7.8/10
1,886
35 user 14 critic

Heroes for Sale (1933)

A veteran fights drug addiction to make his way in the business world.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Robert Lord (screen play), Wilson Mizner (screen play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Barthelmess ... Tom Holmes
Aline MacMahon ... Mary
Loretta Young ... Ruth
Gordon Westcott ... Roger
Robert Barrat ... Max (as Robert Barratt)
Berton Churchill ... Mr. Winston
Grant Mitchell ... George Gibson
Charley Grapewin ... Pa Dennis (as Charles Grapewin)
Robert McWade ... Dr. Briggs
G. Pat Collins ... Leader of Agitators (as George Pat Collins)
James Murray ... Blind Soldier
Edwin Maxwell ... Laundry Company President
Margaret Seddon Margaret Seddon ... Jeanette Holmes
Arthur Vinton ... Captain Joyce
Robert Elliott ... 'Red' Squad Policeman #1
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Storyline

The saga of Tom Holmes - a man of principles - from the Great War to the Great Depression. Will he ever get a break? His war heroics earn fame and a medal for someone else, and his wounds result in a morphine addiction that costs him a job, his reputation in his home town, and months in a clinic. He goes to Chicago, where he's enterprising and dedicated to his work and his fellow workers, but an invention he champions results in the opposite of his intentions, leading to loss of life and an unjust imprisonment. After release, during the Depression, he must face local "red squads" and vigilante groups jousting out jobless men. Will anyone see his true heroic character? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What Good Are Medals On Tortured Breasts? (Print Ad-Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,((Pittsburgh, Penna.)) 7 July 1933)

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

17 June 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Breadline See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$290,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director William A. Wellman used real hoboes for the fight scene and real laundry workers for the laundry scenes. See more »

Goofs

When Ruth arrives by taxicab at the scene of the riot, the camera moves toward the cab and she is seen letting herself out from the back seat of the passenger side. However, after a jump cut, the driver is reaching around from the front seat of the cab and opening the door for her. See more »

Quotes

Roger Winston: There I was, everybody making a hero of me. I accepted it because I didn't have guts enough to refuse it... It went on, and on - the honors piled up. And every one I got made it more impossible to tell the truth. I couldn't let go. I know that all my promotions and decorations belong to you. I know that I've stolen the credit from a real hero.
See more »


Soundtracks

Who Cares About Tomorrow?
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Tom first meets Ruth
Also played when Tom and Ruth are waiting for Mary to get ready
Also played when Tom is talking to Bill about Alaska
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cynical and Superb
17 December 2007 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Tough film from Warners during the depth of the Depression. Richard Barthelmess is great as the hapless "hero" who endures the misfortunes of WW I and the Depression, addiction and the "red scare." The film also boasts good work from Loretta Young, Aline MacMahon, Gordon Westcott, Charley Grapewin, Berton Churchill, Grant Mitchell, Robert Barrat, and James Murray as the blind solider.

Barthelmess was a major silent star and had a solid career in early talkies in films like THE LAST FLIGHT, THE DAWN PATROL, WEARY RIVER, and others. He also gave one of the all-time great performances in silent film in TOL'ABLE David.

HEROES FOR SALE is terrific because it shows how an ordinary man can beaten by an ordinary life and still be great. As Barthelmess suffers the misfortunes of war and life he seems to grow as a spiritual person. The hypocrisy around him never seems to get to his heart. There's a great scene where Barthelmess is sitting in the rain in a hobo camp when his eyes meet another man's. It's the banker's son (Gordon Westcott) who took the war glory after he thought Barthelmess had been killed. The sanctimonious banker had fired Barthelmess for his morphine addiction, but finally gets caught for stealing from the bank's depositors. The banker and son also did jail time (as Barthelmess did for leading a riot). The ironies of life become full blown there in the rain. A terrific scene.

Barthelmess is wonderful and so is Gordon Westcott (in his best film role). Young and MacMahon are always pleasures to watch.


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