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Hell's Highway (1932)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  23 September 1932 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 394 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 3 critic

Chain gang prisoners forced to construct a "liberty highway" for their overseer chasten under his brutal stewardship, causing Duke Ellis to mastermind a mass riot.



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Title: Hell's Highway (1932)

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Complete credited cast:
Duke Ellis
Johnny Ellis
C. Henry Gordon ...
Oscar Apfel ...
Stanley Fields ...
Warner Richmond ...
Matthew (as Chas. Middleton)
Louise Carter ...
Mrs. Ellis
Sandy Roth ...
Fuzzy Knight ...
Society Red


Chain gang prisoners forced to construct a "liberty highway" for their overseer chasten under his brutal stewardship, causing Duke Ellis to mastermind a mass riot.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 September 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gloria y hambre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

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The signed photographs above Romeo's bed are of Constance Bennett and Gwili Andre, among others. See more »

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User Reviews

A really surprising find...
22 August 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

What surprised me about "Hell's Highway" more than anything else was that it addressed the abuses of the chain gang system two months before the much more famous "I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang" debuted. So why is the latter film a super-famous film for its social commentary and "Hell's Highway" is pretty much forgotten? Well, the biggest reason is focus. In "Hell's Highway", while the system is bad, the movie ALSO focuses on the inmates--and shows them, in most cases, as a bunch of bad folks. Killers, thieves, cut-throats and homosexuals seem to make up most of the prisoners--so at the time the message of reform was somehow lost. The public no doubt was torn between hating the prisoners and the system that mistreated them.

The film stars Richard Dix in an unusual role. He plays perhaps the toughest of all these prisoners--a guy respected yet feared by everyone. Only when his young brother is also committed to this same chain gang is Dix's toughness challenged. Amidst this strange family reunion is the purpose of this chain gang--not to rehabilitate but to provide cheap labor for a jerk trying to produce a road and make himself rich in the process.

The film excels due to pretty good acting and an exciting script. While it's not as timeless and important as "I Am a Fugitive...", it is, nonetheless, well worth seeing and might surprise you at the film's quality and strength.

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