6.9/10
1,822
44 user 28 critic

They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 January 1939 (USA)
A boxer flees believing he has comitted a murder while he was drunk.

Director:

Busby Berkeley

Writers:

Sig Herzig (screen play), Bertram Millhauser (from a novel by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Youthful tough Johnnie Stone has fallen under the influence of petty crook Frank Wilson, who involves him and robbery and murder using his sister's boyfriend's stolen gun.

Director: Lewis Seiler
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Gale Page, Billy Halop
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jim Carter moves in on the McWade's carnival concession which shows scenes from Dante's "Inferno". He makes it a going concern, marrying Betty along the way. An inspector calls the ... See full summary »

Director: Harry Lachman
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Claire Trevor, Henry B. Walthall
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

On parole (he was framed of course), Larry Rhodes can't carry a gun. And his sweetheart is in danger of a forced marriage...

Director: David Howard
Stars: George O'Brien, Kay Sutton, Walter Miller
Impact (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A unfaithful wife plots with her lover to kill her husband, but the lover is accidentally killed instead. The husband stays in hiding, and lets his wife be charged with conspiracy.

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A rich businessman wants to marry his secretary, but first he has to pass muster with her middle-class family.

Director: Reinhold Schünzel
Stars: Robert Young, Lana Turner, Lew Ayres
Quicksand (1950)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After taking 20 dollars from his employer to go on a date with plans to repay it the next day, an auto mechanic falls into increasingly disastrous circumstances for more and more money which rapidly spirals out of his control.

Director: Irving Pichel
Stars: Mickey Rooney, Jeanne Cagney, Barbara Bates
Certificate: Passed Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A blind detective and his seeing-eye dog investigate a murder and discover a Nazi plot.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Edward Arnold, Ann Harding, Donna Reed
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Jim Curtayne, formerly a successful defense attorney who is now a recovering alcoholic, attempts a comeback when he defends a neighbor's son facing a homicide charge.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Pat O'Brien, Diana Lynn
Maisie (1939)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A showgirl stranded in a Wyoming town ends up being hired as a maid at a ranch.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: Robert Young, Ann Sothern, Ruth Hussey
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Adam Lemp, the Dean of the Briarwood Music Foundation, has passed on his love of music to his four early adult daughters - Thea, Emma, Kay and Ann - who live with him and his sister, the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Claude Rains, John Garfield, Jeffrey Lynn
Comedy | Music | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After one member of their group is murdered, the performers at a burlesque house must work together to find out who the killer is before they strike again.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Michael O'Shea, J. Edward Bromberg
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Garfield ... Johnnie
The Dead End Kids The Dead End Kids ... (as The 'Dead End' Kids)
Claude Rains ... Detective Phelan
Ann Sheridan ... Goldie
May Robson ... Grandma
Gloria Dickson ... Peggy
Billy Halop ... Tommy
Bobby Jordan ... Angel
Leo Gorcey ... Spit
Huntz Hall ... Dippy
Gabriel Dell ... T.B.
Bernard Punsly ... Milt (as Bernard Punsley)
Robert Gleckler ... Doc Ward
John Ridgely ... Magee
Barbara Pepper ... Budgie
Edit

Storyline

Johnnie is a boxer. The same evening he won the world championship, he is charged for the murder of a reporter and is taken for dead. Running away from New York, he ends up in a ranch in Arizona, run by an old lady as a work farm for delinquent teenagers. He falls in love with Peggy and became the teenagers' hero. But there is that New York Detective, Phelan, that does not believe he is dead and is chasing him... An unlikely scenario, but not a so bad film. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

I am a fugitive! I am hunted by the mob! I am wanted by the cops! I am forgotten by decent women! (re-release print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 January 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Became a Criminal See more »

Filming Locations:

Palm Desert, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The fourth of seven movies featuring The Dead End Kids. In the original film, The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933), the kids are played by Mickey Rooney and several cast members of the our "Our Gang" comedy shorts--a much younger crowd. See more »

Goofs

Detective Phalen (Claude Raines) is sent by his Captain halfway across the country to track down boxer jack Dorney, all by himself. Then and now, members of the NYPD were/are NOT permitted to leave the state of New York without being accompanied by at least ONE other officer. This is done for safety reasons. See more »

Quotes

Johnnie Bradfield, aka Jack Dorney: If you're rootin' for me, I'll go in there and bang the ears off the biggest guy in the world.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The AFI Catalogue has a different cast ordering, suggesting that changes were made for a re-release. Ann Sheridan is billed 6th and there are other minor changes when compared with the print currently shown on Turner Classic Movies, on which the data in IMDb is based. It is uncertain which is the original print. See more »

Connections

Followed by Code of the Streets (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

M-O-T-H-E-R, a Word That Means the World to Me
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Theodore Morse
Lyrics by Howard Johnson
Partially sung a cappella by Bert Roach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

An Unusual Blend of Talent Comes Together Very Well
24 October 2005 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

The blend of talent in "They Made Me A Criminal" is rather unusual, with John Garfield, who was at his best in film-noir type settings, Claude Rains, a skilled and classy character actor, and the Dead End Kids, best known for more boisterous material. The story is written to give all of them some good moments, and as a whole it works quite well.

Garfield gets a tailor-made role as a boxing champion who goes on the run after he is set up and framed. It was Garfield's misfortune that perhaps his best role, in "The Postman Always Rings Twice", was overshadowed (through no fault of his own, since it would have happened to almost anyone in the role) by Lana Turner's unforgettable performance. Here, Garfield gets the chance to show what he can do, showing a tough side, a cynical side, and, at the right times, a somewhat more thoughtful side.

The story is very interesting, and other than a couple of slightly implausible developments, it works well in mixing some different kinds of material and settings. The supporting cast all does well, although Rains has to battle with his role, as a tough-cop character that doesn't really make the best use of his strengths.

In keeping everything together and on-track, Busby Berkeley shows the same kind of skill that enabled him to produce the variety numbers for which he was better known. He comes in for his share of the credit here in creating an interesting movie with some unusual features.


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 44 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed