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Streets of New York (1939)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  12 April 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 64 users  
Reviews: 6 user

Jimmy, an idealistic and hard-working young man, has just arrived in New York City with dreams of making his fortune. Along the way he faces numerous obstacles, opportunities and ... See full summary »


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Title: Streets of New York (1939)

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A popular high school valedictorian and star athlete becomes a pariah when it's discovered that his father is a former bootlegger.

Director: William Nigh
Stars: Jackie Cooper, Robert Warwick, Lucy Gilman


Credited cast:
Martin Spellman ...
William McKinley 'Gimpy' Smith
Marjorie Reynolds ...
Anne Carroll
Dick Purcell ...
T.P. 'Tap' Keenan
George Cleveland ...
Pop O'Toole
Judge Carroll
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...
Police Officer Burke
Sidney Miller ...
Jiggsy, newsboy
David Durand ...
Spike Morgan
Buddy Pepper ...
Flatfoot, newsboy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Gould ...
Undetermined Supporting Role (scenes deleted)


Jimmy, an idealistic and hard-working young man, has just arrived in New York City with dreams of making his fortune. Along the way he faces numerous obstacles, opportunities and temptations, but through it all, he considers the actions of his hero, Abraham Lincoln, for guidance. Will Jimmy see his dreams come true, or will he be another of the countless hopefuls chewed up and spit out by New York's mean streets? Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

12 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Abe Lincoln of Ninth Avenue  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

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User Reviews

A little heavy-handed but a nice ending.
13 January 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Streets of New York" is not a particularly good film. It has a HUGE dose of schmaltz and the main character seems way too good to be true. However, despite these things and a very low budget, I actually found it to be a decent time-passer.

Jackie Cooper plays Jimmy---a very nice young man growing up in poverty. He is forced to work very hard for a teenager and there are many forces around him pushing him towards a life of crime (such as his gangster brother). Yet, despite all this, he's an amazingly optimistic and caring young man--with a huge heart and a desire to make something of himself. He takes night classes and hopes to one day go to law school. Now he COULD go for free--with his hood brother agreeing to pay all the expenses. However, he doesn't like the strings that are attached to the deal and he's just too decent to consider it.

Throughout the film, Jimmy runs a corner news stand and employs a group of other underprivileged young men to sell papers. The youngest of the group is 'gimpy'--probably one of the more politically incorrect names in 1930s films, as the young boy is disabled and walks with crutches. However, a neighborhood punk keeps threatening Jimmy and his workers. What's to become of this group of nice but desperate youngsters? At times, the film seems a bit heavy-handed and lays on the schmaltz very heavy at times. However, if you can take it, the film is rather sweet and enjoyable. Some may hate the ending, as it's a bit vague and leaves the viewer wondering what's to become of the kids, but I like this actually, as life ISN'T full of answers and I think the viewers can infer what would happen next without it being handed to them. Not a great film by any stretch, but a nice little time-passer.

By the way, if you are wondering why Cooper was playing in such a low-budget film, once Cooper became a young man and was no longer the cute little kid, MGM dropped him like a hot potato. It's a shame, as the guy could still act and you wonder what his career would have been like if they'd kept him under contract. He DID go on to appear in a ton of films and TV shows as an adult, but much of it was from lesser quality studios.

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