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Dead End (1937)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  27 August 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,072 users  
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The Dead End Kids, an unemployed architect, and gangster Baby Face Martin interact with an East Side neighborhood over one day and night.



(screen play), (based upon the play by)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Wendy Barrie ...
Marjorie Main ...
Billy Halop ...
Huntz Hall ...
Bobby Jordan ...
Leo Gorcey ...
Spit (as Leo B. Gorcey)
Gabriel Dell ...
Bernard Punsly ...
Charles Peck ...
Minor Watson ...


The Dead End Kids are introduced in their intricate East Side slum, overlooked by the apartments of the rich. Their antics, some funny, some vicious, alternate with subplots: unemployed architect Dave is torn between Drina, sweet but equally poor, and Kay, a rich man's mistress; gangster Baby Face Martin returns to his old neighborhood and finds that nobody is glad to see him. Then violent crime, both juvenile and adult, impacts the neighborhood and its people. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 August 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead End: Cradle of Crime  »

Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Item 13 is incorrect. The tenements where the UN was built ended at 47th Street and First Avenue. The 53rd Street tenements still exists on First Avenue. The location on 53rd Street across from the River House was a coal/lumber yard and was replaced by 60 Sutton Place South in the mid to late 1950's. See more »


[the police are looking for Tommy after he has a fight with Philip Griswald and then injures Philip's father]
Dave Connell: Don't worry, Drina. He knows his way around - he can take care of himself.
Drina Gordon: He can take care of himself too well. How can he have done such a thing? Where does he learn about knives and...
Dave Connell: He had an expert teacher.
[refers to Martin]
Dave Connell: Anyway it's not hard to learn in a place like this.
Drina Gordon: But he's not a bad kid - not really bad. He never has been.
Dave Connell: The famous 'Baby Face' Martin used to live on ...
See more »


Referenced in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) See more »


(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Carmen Lombardo and John Jacob Loeb
Lyrics by Edward Heyman
Played at the upstairs party and sung by Huntz Hall in the street
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An "End" That Comes In Dead First
10 July 2006 | by (Gulf Breeze, Florida) – See all my reviews

I recently watched this film for the first time in many years and I would like to comment in particular on Humphrey Bogart's performance as Baby Face Martin. In the Depression days of the 1930's many citizens admired top criminals who successfully opposed the law (i.e., John Dillinger), in the belief that the law itself was part of the corrupt, elitist system that brought Depression woes upon them and theirs. Martin's character fit this role to a "T" and it shows in his bravery, courage and hatred of the police. A many-faceted character, it also reveals his love for mother and former girlfriend and his gut desire to settle down to a normal lifestyle, abandoning his bloody career. Of course, it is too late for him to turn it around. I believe that although not yet a star, this was Bogart's greatest role, arguably on a par with The Treasure of Sierra Madre. Incidentally, a little known and seldom shown "B" film from the 1940's, the spooky Return of Dr. X, had Bogart as an absolutely chilling "Dr. X", resurrected from the dead. I highly recommend this for Bogie fans. This multi-talented actor could definitely have become a star of horror films had he been so inclined.

Allen Jenkins, as his devoted cohort "Hunk" in Dead End, gave a fine performance in probably his only serious role in a long career as a supporting actor in comedy parts. Really a shame. His fight, gun in hand, with Joel McRae in the alley could not have been more realistic, to my way of thinking. The rest of the cast, indeed, was flawless. And how about those Dead End Kids? Although only six years old when the film came out it was reissued frequently and I clearly remember the mothers of that day did all in their power to prevent their children from seeing the film, fearing, perhaps not unrealistically, that they would emulate the "Kids". Wouldn't happen today, now would it? One contributor here thought that Dead End should be remade, citing all the problems of today's youth. I totally disagree. This would only be duplication, ad nauseum, of the same third rate trash -- for the most part -- that never ends in today's films and on the tube. Dead End, however was the forerunner in showing juvenile delinquency and it's connection to -- and likely development into -- serious crime. This last is just another reason to heap praise upon this eminently laudable film. And in closing, I would like to say that while 1937 was not a particularly notable year for the country in general, being in the throes of The Great Depression, as far as the efforts of the film industry went, it was a very, very good year. I for one, am thankful for it.

Just recently I finished the 1971 autobiography "Cagney By Cagney". During the filming of "Angels With Dirty Faces" which one might say is a sequel to "Dead End", Cagney ran afoul of the Dead End Kids, in the person of Dead End Kid Leo Gorcey, who was proving uncooperative and insolent. Cagney, in reality a tough guy, gave Gorcey an elbow to the head that ended his behavior. Cagney says further that "in a film with the Dead End Kids" the Kids' took issue with a statement by Bogart and then took off his trousers. Bogart, the consummate gangster in film, was nothing of the sort in real life. The film would have to have been "Dead End" -- the idea obviously emanating from de-trousering the rich kid.

18 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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