The lives of a young man and woman, an infamous gangster and a group of street kids converge one day in a volatile New York City slum.


William Wyler


Lillian Hellman (screen play), Sidney Kingsley (based upon the play by)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Sylvia Sidney ... Drina Gordon
Joel McCrea ... Dave Connell
Humphrey Bogart ... Gil 'Baby Face' Martin
Wendy Barrie ... Kay Brown
Claire Trevor ... Francey
Allen Jenkins ... Hunk
Marjorie Main ... Mrs. Martin
Billy Halop ... Tommy
Huntz Hall ... Dippy
Bobby Jordan ... Angel
Leo Gorcey ... Spit (as Leo B. Gorcey)
Gabriel Dell ... T.B.
Bernard Punsly ... Milty
Charles Peck ... Philip Griswald
Minor Watson ... Mr. Griswald


The Dead End Kids are introduced in their intricate East Side slum, overlooked by the apartments of the rich. Their antics, some funny, some vicious, alternate with subplots: unemployed architect Dave is torn between Drina, sweet but equally poor, and Kay, a rich man's mistress; gangster Baby Face Martin returns to his old neighborhood and finds that nobody is glad to see him. Then violent crime, both juvenile and adult, impacts the neighborhood and its people. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A City Street....paved with riches and poverty, comedy and tragedy, romance and heartache....a block that ends at the river's edge, where frustration lives, yet hope never dies! You may not like these people, nor pity them, but you'll never forget this picture! (Print Ad-Thrift-News,((Fayetteville, NY)) 28 October 1937) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film contains a scene with a young uncredited Sidney Kibrick, who is best remembered for his portrayal of the "Woim", the sidekick of the neighborhood bully "Butch", played by Tommy Bond in the Little Rascal series of shorts. See more »


Baby Face Martin suddenly appears from nowhere and is leaning against a railing as the boys are fighting. See more »


Milton 'Milty': You think I'm some dope?
Spit: Yeah, a dope what smells on ice.
Tommy Gordon: Stand up to him, Milty. Stand up to him.
Milton 'Milty': What's a matter? You wanna fight?
Spit: Yeah.
Milton 'Milty': Ya do?
Spit: Yeah!
Milton 'Milty': Well, join the army!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Every street in New York ends in a river. For many years the dirty banks of the East River were lined with the tenements of the poor. Then the rich, discovering that the river traffic was picturesque, moved their houses eastward. And now the terraces of these great apartment houses look down into the windows of the tenement poor. See more »


Referenced in The Majestic (2001) See more »


The Prisoner's Song
(1924) (uncredited)
Written by Guy Massey
Played on a kazoo by Bobby Jordan and sung by the boys
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User Reviews

Film's setting
26 June 2006 | by amgor863-1See all my reviews

Someone mentioned in an earlier post that "Dead End" was set in New York's Hell's Kitchen. That's a mistake. It's set on the east side of Manhattan in a neighborhood that is now known as Sutton Place. Back then the poor were still in the area. Btw, the body of water the kids are swimming in is the East River, not the Hudson.

For years, I had through that the neighborhood was the Lower Eastside, till one day, while watching this film, I spotted a street number painted on the side of one of buildings, which was in the east 50s. I believe East 52nd street. Then I did a little research and found out the location!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

27 August 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead End: Cradle of Crime See more »


Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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