The Road Back (1937)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  1 June 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 81 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

After World War I, a group of former German soldiers try to adjust to civilian life.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Cromwell ...
Maurice Murphy ...
Larry J. Blake ...
John Emery ...
Captain Von Hagen
Henry Hunter ...
Eugene Gericke ...
Giesicke (as Gene Garrick)
Barbara Read ...
Ernst's Mother
Ernst's Father
Marilyn Harris ...
Maria - Ernst's Sister
Jean Rouverol ...


At the end of the world war, several German soldiers return home to their city to find the social fabric and civil order disintegrating as communist gangs roam the streets and food and jobs become scarce. Riots and massacres lead the erstwhile average men to become cynical and desperate. Written by WesternOne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 June 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Road Back  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Fearful that this film would not do well overseas, the new regime at Universal Pictures severely edited the film before release, removing much of the strongly anti-Nazi slant that author Erich Maria Remarque included in the original novel, and which director James Whale intended to retain in the film version. See more »


Referenced in Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »


Mademoiselle from Armentieres
(1919) (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Tunbridge
See more »

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User Reviews

Pretty great neglected Whale
25 March 2015 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Saw this at what is now presumed to be the final Cinefest, a Syracuse festival of old films that never get shown, and it was a highlight. An antiwar epic that was Whale's followup to "Show Boat," and two more different films can't be imagined, it's an impassioned look at the last days of World War 1 from the Germans' perspective, and the aftermath. Whale worked from a good screenplay by R.C. Sheriff (he'd also filmed Sheriff's "Journey's End" years before), and the war sequences are quite stunning. What hurts the film is some probably studio-imposed comic relief in the second half, undercutting the strong drama, and a leading man, John King, who simply wasn't up to it. But there's an excellent supporting cast, including Slim Summerville, whose role is partly but not entirely comic, and who shows subtleties his comic performances couldn't contain. Other unexpected people turn up, like Louise Fazenda and Dwight Frye, and the third act allows for some fine antiwar sermonizing that's still pertinent. It's superbly designed and directed, and one wishes it could be shown more.

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