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Gangster's Boy (1938)

Not Rated | | Drama | 16 November 1938 (USA)
A popular high school valedictorian and star athlete becomes a pariah when it's discovered that his father is a former bootlegger.


William Nigh


Robert Hardy Andrews (screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews), Karl Brown (story) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Jackie Cooper ... Larry Kelly
Robert Warwick ... Tim Kelly
Lucy Gilman Lucy Gilman ... Julia Davis
Louise Lorimer ... Mrs. Kelly
Tommy Wonder Tommy Wonder ... Bill Davis
Selmer Jackson ... Judge Roger Davis
Betty Blythe ... Mrs. Davis
Huntley Gordon ... School Principal (as Huntly Gordon)
Herbert Evans ... Stevens - The Butler
William Gould ... District Attorney Edward Jameson
Jack Kennedy Jack Kennedy ... Police Sergeant
Bobby Stone Bobby Stone ... Salvatore


Senior Larry Kelly has been chosen valedictorian and is looking forward with best friend Bill Davis to a West Point appointment. In addition, he is romantically involved with Molly Davis, Bill's sister. Larry's father, Tim 'Knuckles' Kelly, becomes reunited with his wife and son after a long absence. They buy a house in a well-to-do neighborhood next door to the Davis family, but when the local newspaper reveals that Tim is an ex-bootlegger, Judge Davis, a harsh disciplinarian, forbids his children to see Larry. Although many consider Larry a pariah, his closest friends and the principal remain loyal. When Bill accidentally runs over a bicyclist while driving Larry's car and a whiskey bottle is discovered in the back seat, Larry takes the blame for his friend. When the truth comes to light, everyone involved realizes Larry's character and integrity, and the two families become reconciled. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Yesterday CHEERED! Today SHUNNED!




Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

16 November 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

En gangsters son See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film received its earliest documented telecasts in New York City Thursday 22 July 1948 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Chicago Thursday 13 January 1949 on WBKB (Channel 4), and in Los Angeles Wednesday 15 March 1950 on KTSL (Channel 2). See more »


Referenced in Murder, My Sweet (1944) See more »


Stop Beatin' Round the Mulberry Bush
Written by Clay Boland and Bickley Reichner
Danced by The Hollywood Jitterbugs
See more »

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User Reviews

Just Whose Code Does Jackie Follow?
10 May 2010 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In this film Jackie Cooper plays this incredibly straight arrow high school kid who is a star athlete, star academician, plays drums in the local band and dreams of going to West Point with his good friend Tommy Wonder. They're friends even though Cooper lives on the wrong side of the tracks and his father is something of a traveling man. But he's come home to stay now and he's loaded with dough. Who would suspect that Cooper, son of Robert Warwick, is really a Gangster's Boy.

Comes as much of a shock to Jackie as the rest of the town when a nosy reporter breaks the scoop. Overnight he becomes a pariah, the only one who knew was Jackie's mother Louise Lorimer and she's been keeping the secret all these years. It's Wonder's father Selmer Jackson who is leading the shunning of Warwick and his family in the town, though his own kids don't think it's fair.

But Cooper proves more than his worth when he rather stupidly takes the blame for an automobile accident where a kid on bicycle is hit. It was an accident, but there was liquor found in the car. Cooper's ambition maybe West Point, but his code seems to come from the underworld, about not ratting. And of course everyone assumes he's to blame.

No gangland shootouts here, no gangster dialog, instead this is a maudlin story from Monogram with little production values and characters quite unbelievable. The players however are sincere and do give it their best shot. It's one terribly dated film and not very believable.

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