Hangmen Also Die! (1943)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller  |  15 April 1943 (USA)
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After the Nazi administrator of Czechoslovakia is shot, his assassin tries to elude the Gestapo and struggles with his impulse to give himself up as hostages are executed.



(adaptation) (as Bert Brecht) , (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Prof. Stephen Novotny
Masha Novotny
Emil Czaka
Jan Horak
Margaret Wycherly ...
Ludmilla Novotny
Nana Bryant ...
Mrs. Hellie Novotny
William Roy ...
Boda Novotny (as Billy Roy)
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ...
Alexander Granach ...
Tonio Selwart ...
Chief of Gestapo Kurt Haas
Jonathan Hale ...
Sarah Padden ...
Mrs. Georgia Dvorak
Edmund MacDonald ...


On May 27, 1942 the Nazi Reichsprotector of Bohemia/Moravia, the "Hangman" Reinhard Heydrich, died from the bullets of unidentified resistance fighters. Hangmen Also Die is the story of Heydrich's assassination in fictionalized form. It was Bertolt Brecht's only comparatively successful Hollywood project; the money he received allowed him to write "The Visions of Simone Marchand", "Schwyk in the Second World War" and his adaptation of Webster's "The Duchess of Malfi". Hanns Eisler won an Academy Award for his musical score. Written by J.Arnold Free <arnold@mayahtt.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The shot heard 'round the world! See more »


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Release Date:

15 April 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Never Surrender  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The idea for the film was inspired by the assassination of Gestapo official Reinhard Heydrich by Czech guerrillas and the subsequent reprisals taken by Nazi occupation forces. See more »


In reality, Heydrich was assassinated by a team of Czech exiles sent back to the country by the British government. See more »


Czech Patriot: Your mothers were slimy rats! Their milk was sewer water!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end of the film reads "NOT The End". See more »


Referenced in Contempt (1963) See more »


(The Moldau) (uncredited)
From "Má vlast (My Country)"
Music by Bedrich Smetana
Played in the movie theater
Also played on the radio during dinner
See more »

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User Reviews

Top notch WWII drama
1 November 2002 | by (Kenosha, WI, USA) – See all my reviews

This is loosely based on the true story of a member of the Czech underground assasinating the nazi regional governer, a ruthless fellow they call 'the Hangman'. The story revolves around the assasin and the family that unknowingly hid him from the gestapo. When questioned by the gestapo, the family says the guy was there to see their daughter, who happens to be engaged to another fine gentleman. So this little situation complicates the story, as the gestapo detective,a very ruthless chap, tries to catch them in the lie. From there the story moves along in chilling fashion when 400 townfolks are rounded up to be executed in groups of 10 each day until the assasin is turned in. This causes people to question their inner strength and makes them wonder if it is worth it to sacrifice themselves to keep him hidden. The story gets resolves in a very clever way which I will not reveal. The movie has that film noir/Hitchkockian feel to it with the protagonist being chased down and making clever escapes by the skin of his teeth. Although the movie drags a bit here and there, it ends up being a worthwhile suspenseful drama and also makes you think a bit about what would you do if you were put in that situation.

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