Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)





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Movie Info

Bold for its time (just prior to World War II), Confessions of a Nazi Spy is an expose of a genuine Nazi espionage ring operating in the United States. Dedicated National Socialist Paul Lukas arrives in America to conduct Bund rallies and enlist German-Americans in the service of Hitler. His rabble-rousing speeches inspire a blue collar worker (Francis Lederer) to join a Bund, and then participate in spy activities. FBI agent Edward G. Robinson is assigned to investigate. Extracting a confession from the not-too-bright Lederer, Robinson traces the espionage activities to Lukas. The Nazi official's notoriety and his undesirability as a security risk compels the German secret police to kidnap Lukas and spirit him back to the Fatherland, presumably to face liquidation. The spy ring is rounded up, but Robinson realizes that this is only the beginning. Confessions of a Nazi Spy may seem dated today, but in 1939 it packed a real wallop, especially since most filmmakers of that era chose to ignore the Nazis lest they lose the valuable European market.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros.

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Edward G. Robinson
as Edward "Ed" Renard
Francis Lederer
as Kurt Schneider
George Sanders
as Franz Schlager
Paul Lukas
as Dr. Karl F. Kassel
Henry O'Neill
as D.A. Kellogg
Lya Lys
as Erika Wolff
Grace Stafford
as Mrs. Schneider
James Stephenson
as Scotland Yard Official
Sig Rumann
as Krogman
Frederic Tozere
as Phillips
Dorothy Tree
as Hilda Kleinhauer
Celia Sibelius
as Mrs. Kassel
Joe Sawyer
as Renz
Lionel Royce
as Hintze
Will Kaufman
as Gruetzwald
Henry Victor
as Helldorf
Fredrik Vogeding
as Capt. Richter
George Rosener
as Klauber
Rudolph Anders
as Straubel
John Voight
as Wesphal
Willy Kaufman
as Gruetzwald
William Von Brincken
as Capt. Vonn Eichen
Jack Mower
as McDonald
Eily Malyon
as Mrs. MacLaughlin
Frank Mayo
as Staunton
Alec Craig
as Postman
Jean Brooks
as Kassel's Nurse
Selmar Jackson
as Customs Agent
Frederick Burton
as US District Court Judge
Ward Bond
as American Legionnaire
Charles Trowbridge
as US Intelligence Official
John Ridgely
as Army Hospital Clerk
Emmett Vogan
as Hotel Clerk
Edward Keane
as FBI Agent
Martin Kosleck
as Josef Goebbels
Selmer Jackson
as Customs Agent
William Vaughan
as Captain Von Eichen
Egon Brecher
as Nazi Spy
John Deering
as Narrator
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Critic Reviews for Confessions of a Nazi Spy

All Critics (2)

Historically significant, Litvak's sensationalistic political melodrama is considered to be the first Hollywood anti-Nazi film made by a major studio

Full Review… | June 12, 2011

Daring for its day.

Full Review… | July 28, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Confessions of a Nazi Spy


Well made but blatant propaganda. The two biggest stars in the cast, Edward G. Robinson and George Sanders have relatively small roles.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

An ordinary film by today's standards. However, in 1939 the German film market was so important to the Hollywood studios, not one criticized Nazis. Warner Bros. took on this taboo subject with an Edward G Robinson vehicle. A fictional exposé about German spies infiltrating America prior to the US entering World War II in 1942.

David Japka
David Japka

As I have come to know, this film is historically important simply for the fact that it was the first Hollywood film to attack the Nazis. In 1939 the U.S. was not at war and many of the studios were not keen about such controversial fare. However, Warner Bros. had the guts to do it and they used a real story as basis for the drama. Edward G Robinson is solid as usual and he is supported by a cast of mostly unknowns (aside from George Sanders). As a film it is not that amazing and for some reason at times if felt awkward to watch. That does not detract from its importance in history however.

Four Star Film Fan
Four Star Film Fan

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