The 39 Steps (1935)

Unrated  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  1 August 1935 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 38,185 users  
Reviews: 208 user | 96 critic

A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.



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Complete credited cast:
Godfrey Tearle ...
Helen Haye ...
Mrs. Jordan
Frank Cellier ...
The Sheriff
Gus McNaughton ...
Commercial Traveller (as Gus Mac Naughton)
Jerry Verno ...
Commercial Traveller
Peggy Simpson ...


Richard Hannay is a Canadian visitor to London. At the end of "Mr Memory"'s show in a music hall, he meets Annabella Smith who is running away from secret agents. He accepts to hide her in his flat, but in the night she is murdered. Fearing he could be accused on the girl's murder, Hannay goes on the run to break the spy ring. Written by Claudio Sandrini <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The "Monte Cristo" hero... See more »


Mystery | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 August 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les 39 marches  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(British Acoustic Film Full Range Recording System: at Shepherd's Bush London)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alfred Hitchcock:  [stairs]  Pamela listening to a conversation from the top of a staircase. See more »


In the Music Hall scene, Donat's stand-in is clearly sitting in his place in the audience on at least two occasions. See more »


[first lines]
Music hall announcer: Ladies and Gentleman, with your kind attention, and permission, I have the honor of presenting to you one of the most remarkable men in the world.
Heckler in Audience: How remarkable? He's sweating!
See more »


Referenced in Have You Got Any Castles? (1938) See more »


In the Sweet By and By
Music by Joseph P. Webster
Played by Salvation Army band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Don't be put off by its age - this one is worth seeing.
13 April 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

If what you want from a thriller is in-yer-face mugging, special effects, noise, a booming soundtrack, gore, nudity and flashy editing, this one is not for you.

However if you are a more discerning moviegoer who values a great script, exquisite understated acting, wit, humour and intelligence, and you are willing to overlook the technically rough bits (come on, this was 1935, you cannot measure it by 2005 standards !!) - then enjoy, because you are in for a treat.

Robert Donat is one of the most charming heroes that ever graced the screen, and but for his frail health and loathing of the Hollywood pzazz (he later refused some great movie parts offered to him, which eventually went to the likes of Erroll Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks Jr) he might have become one of the greatest. Watch the dinner scene with the crofters, in which he manages to convey his plight to the wife entirely without words. Great acting. Also the wickedly funny bravura piece at the political rally.

Madeleine Carroll must be among the coolest and feistiest of Hitchcock's favoured blondes, not as insipid or irrelevant as many of the others were. She is a veritable icicle and it takes a long time for her to thaw, but then watch the sparks fly.

I feel a little sad for the people who cannot be bothered to check out this movie because of the tinny sound or the b&w photography. Forget about those superficialities and concentrate on the real values - the script, the acting, the lighting, photography and camera work -, just allow yourself to get carried away with the fast paced action, and you'll love it.

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