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You Only Live Once

You Only Live Once (1937)


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Release Date: Jan 29, 1937 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,018

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Movie Info

Archetypal depression-era stars Henry Fonda and Sylvia Sidney are felicitously teamed in Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once. Fonda plays an ex-convict who can't get a break on the "outside". He marries Sidney, who like her husband is one of life's losers. Framed on a murder rap, Fonda is forced to take it on the lam, with his wife and baby in tow. In trying to avoid capture, Fonda becomes a murderer for real, condemning himself and Sidney to an early demise. Partly based on the legend of Bonnie and


Drama, Classics

Gene Towne, Graham Baker

Jun 24, 2003

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All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (0) | DVD (6)

Fritz Lang's second American film... remains one of his all-time greatest.

March 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

It always seems to be night and raining for its alienated main characters, who have only their love for each other to keep out the cold from the world.

November 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It stands as a clear precursor for such revered love-on-the-run films as Bonnie and Clyde, Badlands and They Live By Night, but is perhaps better than any of them.

August 5, 2003 Full Review Source:

A top social drama, inspired by the real Bonnie and Clyde. Lang is in prime directing form.

August 21, 2002
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Audience Reviews for You Only Live Once

quite good early lang and henry fonda and sylvia sidney have lovely chemistry together. it's an early 'lovers on the run' story, similar to ray's 'they live by night'. i don't really see how this isn't considered film noir except that it's just outside the time frame
March 25, 2013
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

This movie reminded me of better movies from the 40s. It's an alright story and all, but I couldn't get into it, the dialogue was less than average, and so was the acting. Overall, not a great movie, but not horrible, it does have a realistic story.
October 2, 2010

Super Reviewer

Sad tale of a luckless man and the woman who stands by him no matter what. Of course the acting is very fine and the direction good but the hopelessness of the film makes it more something to appreciate then actually enjoy.
July 13, 2009
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "You Only Live Once," things are finally looking up for three-time convict Eddie Taylor(Henry Fonda) upon his release from prison. Joan Graham(Sylvia Sidney) is in love with him and they plan on marrying once he is on the outside, even though her boss, public defender Stephen Whitney(Barton MacLane) has his doubts. But things do not start out that great. They are evicted from their honeymoon hotel once Eddie is recognized and he is fired from his job as a truck driver after being late on one run. Desperate to make the down payment on a house, Eddie meets up with his old gang...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Fritz Lang, "You Only Live Once" is a hardly subtle but riveting melodrama that that has aged very well in the decades since it was made. Serving also as a pointed examination of the criminal justice system and the death penalty, the movie has a special emphasis on the concept of reform and how hard it is for a former criminal to go straight. [/font]
July 29, 2008
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Eddie Taylor: And I wanted to go straight.
    – Submitted by Jason S (6 months ago)
    1. Eddie Taylor: You only live once.
    – Submitted by Katie J (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • You Only Live Once (La vida es una sola) (DE)
  • You Only Live Once (La vida es una sola) (UK)
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