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Dead End

Country: USA

Genre: Crime, Drama, Film Noir



The lives of a young woman, an infamous gangster and a group of street kids converge one day in a volatile New York City slum. Drina dreams of marrying some dashing, rich stranger who will save her and her younger brother Tommy (Billy Halop) from their life of poverty and help prevent Tommy from growing up to be a mobster like Hugh "Baby Face" Martin (Humphrey Bogart), who has returned to the neighborhood to visit his mother and childhood girlfriend. When Baby Face is rejected by his mother, and discovers that his childhood sweetheart is now a syphilitic prostitute, he decides to kidnap a rich kid and demand a ransom, in order to make his trip worthwhile. Meanwhile, a gang of kids led by Tommy lure Philip (Charles Peck), a rich kid from the luxury apartments overlooking the East River, into a cellar where they beat and rob him. When the boy's father, a judge, tries to intervene, Tommy winds up stabbing him in the arm, and is forced to go into hiding. Will Tommy end up following in the footsteps of Baby Face Martin and become a hardened criminal?


  • Adapted from the 1935 Broadway play of the same name by Sidney Kingsley (1906-1995)
  • The 'Dead End' of both the play and the movie was modelled on the corner of East 53rd Street where it meets the East River at Sutton Place, New York, and the producers of the play and movie made a painstaking effort to recreate that very area in the stage scenery. It was the juxtaposition of luxurious, opulent apartments with gorgeous views of the East River, on the one hand, and crowded tenements with their near-feral kids, on the other, which inspired Sidney Kingsley to write his play, which ran for 687 performances on Broadway from 1935 to 1937. Kingsley took the title 'Dead End', with its plaintive symbolism of hopelessness, from the road signs around Sutton Place warning drivers that the streets heading toward the East River were about to terminate.
  • The actors playing the members of Tommy's gang - Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Huntz Hall, Bernard Punsly, Gabriel Dell, and Leo Gorcey - were all brought over from the Broadway production, and each reprised for the film the same role as they had in the play. The group proved so popular that they would continue to make movies together as the Dead End Kids; and later on, former Dead End Kids would continue acting together in various combinations up until 1958, under several different names - including the Little Tough Guys, the East Side Kids, and the Bowery Boys.
  • The Profile picture on this page shows the 17-year-old Billy Halop in his role as Tommy.
Picture for Dead End


  • Sylvia Sidney
  • Joel McCrea
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Wendy Barrie
  • Claire Trevor
  • Billy Halop
  • Huntz Hall
  • Bobby Jordan
  • Leo Gorcey
  • Gabriel Dell
  • Bernard Punsly
  • Charles Peck
    (Phillip Griswlad)
  • Larry Harris
  • Payne B. Johnson
    (Boy on Dock)
  • Sidney Kibrick
  • Tom Randall
  • Norman Salling

BoyActors Reviews

3 member reviews/ratings for this Movie

Average and Weighted Ratings are only available once a Movie has received at least 5 ratings

Most recent review listed first

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My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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A great movie, though I'm probably rather biased, since I love the Dead End Kids, and this movie is where it all started. The fact that this is no ordinary Hollywood movie is signalled in the first few seconds where - somewhat to our shock - a woman craftily steals a piece of food from a small infant. The architect character clearly represents the view of the writer. Rather than renovating the buildings and transferring ownership of the homes to their tenants, his dearest wish is to tear down the 'slums' and shove the inhabitants into 'modern' apartment blocks...Yes, and social engineers like him were to finally have their way in the 1960s, with social consequences with which we are now all too familiar - destroying close-knit working class communities and leaving youngsters to drift into crime and drug use.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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Page Last Modified: 19th September 2020
Page Added: 5th August 2018

Page Views: 1854

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