Way Down South (1939)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Music  |  21 July 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 144 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 5 critic

In the pre-Civil War South, a plantation owner dies and leaves all his possessions, including his slaves, to his young son. While the deceased treated his slaves decently, his corrupt ... See full summary »


(original story and screenplay), (original story and screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Timothy Reid Jr.
Jacques Bouton
Timothy Reid Sr.
Steffi Duna ...
Uncle Caton
Claire Bouton
Martin Dill
Robert Greig ...
Judge Ravenal
Lillian Yarbo ...
Matthew 'Stymie' Beard ...
Gumbo (as Stymie Beard)
Hall Johnson Choir


In the pre-Civil War South, a plantation owner dies and leaves all his possessions, including his slaves, to his young son. While the deceased treated his slaves decently, his corrupt executor abuses them unmercifully, beating them without provocation, and he is planning to sell off the father'e estate--including the slaves--at the earliest opportunity so he and his mistress can steal the money and move to France. The young boy doesn't want to sell his father's estate or break up an of the slave families, and he has to find someone to help him thwart the crooked executor's plans. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Crime | Music






Release Date:

21 July 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La strada del sud  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nobody Knows De Trouble I've Seen
Traditional Negro spiritual
Hummed offscreen by the Hall Johnson Choir for the slaves onscreen
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User Reviews

A Little History Lesson
21 January 2012 | by (Virginia, United States) – See all my reviews

The modern idea that the antebellum South was made up of Simon Legrees and mistreated slaves is balanced by this story of a plantation owner and his son whose loving and familial relations with the servants led the servants to love their work and their master. This was dramatised for the movie, but is not unlike many of the working relationships that existed at the time. One sees a love between men and women of different races that is not very evident today.

This movie is a rare gem of nostalgia, presenting a story that is uncomfortable for many today who want the story to be that blacks and whites have always hated each other. That has not always been so, and I pray that this kind of loving respect (not slavery) would return to our land; that men and women of every race and station would show respect one to another and not succumb to the modern idea that they must resent who they are and feel like victims.

The cane harvest party hosted by the plantation owner and enjoyed by the owner and workers was quite common in the South. Good movie. Great singing!

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