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Wild Boys of the Road (1933)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama | 7 October 1933 (USA)
2:16 | Trailer
In the depths of the Depression, two teenage boys strike out on their own in order to help their struggling parents and find life on the road tougher than expected.


William A. Wellman


Earl Baldwin (screenplay), Daniel Ahern (story "Desperate Youth") (as Daniel Ahearn)
1 win. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Frankie Darro ... Eddie Smith
Edwin Phillips Edwin Phillips ... Tommy Gordon
Rochelle Hudson ... Grace
Dorothy Coonan Wellman ... Sally (as Dorothy Coonan)
Sterling Holloway ... Ollie
Arthur Hohl ... Dr. Henry A. Heckel
Ann Hovey ... Lola
Minna Gombell ... Aunt Carrie
Grant Mitchell ... James Smith
Claire McDowell ... Mrs. Smith
Robert Barrat ... Judge R.H. White
Willard Robertson ... Captain of Detectives


At the bottom of the depression, Tom's mother has been out of work for months when Ed's father loses his job. Not to burden their parents, the two high school sophomore's decide to hop the freights and look for work. Wherever they go, there are many other kids just like them, so Tom, Ed and now Sally stick together. They camp in places like 'Sewer City' as long as they can until the local authorities run them off. They travel all over the mid west and when they get to New York, Ed thinks that they may finally find work. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"You Kids are Marching to Hell!" (Print Ad-Bend Bulletin, ((Bend, Ore.)) 25 May 1934) See more »


Adventure | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in December 2013. See more »


Sally's piece of cake jumps from the plate into her hands between shots. See more »


Edward 'Eddie' Smith: [Discovering that Sally is a girl] He's a she!
See more »


Featured in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »


In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town
Music by John Siras and Jack Little
Played when the kids scheme their way into the school dance
See more »

User Reviews

Teenagers take on the Great Depression
14 December 2000 | by wsureckSee all my reviews

One of the surprisingly realistic dramas that Hollywood created in the early 1930's has teenagers hitting the road during the hard times of the Great Depression.

With their east coast (New "Yawk?") accents, and rough around the edges "Bowery Boys"-style (harken, Leo Gorcey!), Frankie Darrow and a gang of displaced down-on-their-luck (formerly middle class?) teens band together and roam the countryside on foot or by rail, getting into hot water seemingly everywhere they go. Amazing graphic scenes for 1933 include a kid's leg being amputated by a train and an attempted rape scene.

Miserable living conditions and hunger are also depicted with kids lying cheating and stealing to stay alive, but willing to straighten themselves out when given a chance.

You'd think Warner Brothers was taking a risk financing a film that was so bleak and lacking in entertainment value for people that may have been LIVING the kinds of scenes shown, but the film also seems like a propaganda piece for Roosevelt's New Deal. There's a Roosevelt look-alike judge who places his hand, almost in a blessing, on poor Frankie's head and says "things are going to get better very soon".

Overall, Wild Boys of the Road is an interesting social drama that deserves more exposure and recognition.

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Release Date:

7 October 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Az utca vad kölykei See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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