Dead End (1937)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  27 August 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,187 users  
Reviews: 46 user | 33 critic

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 ...
Billy Halop ...
Huntz Hall ...
Bobby Jordan ...
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
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Did You Know?


Samuel Goldwyn acquired the rights to Sidney Kingsley's play for $165,000 - an exorbitant amount of money at the time. The play had been a huge success on Broadway (which is why it commanded such a big fee) and Goldwyn purchased it with the intention of filming it largely uncut, knowing that he would have many run-ins with the Hays Office over the content. See more »


Milton 'Milty': You think I'm some dope?
Spit: Yeah, a dope what smells on ice.
Tommy Gordon: Stand up to him, Milty. Stand up to him.
Milton 'Milty': What's a matter? You wanna fight?
Spit: Yeah.
Milton 'Milty': Ya do?
Spit: Yeah!
Milton 'Milty': Well, join the army!
See more »


Referenced in Summer of Sam (1999) See more »


Girl of My Dreams
(1927) (uncredited)
Written by Sunny Clapp
Played after Francey leaves Martin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Still powerful
17 August 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Excellent drama of the New York tenements of 1937 where the rich people live along the same street as the poor people. Movie focuses on two young lovers (Sylvia Sydney, Joel McCrea), killer Baby Face Martin (Humphrey Bogart) and the Dead End Kids (later to become the Bowery Boys). From the incredible opening shot it basically focuses on the kids--it shows the harrowing lives the kids have to live through and how Sydney and McCrea try to keep them good while Bogart teaches them how to rob and kill. Pretty graphic for its day and still strong. Excellent performances by all, especially Bogart, Sydney and Billy Halop (as one of the kids). Also Marjorie Main, Claire Trevor and Ward Bond shine in supporting roles.

This had huge censorship problems--it was adapted from a play and was HEAVILY cut (the language was MUCH stronger in the play and when the kids went swimming they weren't wearing bathing suits!) and Warner Bros. had to fight to keep it strong. Aside from a nice, moral ending this is pretty gritty. A must-see and seeing Bogart, Sydney and McCrea so young is amusing.

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