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Wild Boys of the Road (1933)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama  |  7 October 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,256 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 21 critic

In the depths of the Depression, two teenage boys strike out on their own in order to help their struggling parents and find life on the road tougher than expected.



(screenplay), (story) (as Daniel Ahearn)
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Complete credited cast:
Edwin Phillips ...
Dorothy Coonan Wellman ...
Sally (as Dorothy Coonan)
Arthur Hohl ...
Dr. Heckel
Ann Hovey ...
Minna Gombell ...
Aunt Carrie
Mr. James Smith
Mrs. Smith
Robert Barrat ...
Judge R.H. White
Willard Robertson ...
Captain of Detectives


At the bottom of the depression, Tom's mother has been out of work for months when Ed's father loses his job. Not to burden their parents, the two high school sophomore's decide to hop the freights and look for work. Wherever they go, there are many other kids just like them, so Tom, Ed and now Sally stick together. They camp in places like 'Sewer City' as long as they can until the local authorities run them off. They travel all over the mid west and when they get to New York, Ed thinks that they may finally find work. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Girls living like boys! Boys living like savages!


Adventure | Drama



Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 October 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az utca vad kölykei  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Reportedly both John Ford and William Wyler were interested in the project before it was assigned to Wellman. See more »


Sally pandhandles by tap dancing to "42nd Street" in expensive (for her) tap shoes. See more »


Edward 'Eddie' Smith: [Walking in and putting $22 on the table after selling his car] Here, Dad.
Mr. James Smith: Wha... ? Where'd this come from?
Edward 'Eddie' Smith: Oh, I sold my car. I was tired of it anyway. You know me - have a thing a little while... get sort of fed up with it.
[Opening the refrigerator]
Edward 'Eddie' Smith: I guess I'm like my cousin Hugo.
[Turning and looking at his father]
Edward 'Eddie' Smith: Hey, you're not sore at me, are you, Pop?
Mr. James Smith: [Gettig up and walking toward Eddie] No matter what you ever do, Edward, you'll never make me feel as proud of you as I have this minute.
See more »


Shadow Waltz
Music by Harry Warren
Played in the dark at the school dance
Also whistled by Frankie Darro outside the movie theater box office
See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant, heart-wrenching depression gem
21 January 2003 | by (Easley, SC) – See all my reviews

Forget the Kleenex, bring the Bounty paper towels to experience William Wellman's depression masterpiece. This huge emotional epiphany packs a wallop.

Frankie Darro and Edwin Phillips portray the juvenile leads Eddie and Tommy, with Darro's performance effective and appealing. Their characters indulge in the usual teenage shenanigans until the depression overtakes their parents. As times toughen, and Eddie's father can't find work, Eddie decides to sell his jalopy to help out. This sets up the first of many splendid scenes, as Eddie's tough-guy veneer drops just long enough to share raw emotions with his father (Grant Mitchell). Zero cringe factor here, Wellman excels at emotions between men and it's never maudlin.

Hitting the (rail)road to find work, Eddie and Tommy encounter Sally, an adorable, nose-scrintching Dorothy Coonan dressed as a man. And the three set off across the country, with high ideals and optimism clashing with depression realities. Brutal and raw, this is a journey you, too, must take. A page of America's history told so expertly as to make you laugh and cry simultaneously.

Ms. Coonan (Sally) quit films after "Wild Boys" to marry director "Wild" Bill Wellman, and remain his his wife until his death in 1975. My highest recommendation.

26 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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