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Sergeant Madden (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Family | 24 March 1939 (USA)
A highly respected Irish cop is pleased when his son follows him onto the force. Unfortunately, the son is more interested in rewards than in upholding the law. When he shoots a child ... See full summary »


Josef von Sternberg (as Josef Von Sternberg)


William A. Ullman Jr. (story "A Gun In His Hand") (as William A. Ulman Jr.), Wells Root (screenplay)


Cast overview, first billed only:
Wallace Beery ... Sgt. Shaun Madden
Tom Brown ... Albert 'Al' Boylan, Jr.
Alan Curtis ... Dennis Madden
Laraine Day ... Eileen Daly
Fay Holden ... Mary Madden
Marc Lawrence ... 'Piggy' Ceders
Marion Martin ... Charlotte LePage
David Gorcey ... Punchy LePage
Donald Haines Donald Haines ... Milton
Ben Welden ... Henchman Stemmy
Etta McDaniel ... Dove (Madden's maid)
John Kelly ... Henchman Nero
Horace McMahon ... Philadelphia (as Horace MacMahon)
Neil Fitzgerald Neil Fitzgerald ... Casey (police broadcaster)
Dickie Jones ... Dennis Madden, as a boy




A highly respected Irish cop is pleased when his son follows him onto the force. Unfortunately, the son is more interested in rewards than in upholding the law. When he shoots a child caught stealing, the others frame him and he is sent to prison where his attitude becomes even worse than before. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Roaring drama strikes New York! Thrill-packed! Action-jammed! As one of Gotham's 'finest" tracks down his killer-son! See more »


Crime | Drama | Family


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The magazine depicted as announcing that the Madden's are expecting, Spring 3100, is a real magazine for the current and retired members of the NYPD. First published in March, 1930, its title comes from an old phone number to call the police department in New York City - SPring7-3100. See more »


The ship shown arriving from Ireland with Eileen has smoke going into the smokestacks, indicating the footage of a ship departing and the film is being run in reverse. See more »


Sgt. Shaun Madden: Aww... you shouldn't be kissing an old sheepdog like me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: There is an unsung hero on our street to whom we owe our lives a hundred times, yet seldom know his name. He is the cop on the beat. This is the story of such a hero.. A policeman who chose between love for his son and devotion to duty. See more »

User Reviews

"Sergeant Madden": remarkable movie on many levels; classic of its time.
26 February 2017 | by jdeurekaSee all my reviews

"Sergeant Madden" is a remarkable movie on many levels. First, it's an excellent Irish-American melodrama -- and unashamedly so. You don't like melodrama, don't watch this movie. You like strong emotions and interpersonal conflicts, extravagant actions and feelings, people and situations that push it just that little bit too far -- watch it. Second, Berry does what he always does perfectly - - the tough old guy with a heart of gold, with an edge of the maniac in the glint of his eye. The other actors are equally strong, play each part to the melodramatic, Irish-American hilt; family, loyalty, work, love, comradeship, the whole wonderful and emotional lot. Third, the crowing touch is the blend of direction and scenery & settings, the rich tapestry of indoors and outdoors urban backdrop of late 1930s USA. Josef von Sternberg, as usual, saw and found God in the details. (Inspect the living room or the boarding house!) Watch it. Enjoy. They don't make'em like this anymore. Except as a parody. Which this is not. Here's the real thing.

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Release Date:

24 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El borrón de la familia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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