The Purple Gang (1959)

 |  Crime, Drama  |  5 January 1960 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 106 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 4 critic

The story of the infamous Purple Gang, a ring of bootleggers, hijackers and killers in 1920s' Detroit.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Police Lt. William P. Harley
William Joseph 'Honeyboy' Willard
Elaine Edwards ...
Gladys Harley
Marc Cavell ...
Henry Abel 'Hank' Smith
Jody Lawrance ...
Joan MacNamara
Suzanne Ridgeway ...
Daisy (as Suzy Marquette)
Eddie Olsen (as Joseph Turkel)
Victor Creatore ...
Al Olsen
Paul Dubov ...
Thomas Allen aka Killer Burke
Ray Boyle ...
Tom Olsen (as Dirk London)
Kathleen Lockhart ...
Nestor Paiva ...
Laurence Orlofsky
Lou Krugman ...
Dr. Riordan
Robert Anderson ...
Police Commissioner
Mauritz Hugo ...


A teen-age rat pack of the Detroit slums, the Purple Gang, headed by psychotic William Joseph "Honeyboy" Willard, teams with adult hijackers during prohibition and in three years controls the city's underworld. Detective Bill Harley is given a special assignment to break the gang. To intimidate Harley, Honeyboy and his chief henchman, Hank Smith, terrorize his pregnant wife, Gladys, who loses her baby and dies. The gang moves in on the cleaning and dyeing industry, which calls in the Mafia for protection. Hank tries to tip off Harley as to where the Mafia hoods are holed up but Honeyboy, mistaking his intentions, has Killer Burke seal him alive in a coffin and drop him in the Detroit river. Honeyboy locates the Mafia headquarters in an apartment building and goes there with two of his men. They break in and machine-gun the three Mafia leaders, Licovetti, Ricco and Castiglione. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They Matched Capone Kill For Kill, in a tidal wave of terror! See more »


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

5 January 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Quadrilha Escarlate  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The real Purple Gang was made up of mostly Jewish members. The script of this film gave the members non-Jewish names. See more »

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User Reviews

Chillingly charismatic
14 March 2002 | by (Sapporo, Japan) – See all my reviews

Robert Blake's portrayal of Honeyboy is chillingly charismatic. Honeyboy leads his gang of teenage hoodlums to success in the big leagues of organized crime. The key to Honeyboy's success and his dedication as a "leader" lies in the fact that he is a sociopathic killer and a psychopathic egomaniac. Robert Blake plays it all to the hilt and still manages to make Honeyboy cute and sympathetic.

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