22 user 8 critic

Hell's Heroes (1929)

Passed | | Action, Crime, Drama | 5 January 1930 (USA)
When three men rob a bank, a guard is killed and the three bandits escape into the desert where they lose their horses in a storm. Finding a woman who gives birth, they are made godfathers ... See full summary »


William Wyler


Peter B. Kyne (from the story by: "The Three Godfathers"), Tom Reed (adaptation) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Charles Bickford ... Bob Sangster
Raymond Hatton ... Tom 'Barbwire' Gibbons
Fred Kohler ... 'Wild Bill' Kearney
Fritzi Ridgeway ... Mother
Joe De La Cruz Joe De La Cruz ... José (as Jo de la Cruz)
Walter James Walter James ... Sheriff
Maria Alba ... Carmelita
Buck Connors ... Parson Jones (as 'Buck' Conners)


When three men rob a bank, a guard is killed and the three bandits escape into the desert where they lose their horses in a storm. Finding a woman who gives birth, they are made godfathers only to learn that the baby's father was the man they killed in the holdup. When the woman dies they head back, but they have little water and it is 40 miles. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Flaming passion, cruel greed, glorious self-sacrifice- they're all in this piercingly dramatic story of three bad men who became the godfathers of a new-born babe in the heart of Death Valley. (Print Ad-Carbon County News, ((Red Lodge, Mont.)) 6 March 1930) See more »


Action | Crime | Drama | Western


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film was the first sound film directed by William Wyler. See more »

Alternate Versions

Universal also issued this movie as a silent, with film length 1778.81 m. See more »


Version of Broncho Billy and the Baby (1915) See more »


Oh! Susanna
(1848) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played on a harmonica by Raymond Hatton
See more »

User Reviews

Karma wins the day
11 February 2011 | by AAdaSCSee all my reviews

4 outlaws turn up in a small town to rob the bank and 3 of them get away after shooting the cashier Frank Edwards (Edward Hearn) dead. We follow Bob (Charles Bickford), Bill (Fred Kohler) and Tom (Raymond Hatton) as they make their getaway and encounter a woman in labour. She gives birth and dies but not before asking the 3 men to look after her baby whose father is the cashier that they have just killed. The bad guys decide to return to the town that they have just robbed and the baby gets even with the killers....

This film has many good scenes, eg, the robbery and the final scene at the town's church. The episode where the 3 men encounter the woman is gripping (will they rape her?) and the dialogue tense, intercut with poignant moments, for instance while Bill and Tom humorously discuss cleaning the baby, we cut to a shot of Bob burying the woman. Another example is an upsetting scene where Bob and Bill leave Tom by a tree. The whole story moves along at a good pace.

The cast are excellent. Bickford is a real bad guy and very dislikeable at the beginning. Kohler and Hatton are more likable characters and I enjoyed the journey that the film takes you on as we warm to the 3 bad guys who keep their promise to look after the baby. There are moments of humour, eg, when they first hold the baby and are unsure as to what to do and Bill says "how far do you think you can throw it?" and moments of harshness.

Definitely a film to watch again.

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

5 January 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hell's Heroes See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Equipment)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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