34 user 17 critic

Bullets or Ballots (1936)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 June 1936 (USA)
3:00 | Trailer
When a crusader against rackets is murdered, a grand jury battles the rackets by promoting McLaren to be in charge of the cleanup. He fires NYPD Detective Blake, who punches him and joins the racket.


William Keighley


Seton I. Miller (screen play), Martin Mooney (story) | 1 more credit »





Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... Johnny Blake
Joan Blondell ... Lee Morgan
Barton MacLane ... Al Kruger
Humphrey Bogart ... 'Bugs' Fenner
Frank McHugh ... Herman
Joe King ... Capt. Dan McLaren (as Joseph King)
Dick Purcell ... Ed Driscoll (as Richard Purcell)
George E. Stone ... Wires Kagel
Joseph Crehan ... Grand Jury Spokesman
Henry O'Neill ... Ward Bryant
Henry Kolker ... Mr. Hollister
Gilbert Emery ... Mr. Thorndyke
Herbert Rawlinson ... Mr. Caldwell
Louise Beavers ... Nellie LaFleur
Norman Willis ... Louie Vinci


After police captain, McLaren becomes commissioner, former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake's sincere in his effort to join the mob. "Buggs" Fenner thinks Blake is a police agent. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


True as you're sitting here (original print ad) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Third of four feature films that Joan Blondell and Humphrey Bogart made together. The other three are Big City Blues (1932), Three on a Match (1932), and Stand-In (1937). They first appeared together in a short - Broadway's Like That (1930), which was also Blondell's first film appearance. See more »


When Herman is delivering a bag of money to Lee Morgan, he takes out a roll of coins and covers it with his right hand so that it is barely visible. In the next cut, however, the roll is now protruding out of his hand and quite visible. See more »


[first lines]
Al Kruger: What time does the crime picture start?
See more »


Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Edward G. Robinson (2015) See more »


The Lady in Red
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Allie Wrubel
Whistled by Edward G. Robinson
See more »

User Reviews

William Keighley directed the film with a firm and fresh efficiency
12 April 2005 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Following his brutal portrayal in "The Petrified Forest," Bogart became a much more articulate and calculating killer in "Bullets or Ballots," a gangster thriller starring Edward G. Robinson as a crusading crime-buster, modeled after true-life cop Johnny Broderick, known as "the toughest cop on Broadway," who pretended to be thrown off the police force in order to infiltrate Bogart's gang and get the evidence to bring him to justice…

Bogart revealed no emotion whatever as he goes about his gun-happy chores of shooting a respected newspaperman as well as his partner-in-crime, Barton MacLane, in his characteristic double-cross…

The exciting finale found both Bogart and Robinson in a blazing showdown, an unusual ending for this period in film history, but one which Robinson had fought hard to retain...

William Keighley directed the film with a firm and fresh efficiency

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Release Date:

6 June 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Balas o votos See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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