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They Made Me a Criminal

Released Jan 21, 1939 1h 32m Drama List
Reviews 61% Audience Score 500+ Ratings
After boxing manager Doc Woods accidentally kills a reporter, he frames his champion fighter, Johnnie Bradfield (John Garfield), who changes his identity and flees to Arizona. There Johnnie takes refuge at a ranch run by a kindly older woman known as Grandma (May Robson), who has also opened her home to delinquents the Dead End Kids. With the help of Peggy (Gloria Dickson), Johnnie and the Kids struggle to overcome their distrust, just as Det. Phelan (Claude Rains) tracks Johnnie down. Read More Read Less

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They Made Me a Criminal

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Critics Reviews

View All (4) Critics Reviews
P.S. Harrison Harrison's Reports The strength of this picture lies, not so much in the story, as in the excellent performances. Oct 14, 2020 Full Review John Kinloch California Eagle John Garfield has mode the grade, and Warner Brothers motion picture firm have themselves a brand new star. Oct 30, 2019 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Made competently enough and solidly acted so that one might forgive all the plot holes, unconvincing romance and outdated cornball antics. Rated: B- Nov 26, 2008 Full Review Michael W. Phillips, Jr. Goatdog's Movies There's nothing in this material that calls for [Busby] Berkeley's particular talents. Rated: 2/5 Mar 25, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (28) audience reviews
Steve D One of the best in the series. Still not great. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/11/24 Full Review Audience Member Fine Garfield vehicle featuring the Dead-end kids. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review kevin w While directed by Busby Berkeley there actually is little for him to do but to choreograph a couple of fights in this standard Warner Bros. B-feature about streetwise New Yorkers hiding out out-in-the-sticks. Can savvy street hustlers give up what they know for some of that folksy middle-Americanism old Hollywood loved to sell and pretend it revered? The Dead End Kids do well backing up John Garfield's streetwise tough play, while Ann Sheridan and Claude Rains are advertised but in reality hardly onscreen at all. Still, at least it ain't no cheap gyp of a film. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member A very well-shot film that feels longer than it is. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/23/23 Full Review Audience Member Director Busby Berkeley wanted to show he could direct something besides musicals and he got his shot and does a good job with this lightweight though entertaining crime story. John Garfield is a NYC boxer who thinks he's accidentally killed a reporter, so he goes out west to hide out from the law. Out west he hooks up with Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey and the other Dead End Kids, who I've always found irritating. Despite the presence of the annoying antics of the Dead End Kids, Garfield's story is interesting enough, especially when a boxer comes to town offering $500 to anyone who can stay standing after two rounds. It's a pretty corny film and the oddball casting of Claude Rains as a NYC cop best described as a "mug" doesn't help either (reportedly Rains at first refused the part but was under contract and was threatened with suspension if he didn't take the part). Despite the film's drawbacks, it's an entertaining film that owes much to Garfield's strong performance. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Audience Member An enjoyable crime movie starring John Garfield as a champion boxer (Johnny Bradfield), who was framed for a murder by his crooked manager; Johnny then goes on the run and becomes a kind of wise-cracking role-model for a 'gang' of underprivileged delinquents. This 1939 flic is charming, fun to watch, and has a nice twist at the end. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/26/23 Full Review Read all reviews
They Made Me a Criminal

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis After boxing manager Doc Woods accidentally kills a reporter, he frames his champion fighter, Johnnie Bradfield (John Garfield), who changes his identity and flees to Arizona. There Johnnie takes refuge at a ranch run by a kindly older woman known as Grandma (May Robson), who has also opened her home to delinquents the Dead End Kids. With the help of Peggy (Gloria Dickson), Johnnie and the Kids struggle to overcome their distrust, just as Det. Phelan (Claude Rains) tracks Johnnie down.
Director
Busby Berkeley
Production Co
Warner Bros.
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Jan 21, 1939, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Aug 11, 2016
Runtime
1h 32m
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