7.5/10
3,830
55 user 34 critic

Hangmen Also Die! (1943)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | April 1943 (USA)
After the Nazi administrator of Czechoslovakia is shot, his assassin tries to elude the Gestapo and struggles with his impulse to give himself up as hostages are executed.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Bertolt Brecht (adaptation) (as Bert Brecht), Fritz Lang (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Man Hunt (1941)
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Stephen Neale has just been released from an asylum during World War 2 in England when he stumbles on a deadly Nazi spy plot by accident, and tries to stop it.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, Carl Esmond
Fury (1936)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to fake his death and frame the mob for his supposed murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The public defender's secretary and an ex-convict get married and try to make a life together, but a series of disasters sends their lives spiraling out of control.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Henry Fonda, Barton MacLane
Western Union (1941)
Certificate: Passed History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When Edward Creighton leads the construction of the Western Union to unite East with West, he hires a Western reformed outlaw and a tenderfoot Eastern surveyor.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Robert Young, Randolph Scott, Dean Jagger
You and Me (1938)
Crime | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An altruistic department-store owner hires ex-convicts in order to give them a second chance at life. Unfortunately, one of the convicts he hires recruits two of his fellow ex-convicts in a plan to rob the store.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, George Raft, Harry Carey
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, her venal fiancé persuades her to con him out of the fortune they mistakenly assume he possesses.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A deranged writer murders a maid after she resists his advances. The writer engages his brother's help in hiding the body, and then watches as the brother becomes the prime suspect.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A novelist aided by his future father-in-law conspires to frame himself in the murder of a stripper as part of an effort to ban capital punishment.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackmer
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a lovely woman and her new husband settle in an ancient mansion on the East coast, she discovers that he may want to kill her.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After the murder of his fiancée, a Wyoming ranch hand sets out to find her killer.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy, Mel Ferrer
Spies (1928)
Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The mastermind behind a ubiquitous spy operation learns of a dangerous romance between a Russian lady in his employ and a dashing agent from the government's secret service.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gerda Maurus, Willy Fritsch
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Donlevy ... Dr. Franticek Svoboda / Karel Vanek
Walter Brennan ... Prof. Stephen Novotny
Anna Lee ... Masha Novotny
Gene Lockhart ... Emil Czaka
Dennis O'Keefe ... Jan Horak
Margaret Wycherly ... Ludmilla Novotny
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Hellie Novotny
William Roy William Roy ... Beda Novotny (as Billy Roy)
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ... Reinhard Heydrich (as H. H v. Twardowski)
Alexander Granach ... Gestapo Insp. Alois Gruber
Tonio Selwart Tonio Selwart ... Chief of Gestapo Kurt Haas
Jonathan Hale ... Dedic
Lionel Stander ... Banya
Sarah Padden ... Mrs. Georgia Dvorak
Edmund MacDonald ... Dr. Pillar
Edit

Storyline

On May 27, 1942 the Nazi Reichsprotector of Bohemia/Moravia, the "Hangman" Reinhard Heydrich, died from the bullets of unidentified resistance fighters. Hangmen Also Die is the story of Heydrich's assassination in fictionalized form. It was Bertolt Brecht's only comparatively successful Hollywood project; the money he received allowed him to write "The Visions of Simone Marchand", "Schwyk in the Second World War" and his adaptation of Webster's "The Duchess of Malfi". Hanns Eisler won an Academy Award for his musical score. Written by J.Arnold Free <arnold@mayahtt.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of Nazi overlords and the innocent girls they "protect"! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

April 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Never Surrender See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Arnold Pressburger Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Two cast members have played characters involved with the sale of real estate to the vampire based on Bram Stoker's novel. Alexander Granach appeared as Knock, the House Broker in F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). Dwight Frye appeared as Renfield in Tod Browning's Dracula (1931). See more »

