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You Only Live Once (1937)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 January 1937 (USA)
The public defender's secretary and an ex-convict get married and try to make a life together, but a series of disasters sends their lives spiraling out of control.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Graham Baker)

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Complete credited cast:
Joan Graham
Eddie Taylor
Stephen Whitney
Bonnie Graham
Father Dolan
Doctor Hill
Charles 'Chic' Sale ...
Ethan (as Chic Sale)
Roger (as Guinn Williams)
Warden Wheeler
Walter De Palma ...
Monk Mendall


Joan is the secretary to the public defender in a large city. She is in love with a career criminal named Eddie, and she believes that he is a basically good person who just had some tough breaks. She uses her influence to get him released early, and he tries to go straight after marrying her, but things don't work out, and they both go on the lam. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@eworld.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He robbed... kidnapped... he murdered... Because of the love of one woman! See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Time Loser  »

Box Office


$575,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was one of two dozen Walter Wanger films re-released theatrically in the 1940s by Masterpiece Productions, and ultimately sold by them for USA television syndication in 1950. It was first telecast in New York City on WCBS Saturday 26 August 1950. See more »


Joan Graham: We may never find happiness
[says Joan during the escape]
Joan Graham: but we have the right to live.
See more »


Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une histoire seule (1988) See more »


A Thousand Dreams of You
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Louis Alter
See more »

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User Reviews

Compelling drama of human destiny
14 December 2001 | by (Deltona, Florida) – See all my reviews

Director Fritz Lang helms this well mounted drama of a struggling couple. Henry Fonda is a petty crook attempting to reform when he is framed on a murder charge. He eventually breaks out of prison and tries to escape to Canada with his wife (Sylvia Sidney) only fate seems to be against them. A nice blend of drama and romance with Fonda and Sidney most impressive in the starring roles. The fine supporting cast includes William Gargan, Barton MacLane, Margaret Hamilton, and Ward Bond. Unfortunately this gem of 1937 is not available on video and is seldom shown on TV anymore.

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