IMDb > The Big House (1930)
The Big House
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The Big House (1930) More at IMDbPro »


User Rating:
7.2/10   1,191 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 10% 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:
Great Film Classic 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?

Writer Frances Marion toured prison facilities and interviewed prisoners and prison personnel to research her screenplay.See more »
Boom mic visible: When Anne comes to visit Kent at the prison, and he walks up and says 'Hi sis,' the shadow of the microphone falls across her.See more »
John Morgan:You know it means the rope, Butch, if they catch you? Who's in on it?
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt:Well, me and Olsen and Joe and the Hawk.
John Morgan:The Hawk? That means blood.
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt:No, he promised me he wouldn't bump nobody off.
John Morgan:Why, he croaked his own mother.
'Machine Gun' Butch Schmidt:Sure he did. He cut her throat. He was sorry for it. He's all right.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Fade to Black (1980)See more »
Ring the Bells of HeavenSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Great Film Classic, 23 January 2008
Author: whpratt1 from United States

It was hard for me to believe that this film story was written by a female named Francis Marion who had studied prison life at San Quentin. Chester Morris plays the role as a con named John Morgan and is good friends with Butch Schmidt, (Wallace Berry) who is a hard nose prisoner with lots of power and connections among the other prison mates. Robert Montgomery, (Kent Marlowe) is a man who comes from a rich family, however, Kent is a weak minded guy or you could also call him a stool pigeon. There is a big prison break scene with all kinds of bullets flying all over the place and machine guns blasting away. Even the National Guard is call to action in one of the worst prison breaks I have ever seen. This is a great film with great actors and an outstanding Classic Film from 1930.

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

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Big House (1930)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Scene with a coal/mining car? chris-865-646539
Warner now selling this DVD exclusively on their webpage simonhowson
Urgent need for DVD release rndicenso
Just saw it (spoilers) profprimbud
Lon Chaney gilbert1926
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Criminal Code The Dark Knight The Usual Suspects Chattahoochee Death Wish 3
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.