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Brother Orchid (1940)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  8 June 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,656 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 15 critic

When retired racket boss John Sarto tries to reclaim his place and former friends try to kill him, he finds solace in a monastery and reinvents himself as a pious monk.



(screen play), (based on the story by: Collier's Magazine), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Flo Addams
Jack Buck
Brother Superior
Clarence Fletcher
Willie The Knife
Charles D. Brown ...
Brother Wren
Brother Goodwin
Morgan Conway ...
Philadelphia Powell
Richard Lane ...
Mugsy O'Day
Paul Guilfoyle ...
Red Martin
John Ridgely ...
Texas Pearson
Joseph Crehan ...
Brother MacEwen
Wilfred Lucas ...
Brother MacDonald
Curley Matthews


Gang boss Little John Sarto returns from Europe where he was looking for "class" to find his old mob taken over by Jack Burns. When he puts together a rival gang he gets wounded and seeks refuge in a monastery. He is gradually transformed by the simple, sincere brothers and, after one last gangland appearance, decides he has found class at last in the monastery. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 June 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Orchid, der Gangsterbruder  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 16, 1941 with Donald Crisp reprising his film role. See more »


Possibly deliberate mistake by the film makers, when John Sarto goes to get Willie the Knife (Allen Jenkins) released from the SanatoRium, the sign of the institution is misspelt "Pattonsville Private Sanitarium" See more »


Brother Superior: When the heart speaks, Brother Orchid, other hearts must listen.
See more »


Referenced in Footsteps in the Dark (1941) See more »


Devil May Care
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played during scene at Fat Dutchy's Tavern
See more »

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User Reviews

Found Religion.
4 November 2013 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

Lloyd Bacon directed this gangster comedy that stars Edward G. Robinson as Little John Sarto, a gang boss who, after he returns from an extended European trip, finds that he has been overthrown by subordinate Jack Burns(played by Humphrey Bogart). After escaping an assassination attempt, he retreats to the mountains where he is restored to health by a monastery run by monks(played by Donald Crisp, Cecil Kellaway, among others). John finds a renewed faith in humanity by his extended stay here, where he is expected to work, and not be a big shot. However, the past catches up with him and unfinished business must be settled... Funny and insightful film with fine performances, script, and direction; quite warm, charming, though sadly little-known.

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