Goofs

In reality, Heydrich was assassinated by a team of Czech exiles sent back to the country by the British government. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Franticek Svoboda: Dedric, what about the taxi driver?
Dedic: Jumped out of a window at the Gestapo. They'll get nothing from him.
Dr. Franticek Svoboda: I never met him. I wish I did.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits Jonathan Hale's name is spelled correctly the first time it appears. Then in the cast of characters that appears a few seconds later it is misspelled as "Jonathon" Hale. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Anthropoid Press Conference (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

No Surrender
(uncredited)
Music by Hanns Eisler
Lyrics by Sam Coslow
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Gripping in its intensity
31 December 1999 | by VarlaamSee all my reviews

In 1942, the Czech underground assassinates Reinhard Heydrich, the governor of Bohemia-Moravia. Heydrich's assassin tries to escape capture.

This is based on a true story of course -- it's a well-known episode of World War II. Czech commandos were brought in from Britain on a mission with a slim chance of survival for the selfless agents. They unfortunately met a sad end after being betrayed by a fellow Czech. The history is described very well in books such as Callum MacDonald's "The Killing of SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich".

In 1943, when this film was made, were the full details of the actual events widely available in the USA? I'm not sure, but it seems unlikely.

The story as presented here is the tale of what happens one day when a girl goes out to buy vegetables for supper, and when a taxi driver lets his finicky engine idle. Perhaps this plot was fabricated for want of any other alternative, but its sheer ordinariness adds to its immediacy.

The reptilian Heydrich was one of the architects of Hitler's Final Solution. It's no coincidence that the plan to assassinate him was code-named "Anthropoid".

Hans Heinrich von Twardowski plays him briefly at the beginning of the drama. He's cold-blooded, vicious, rabid ... and a little effeminate. That aspect seems questionable. In 1943, there were at least as many reasons for knowing what his character represented as there were occupied countries in Europe. This particular embellishment seems to add little or nothing to the suspense.

(Twardowski himself was a German exile in Hollywood. If you can read German and have a look at the titles of the films he made in 1928 and 1929, you can probably hazard a guess as to why he was forced to leave Hitler's Germany.)

Brian Donlevy plays the assassin. It's not by chance that this character is named Dr. Svoboda. Svoboda is a common name, but it also happens to be the Czech word for "freedom".

I always find Donlevy effective, particularly so in "The Great McGinty" (1940) for Preston Sturges, but he does have a certain B actor limitation on access to his character's inner thoughts. He doesn't quite have the hunted quality of someone facing certain capture and torture. A perspiring lip might have helped.

Better is Alexander Granach as the Gestapo man Gruber, a Bob Hoskins sort of person, only sinister. He's ruthless, cunning, perfect in the part.

Walter Brennan appears as a Czech professor arrested and held as a hostage. Prof. Walter Brennan, that's right! He's very good. Considering the typecasting he must have been fighting against, he's excellent in fact.

My moderate criticism of some of the performances notwithstanding, the suspense in the story was of the nail-biting kind, I felt. I wouldn't have wanted to watch this in 1943 -- it's just too bleak, too disturbing. When hostages are being held by the Gestapo, it's a lose-lose situation all around. All possible outcomes are disastrous.

I guess the filmmakers felt -- knew -- that this would be more than a contemporary audience could really handle in the middle of wartime. Hence the film has an uplifting, artificial, fantasy ending which arrives like a deus ex machina.

That's certainly a drawback for viewers now, but I can't fault anyone. The context of the times couldn't have allowed any other solution.

Fritz Lang directed this return to Mitteleuropa, the scene of his youth and early classic films. He runs the show like a police procedural, making it all too real. He allows himself a couple of his great shots which I will allow you to discover for yourself.

In real life, the actual Czech assassins -- Josef Gabcik and Jan Kubis, plus their look-out man, Josef Valcik -- were all killed in battle at their hiding place in the Karel Boromejsky Church in Prague on June 18, 1942.

Heydrich's state funeral had been held earlier in Berlin on June 9. The Nazis had Siegfried's Funeral March from Wagner's "Götterdämmerung" played for the occasion, probably with extra added bombast.

That's the sort of heroic farewell that the martyred Czechs should have received.


37 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 55 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

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