Blockade (1938)

 |  Drama, War  |  17 June 1938 (USA)
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Reviews: 11 user | 3 critic

A simple peasant is forced to take up arms to defend his farm during the Spanish Civil War. Along the way he falls in love with Russian whose father is involved in espionage.



(original screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leo Carrillo ...
Andre Gallinet
Edward Grant
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Basil, Norma's Father
Robert Warwick ...
Fred Kohler ...
Pietro (as Fred Kohler Sr.)
Carlos De Valdez ...
Major Del Rio
Peter Godfrey ...
Roderigo - Cafe Magician
Nick Thompson ...
Rosina Galli ...
William B. Davidson ...
Commandant (as Wm. B. Davidson)
Lupita Tovar ...
Cabaret Girl
Peasant Girl


A simple peasant is forced to take up arms to defend his farm during the Spanish Civil War. Along the way he falls in love with Russian whose father is involved in espionage. Written by Herman Seifer <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Romance under Fire ! Love versus Bullets and a million souls


Drama | War


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Release Date:

17 June 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Castles in Spain  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original title of this film was "The River is Blue" and the original director was to be Lewis Milestone. Kurt Weill even wrote music for the original project that was never used (lyrics by 'Ann Ronell)'. The title was changed to "The Rising Tide" and "Castles in Spain," then finally to "Blockade." The topic of the Spanish Civil War was politically sensitive and there is some hint that the upheavals of the original project were due to the political content of the film. See more »


[last lines]
Marco: Where is the conscience of the world?
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Referenced in Trumbo (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Propaganda That Fails To Propagandize
1 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

To paraphrase the late great Father Coughlin's jibe at the Roosevelt government's provision of "relief that failed to relieve", this inept film on the Spanish Civil War provided propaganda that failed to propagandize. That, at least to this viewer, is the only thought that lingered after suffering through almost 90 minutes of Blockade. I say this with a great deal of reluctance because I have always considered myself a great fan of both the principals of this film, Madeleine Carroll and Henry Fonda, but, alas, not even these two cinematic greats could salvage this bummer. In my quest to apportion blame I suppose the the script writer, a certain John Henry Lawson, is as good a place as any to start. The clunky lines he puts in the mouth of Fonda, a peasant hero of the so-called "republican" cause--particularly his closing monologue--are grounds for confinement in the most austere of labor camps courtesy of his obvious favorite, Comrade Joseph Stalin. I was especially struck by the tepidity of the romantic interludes with the beautiful Carroll, suggesting that a proletarian partisan like Mr. Lawson has little feeling for the more sublime side of human emotions. All of this I could excuse if Blockade offered anything approaching effective political propaganda if that was what it offered; but, at the risk of being tedious, that was precisely where it failed the most.

For political propaganda that both entertains and persuades, let me suggest Casablanca. For political propaganda that offers only a few glimpses of the radiant Madeleine Carroll and nothing more, I recommend Blockade. That, unfortunately, is not enough to salvage this less than scintillating 1930s leftist pap.

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