
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Harry Sharrock .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Robert Shirley .... recording engineer (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Reggie Lanning .... camera operator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
David Cox .... wardrobe
Music Department
William Axt .... composer: title music (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:87 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Finland:(Banned) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

Director George W. Hill threatened to fire anyone who "acted", and forbade makeup.See more »
Continuity: The hallway area outside Butch and Kent's cell changes between scenes, possibly due to re-shoots (see trivia).See more »
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt:What's your name?
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt:[after getting no response] I said what's your name?
Kent:Kent Marlowe.
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt:Mine's Schmidt. I'm known the world over as "Machine Gun Butch." You heard of me, naturally.
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt:[after Kent shakes his head 'no.'] Never heard of the Delancey Gang bein' wiped out? Well, I done the wipin'.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Chicago (2002)See more »
TapsSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
9 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Good Story, Though A Bit Hokey, 7 August 2000
Author: Tom-497 from Los Angeles, CA

I thought this film was very strong from the story angle -- the main characters are not cliches and a relatively happy ending is contrived in a relatively believable way.

Still, there is some rather hokey preaching from the warden, which feels more like "social commentary" from the writer than believable dialogue from the character. And the "comic relief" of a stuttering convict falls flat.

Also, somewhat strangely, I didn't see any black faces in any of the shots that actually involve dialogue, or even in medium-long shots of say a dozen or so prisoners. But when you get extreme long shots, suddenly all sorts of black prisoners appear. I'm not sure if this accurately reflected segregation in prisons, racism in filmmaking, or a continuity problem.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (19 total) »

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