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:
Billy Halop ...
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?


William Wyler originally wanted to film on location on the streets of New York, but producer Samuel Goldwyn insisted that it be made in the studio. Art director Richard Day was assigned to design the sets, and made one of the most convincing and elaborate sets in film history. 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 Easter Yeggs (1947) See more »


The Prisoner's Song
(1924) (uncredited)
Written by Guy Massey
Played on a kazoo by Bobby Jordan and sung by the boys
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Well Done --- and a superb cameo
4 December 2004 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

Considering all the talent involved, it was hardly surprising to find this a first rate movie. Didn't you want to slap Bogart around ... well, that is actually what compelled me to make this entry. Among the handful of superlative cameo (say 2 to 8 minutes in length)performances I have seen in my 40 plus years of movie-going, Dead End features one of them.

Marjorie Main, almost as unlikely a film character (think Ma Kettle!) as one could imagine, turned in what I consider a masterpiece. Read that she repeated her stage role, and wow, that slap, that dialog and that role. Bravo!

29 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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