Golden Boy (1939)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  5 September 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,251 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 13 critic

Despite his musical talent, Joe Bonaparte wants to be a boxer.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Joe Bonaparte
Mr. Bonaparte
Eddie Fuseli
Sam Levene ...
Edward Brophy ...
Roxy Lewis (as Edward S. Brophy)
Beatrice Blinn ...
William H. Strauss ...
Mr. Carp
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Newspaperman (scenes deleted)


Joe Bonaparte's father wants him to pursue his musical talent; but Joe wants to be a boxer. Persuading near-bankrupt manager Tom Moody to give him a chance, Joe quickly rises in his new profession. When he has second thoughts Moody's girl Lorna uses feminine wiles to keep him boxing. But when tough gangster Eddie Fuseli wants to "buy a piece" of Joe, Lorna herself begins to have second thoughts...for that and other reasons. Is it too late? Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Famous Play.....Now A Great Picture! See more »


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 September 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'esclave aux mains d'or  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to biographer Bob Thomas, both John Garfield and Tyrone Power turned the role of Joe Bonaparte down. See more »


When Tom, Lorna and Joe leave Tom's office in the first scene, they leave the office door open. The office door gets closed in all the rest of the scenes in the film. See more »


Mr. Carp: A man hits his wife, and it's the first step to fascism.
See more »


Music by Alfonso Salerno
Lyrics by Tullo Gramantieri
See more »

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User Reviews

What a wonderful movie!
10 September 2003 | by (Blauvelt, NY) – See all my reviews

William Holden became a star as a result of this film, but there is no question that Barbara Stanwyck is the real star of this picture. She gives a performance that is beautifully layered and Her performance is nothing short of marvelous (My favorite line is when she says, "I'm my mother's girl"). And those beautiful shoulders!

Everyone knows the story of the boy who is torn between a life of boxing and music. The screenplay is a product of the times that it was written in. How else can you explain dialogue that glorifies men beating their wives? Or the leftist remarks that are spoken by the Bonaparte's friend, Mr. Carp? A black boxer named "Chocolate"?! Never happen today.

Everyone is great. Lee J. Cobb as an Italian is heartbreaking, even if his accent is laid on a little thick (It's like watching Laurence Olivier in "The Jazz Singer"). Sam Levene is good as the brother-in-law. And Joseph Calleia as Fuseli, is wonderful. When Stanwyck enters Holden's dressing room after the fight, he says, "Out Miss Moon, this ain't no cocktail lounge." Wonderful. I would love to see Pacino ham his way through this role.

But it is Miss Stanwyck who stands out. We can be thankful that she gave Holden his opportunity and fought to keep him. We can be even more grateful for this wonderful performance.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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