Hangmen Also Die (1943)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Hangmen Also Die Videos

Hangmen Also Die Photos

Movie Info

This film is set in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi occupation. Czech loyalist Brian Donlevy assassinates the vicious Gestapo leader Heydrich, then goes into hiding. Fifth columnist Gene Lockhart arranges for 400 Prague citizens to be rounded up as hostages, to be killed if Heydrich's assassin is not revealed.
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Cohen Media Group


Brian Donlevy
as Dr. Franticek Svoboda / Karel Vanek
Anna Lee
as Nasha Novotny
Walter Brennan
as Prof. Novotny
Gene Lockhart
as Emil Czaka
Dennis O'Keefe
as Jan Horek
Alexander Granach
as Alois Gruber
Margaret Wycherly
as Aunt Ludmilla Novotny
Nana Bryant
as Mrs. Novotny
Billy Roy
as Beda Novotny
Tonio Selwart
as Haas, Gestapo Chief
Byron Foulger
as Bartos
Virginia Farmer
as Landlady
Ludwig Donath
as Schirmer
Sarah Padden
as Mrs. Dvorak
Edmund MacDonald
as Dr. Pilar
George Irving
as Necval the Poet
James Bush
as Worker
Arno Frey
as Itnut, Camp Officer
Lester Sharpe
as Rudy, a Hostage
Arthur Loft
as Gen. Votruba Bertruba
William Farnum
as Viktorin
Reinhold Schünzel
as Inspector Ritter
Otto Reichow
as Gestapo
Eddy Waller
as Cab Driver
Erville Alderson
as Liberal Official
Ralph Dunn
as Policeman
Emmett Lynn
as Hostage
Emmett Vogan
as Hostage
William Haade
as Patriot
Philip Merivale
as Policeman
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski
as Reinhard Heydrich
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Hangmen Also Die

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (5)

Although Director Fritz Lang gives this familiar material occasional touches of distinction, the picture still misses Grade A rank.

Full Review… | February 25, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

From a directorial standpoint this is a triumph for Fritz Lang, who succeeds with singular success in capturing the spirit of the Czech people in the face of the Nazi reign of terror.

Full Review… | February 25, 2013
Top Critic

For all of Mr. Lang's finesse, his film is too patient -- it runs well over two hours -- too ponderous to hit its stride as melodrama. Nor does it match in emotional power and conviction its heroic theme.

Full Review… | February 25, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

The two-and-a-quarter-hour film has the iconic thrust of a silent; the pro-sacrifice resistance cant has an oddly jihadist tenor today.

Full Review… | February 25, 2013
Village Voice
Top Critic

Superb performances throughout, while James Wong Howe's photography perfectly captures the spirit of the occupied city, where hiding places are few and far from safe.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

June 5, 2005
AV Club
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Hangmen Also Die


This is a nice little piece of intrigue from Fritz Lang based off real events in Czechoslovakia. Anna Lee finds herself admidst a web of trouble when she helps a member of the underground. But the Nazis are soon hounding her and her father's life is put in danger. She is forced to choose where her greatest allegiance stands. At the time it came out this movie functioned as an anti-Nazi film and it still packs a decent punch

Four Star Film Fan
Four Star Film Fan

I find that Fritz Lang's films are often hit-or-miss, but even when they miss, they're still usually interesting failures. "Hangmen Also Die!" isn't a failure at all, but it is too long and not as tensely directed as it should have been. What could have been a riveting thriller about the Czechs getting their revenge against the Nazis ends up being kind of exciting but nonetheless forgettable. Side note: it was co-written by noted German playwright Bertolt Brecht, who seldom wrote screenplays.

Stephen Earnest
Stephen Earnest

Super Reviewer

Well, I'll be damned. A movie where I DON'T hate Walter Brennan's guts. As opposed to his usual Western persona (the doddering, cranky, heavily mannered, oafish, unfunny comic relief who looks like he smells very, very bad) here he's quite dignified. The film is a grim wartime political thriller based on the true story of a Reich official assassinated in Czechoslovakia. Based VERY loosely, however, as the events in the movie have little to do with reality. Directed by Fritz Lang and written by Bertolt Brecht, their hearts are in the right place. But if we're going call out movies for being overly propagandistic, we can't exclude those we happen to agree with. This is really heavy-handed, black/white, good/evil stuff. The camerawork is sophisticated, the script is not. Still, it's a solid thriller that manages to be sufficiently gripping despite its lengthy running time. Lang pulls off some marvelous shots. And besides, it's hard to get too worked up about anti-Nazi propaganda, no matter how ham-fisted. It's closer to the truth about Nazis than most other movies from the same period.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

Discussion Forum

Discuss Hangmen Also Die on our Movie forum!

News & Features