7.8/10
41,374
214 user 106 critic

The 39 Steps (1935)

Unrated | | Mystery, Thriller | 1 August 1935 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(adapted from the novel by), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

While traveling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas
Sabotage (1936)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London. But when the detective's cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, Desmond Tester
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man and his wife receive a clue to an imminent assassination attempt, only to learn that their daughter has been kidnapped to keep them quiet.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Spellbound (1945)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A psychiatrist protects the identity of an amnesia patient accused of murder while attempting to recover his memory.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov
Secret Agent (1936)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After three British agents are assigned to assassinate a mysterious German spy during World War I, two of them become ambivalent when their duty to the mission conflicts with their consciences.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: John Gielgud, Madeleine Carroll, Robert Young
Saboteur (1942)
Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Aircraft factory worker Barry Kane goes on the run across the United States when he is wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings, Otto Kruger
Suspicion (1941)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke
Action | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall
Lifeboat (1944)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Several survivors of a torpedoed ship find themselves in the same boat with one of the men who sunk it.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A family vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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 <pulp99@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The "Monte Cristo" hero... See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les 39 marches  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The concept of fugitives being manacled together while they escape has been featured in many other films, notably The Defiant Ones (1958), Fled (1996) and No Mercy (1986). See more »

Goofs

Lights visible when police search the train. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Spoofed in Carry on Regardless (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Dancing With My Shadow
(uncredited)
Written by Harry M. Woods
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Quintessential Hitchcock
29 April 2003 | by (Granville, OH) – See all my reviews

Trust and betrayal have been a recurrent theme in several of Alfred Hitchcock's works. The 39 Steps, made in 1935, has the all the classic elements of the master filmmaker that set the standard for later Hitchcock films. The 39 Steps has the classic Hitchcockian theme of an average, innocent man caught up in extraordinary events which are quite beyond his control. The sexually frustrating institution of marriage is another major motif present in the film. The strained and loveless relationship between the crofter and his wife, the placid relationship of the innkeeper and his wife, the (physical) bond between Hannay and Pamela can be examined in terms of degrees of trust between the couples. In fact, the short 'acquaintance' between Hannay and Smith and Hannay and the crofter's wife are also built completely upon trust. It is these couples, and the chemistry between them (or the lack thereof) that drive the entire film.

Over a span of four days, the smart and unflappable protagonist, Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) is involved in a circular journey to prove his innocence and expose the hive of intrigue. He is involved in chases and romantic interludes that take him from London to the Scottish Highlands and back again and he assumes numerous identities on the way - a milkman, an auto mechanic, a honeymooner, a political speaker among others.

The opening of the film, the first three shorts do not show him above his neck. With his back to the camera, he is followed down the aisle to his seat. He is then assumed to be lost in the crowd. This gives the audience the feeling that he could be anybody. Later when he takes in the identities of a milkman, a mechanic, a politician one realizes that he is Hitchcock's archetypal 'everyman' who unwittingly finds himself in incredible dilemmas.

In one of the brilliantly managed sequences on the train, Richard Hannay throws himself at a lone girl and forces a kiss just as a detective and two policemen pass by their compartment. It reveals his desperation to remain free until he can prove his innocence. In the scene after Annabella staggers into his room with a kitchen knife in her back, Hannay sees her ghostly image (which is superimposed) talking to him, `What you are laughing at right now is true. These men will stop at nothing.' The double exposure achieves a result which is a tad chilling and sad. The hallmark of Hitchcock's style is his ability to completely shock his audience by deliberately playing against how they would be thinking. In such episodes as the murder of the woman in Hannay's apartment or when the vicious professor with the missing finger casually shoots Hannay, the action progresses almost nonchalantly leaving the viewers stunned.

A great story, interesting and likeable characters, slyly incongruous wit, classic Hitchcockian motifs and a great MacGuffin are just a few things that make the The 39 Steps the quintessential Hitchcock.


87 of 95 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?