7.3/10
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Heroes for Sale (1933)

Passed | | Drama, War | 17 June 1933 (USA)
A veteran fights drug addiction to make his way in the business world.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Robert Lord (screen play), Wilson Mizner (screen play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Barthelmess ... Tom Holmes
Aline MacMahon ... Mary
Loretta Young ... Ruth
Gordon Westcott ... Roger
Robert Barrat ... Max (as Robert Barratt)
Berton Churchill ... Mr. Winston
Grant Mitchell ... George Gibson
Charley Grapewin ... Pa Dennis (as Charles Grapewin)
Robert McWade ... Dr. Briggs
G. Pat Collins ... Leader of Agitators (as George Pat Collins)
James Murray ... Blind Soldier
Edwin Maxwell ... Laundry Company President
Margaret Seddon Margaret Seddon ... Jeanette Holmes
Arthur Vinton ... Captain Joyce
Robert Elliott ... 'Red' Squad Policeman #1
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Storyline

The saga of Tom Holmes - a man of principles - from the Great War to the Great Depression. Will he ever get a break? His war heroics earn fame and a medal for someone else, and his wounds result in a morphine addiction that costs him a job, his reputation in his home town, and months in a clinic. He goes to Chicago, where he's enterprising and dedicated to his work and his fellow workers, but an invention he champions results in the opposite of his intentions, leading to loss of life and an unjust imprisonment. After release, during the Depression, he must face local "red squads" and vigilante groups jousting out jobless men. Will anyone see his true heroic character? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What Good Are Medals On Tortured Breasts? (Print Ad-Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,((Pittsburgh, Penna.)) 7 July 1933)

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

17 June 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Breadline See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$290,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director William A. Wellman used real hoboes for the fight scene and real laundry workers for the laundry scenes. See more »

Goofs

When Ruth arrives by taxicab at the scene of the riot, the camera moves toward the cab and she is seen letting herself out from the back seat of the passenger side. However, after a jump cut, the driver is reaching around from the front seat of the cab and opening the door for her. See more »

Quotes

Roger Winston: There I was, everybody making a hero of me. I accepted it because I didn't have guts enough to refuse it... It went on, and on - the honors piled up. And every one I got made it more impossible to tell the truth. I couldn't let go. I know that all my promotions and decorations belong to you. I know that I've stolen the credit from a real hero.
See more »


Soundtracks

Who Cares About Tomorrow?
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Tom first meets Ruth
Also played when Tom and Ruth are waiting for Mary to get ready
Also played when Tom is talking to Bill about Alaska
See more »

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User Reviews

Very Strong
28 February 2008 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Heroes for Sale (1933)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

William A. Wellman directs this hard hitting look about a man (Richard Barthelmess) who stands up during a WW1 battle and becomes a hero but he doesn't get credit for what he did as it goes to someone else. He's injured in the war and soon gets hooked on morphine and this causes him to break up when he returns home but after getting himself cleaned up he eventually gets married to a woman (Loretta Young) but soon the Depression hits and he has another chance of being a hero. This is an extremely powerful film that talks about unknown heroes who never get the credit they deserve because they don't want any credit for doing the right thing. There's a lot of blood and passion running throughout the film so it's rather obvious that this was a big subject for director Wellman. Barthelmess gives a terrific performance as he commands every scene that he's in. Aline MacMahon is great as a family friend as is Robert Barrat as a German trying to cash in on an invention. Young is very good in her small role and has some great chemistry with Barthelmess. The early WW1 scenes contains some great and bloody action as does a riot during the middle of the film, which really caught me off guard with the violence and blood shown. There are countless Pre-Code elements and the look at drug addiction is very nicely done.


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