Heroes for Sale (1933)

 |  Drama, War  |  17 June 1933 (USA)
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The saga of Tom Holmes - a man of principles - from the Great War to the Great Depression. Will he ever get a break? His war heroics earn fame and a medal for someone else, and his wounds ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aline MacMahon ...
Gordon Westcott ...
Robert Barrat ...
Max (as Robert Barratt)
Mr. Winston
George Gibson
Pa Dennis (as Charles Grapewin)
Robert McWade ...
Dr. Briggs
Leader of Agitators (as George Pat Collins)
Blind Soldier
Laundry Company President
Margaret Seddon ...
Jeanette Holmes
Arthur Vinton ...
Captain Joyce
Robert Elliott ...
'Red' Squad Policeman #1


The saga of Tom Holmes - a man of principles - from the Great War to the Great Depression. Will he ever get a break? His war heroics earn fame and a medal for someone else, and his wounds result in a morphine addiction that costs him a job, his reputation in his home town, and months in a clinic. He goes to Chicago, where he's enterprising and dedicated to his work and his fellow workers, but an invention he champions results in the opposite of his intentions, leading to loss of life and an unjust imprisonment. After release, during the Depression, he must face local "red squads" and vigilante groups jousting out jobless men. Will anyone see his true heroic character? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War






Release Date:

17 June 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Breadline  »

Box Office


$290,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director William A. Wellman used real hoboes for the fight scene and real laundry workers for the laundry scenes. See more »


When Ruth arrives by taxicab at the scene of the riot, the camera moves toward the cab and she is seen letting herself out from the back seat of the passenger side. However, after a jump cut, the driver is reaching around from the front seat of the cab and opening the door for her. See more »


Roger Winston: There I was, everybody making a hero of me. I accepted it because I didn't have guts enough to refuse it... It went on, and on - the honors piled up. And every one I got made it more impossible to tell the truth. I couldn't let go. I know that all my promotions and decorations belong to you. I know that I've stolen the credit from a real hero.
See more »


aka "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (1832)
Music from "God Save the King" (1744)
Played by the band welcoming home Major Winston
See more »

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User Reviews

30 January 2004 | by (Denver) – See all my reviews

There's something strange about watching most pre-code WB movies: they don't end so much as they just STOP. It's as if Jack Warner doled out a budget and the director just shut the production down when the film stock quit being delivered. Wild Bill Wellman's a top-notch director knee deep into his socialist fervor period (see WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD as a double bill), Barthemless is a hapless WWI vet who traded heroism for a morphine addiction--- his cowardly platoon commander got the glory and he faces the next 14 years dealing with everything life throws at him. His fortunes ironically change when his cartoon-Red neighbor (played to the usual hilt by Robert Barratt) invents a machine that allows them both to get rich, but Barthemless has gains a deeper social conscious as Barratt loses his. This is really a big budget (for Warners!) soap opera. An uplifting ending is tacked on after Barthemless disappears into the Land of the Hobos. Watchable as an example of early 30's "realism."

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