They Made Me a Criminal - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

They Made Me a Criminal Reviews

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½ March 19, 2016
A very well-shot film that feels longer than it is.
½ February 20, 2015
A good Warner Bros crime flick even if a little sentimentalised. John Garfield, Ann Sheridan and the Dead End Kids put in good performances but Claude Rains doesn't really convince as the tough cop tracking down the falsely accused crime fighter on a murder rap. There's a well staged scene in a water tank where a drowning is narrowly escaped. If you like the kind of social conscience crime films that Warners made back in the day (and I do) you'll like this one.
½ December 6, 2014
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.
April 28, 2013
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.
December 16, 2012
I'm a big fan of the "M-YA SHEEE" talk and this movie had plenty to go around. John Garfield reminded me of three actors all crunched into one: Liam Neeson,Charles Bronson and Edward G Robinson, nothing to do with acting styles or anything, his face just reminded me of those guys. The dead end kids were pretty entertaining especially at the end when they were bullshitting their way into the boxing fight at the end. You know I'm not too sure if I'm pinpointing the exact movie but I couldn't help but think of Butch's character in Pulp Fiction but it's completely different that was sort of a pride fucking with you sorta story this is more wrongfully accused type stuff. Enjoyed it.
September 18, 2012
good gritty urban drama like only WB could do
½ August 10, 2012
Classic. A wonderful story of character and struggle.
½ August 7, 2011
They frame him and make him a wanted man, while on the lam he hides out on a farm worked by the "east side kids," they are there to be reformed.
He is the one who really goes through a tranformation as he gets less selfish becomes a lot nicer, gets a nice girl, is idolized by the boys and is let off the hook by the cop claude raines, which you see coming for miles.
sentimental, but with action, plus, i love a good boxing movie, but there is also romance and
people almost drowning, its well done, obviously great acting, a little formulaic, but not enough that this bunch doesn't make it rise ablove that formula feel it could have had.
its a keeper!
March 2, 2011
The Dead End Kids appear on a somewhat flimsy excuse to provide a foil for John Garfield and provide a mild level of entertainment.

Leave your mind for critical plot evaluation at home for this one, lest you spend the whole running time cutting it up.
January 19, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

(1939) They Made Me A Criminal
CRIME DRAMA/ THRILLER/ SUSPENSE

The plot has actor John Garfield as a boxer, and ends up running away from the law for accidently killing someone in the ring! While being pursued he then comes across into an isolated crop field which is really a sanctuary for the law to send rehabilitation juevenile delinquents which some frequent old movie watchers would recognize some as the "The Bowery Boys" who were popular during this time! While there, he falls in love(as movies always do) and befriends the kids at the same time! The only thing I can say is that this movie is very straight forward with a great ending!

What's interesting about this film is the fact that although boxing in the underworld or illegal boxing matches were prevalent during The Great Depression, one wouldn't know whether their were any rules or consequences imposed if one to get himself killed as a result of many bouts! And I guess at the particular time during the 30's or during 'The Great Depression' (at least in some urban areas), this is how society dealt with it.

3 out of 4
Super Reviewer
September 20, 2010
This is a remake of the life of Jimmy Dolan? No wonder I thought I's seen it already!
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2010
Busby Berkeley directs this drama that features an element of crime mixed with drama and some humor. A feel good flick that holds interest. John Garfield plays a young champion prizefighter that is led to believe he murdered a reporter in a drunken brawl; so he high steps it out of town. He heads west and stops in Arizona taking refuge on a ranch run by Ann Sheridan and staffed by the Dead End Kids featuring Leo Gorcey and Billy Halop. The gang convinces the boxer on the run to enter a prizefight to win stakes for a future gasoline station. But spoiling a good thing is detective Claude Rains, who recognizes the champ and is set to take him back. A nice escape back to days gone by.
January 8, 2010
great movie (dead end kids)
November 27, 2009
Film Noir which turns soft see, around the middle act. John Garfield is a champion boxer forced to flee town when he's accused of moidur he didn't commit (the first 1/4 half of this movie is almost impossible to explain, so much backstory and plot... but it's great!) He soon winds up in a Date farm in Arizona (!!?!?!) where he meets the Dead End kids... and well, things start going downhill from there. It starts to lose it's grit. Oh well, has the prerequisite homoerotic touches that curiously infuse the Dead End kids films, and even they can't save this, let alone Busby Berkeley.
zdravkoduck
Super Reviewer
September 30, 2009
I'm a big fan of the "M-YA SHEEE" talk and this movie had plenty to go around. John Garfield reminded me of three actors all crunched into one: Liam Neeson,Charles Bronson and Edward G Robinson, nothing to do with acting styles or anything, his face just reminded me of those guys. The dead end kids were pretty entertaining especially at the end when they were bullshitting their way into the boxing fight at the end. You know I'm not too sure if I'm pinpointing the exact movie but I couldn't help but think of Butch's character in Pulp Fiction but it's completely different that was sort of a pride fucking with you sorta story this is more wrongfully accused type stuff. Enjoyed it.
½ August 31, 2009
Claude Rains = the man, even when he doesn't get a chance to be "Claude Rains" until the very last scene.
July 24, 2009
kind of amusing to have going in the background. neat little gang of street urchins.
March 11, 2009
Starts good and Garfield is great but those Dead End Kids are insufferable.
March 9, 2009
One of my all-time favorites. I love Garfield's and Sheridan's performances, as they captured the tough and desperate quality to Depression Era film characters. I also liked Rains as the cop-with-a-heart-of-gold at the end. I mostly like this film because I first saw it with my parents when I was ten--it was a hot summer night and we had all the fans in the house going, which added to the effect of the scenes in Arizona.
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