Each Dawn I Die (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

Each Dawn I Die1939

Each Dawn I Die (1939)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Each Dawn I Die Photos

Movie Info

Otis Ferguson has said of Each Dawn I Die that "the story is of the kind you would have to see to disbelieve." And to be sure, the film is nothing more than a sampler of '30s prison-film conventions. But with the brilliant acting by James Cagney and the fast-paced and hard-edged direction of William Keighley, the film clatters past like an express train. Cagney plays Frank Ross, an innocent newspaperman who is railroaded into prison by a corrupt district attorney. In prison, he meets hardened-con Stacey (George Raft). Frank, at first, doesn't want to associate with Stacey and the other prisoners, but trapped in the hellhole prison, he more and more turns into a bitter con. Finally granted a hearing from the parole board, Frank pleads his innocence, but the parole board is headed by Grayce (Victor Jury), the man responsible for his imprisonment, and his parole is denied, and Frank becomes more hardened and embittered. By this point, Stacey has befriended him and agrees to help Frank prove his innocence. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

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James Cagney
as Frank Ross
George Raft
as 'Hood' Stacey
George Bancroft
as John Armstrong
Alan Baxter
as Polecat Carlisle
Victor Jory
as W.J. Grayce
Paul Hurst
as Garsky
John Wray
as Peter Kassock
Louis Jean Heydt
as Joe Lassiter
Joseph Downing
as Limpy Julien
Emma Dunn
as Mrs. Ross
Thurston Hall
as District Attorney Jesse Hanley
Clay Clement
as Stacey's Attorney Lockhart/Clay Clement
John Ridgely
as Jerry Poague, Reporter
John Harron
as Lew Keller, Reporter
Selmer Jackson
as Patterson
Robert E. Homans
as Mac the Guard
Abner Biberman
as Shake Edwards
Cliff Saum
as Accident Witness
Tom Wilson
as Accident Witness
Al Lloyd
as Accident Witness
Jack Goodrich
as Accident Witness
Stuart Holmes
as Accident witness
Alice Connors
as Accident Witness
Fern Barry
as Accident Witness
Maris Wrixon
as Girl in Car
Garland Smith
as Man in Car
Arthur Gardner
as Man in Car
James Flavin
as Policeman
John Dilson
as Parole Board Member
Max Hoffman Jr.
as Gate guard
Dick Rich
as Guard
Fred Graham
as Guard in cell
Vera Lewis
as Jury woman
Emmett Vogan
as Prosecutor
Earl Dwire
as Judge Crowder
Frank Mayo
as Telegraph Editor
Al Hill
as Johnny the Hood
Selmar Jackson
as Patterson
Chuck Hamilton
as Court officer
Wedgewood Nowell
as Parole Board Member
Jack Wise
as Convict
John Conte
as Narrator
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Critic Reviews for Each Dawn I Die

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

There have been better exposures of American social injustice -- Warner Brothers have made most of them --but it is good to see the two compact little toughs dealing out their punches and matching each the other's swagger.

May 27, 2021 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Cagney is at his best here, and his partnership with Raft makes for a strong love/hate relationship that drives the picture forward. It may not be one of Cagney's most famous roles, but it's one of his most indelible.

May 4, 2021 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Each Dawn I Die gets its juice from a smashing James Cagney performance as well as a scenario that's as irresistible as it is unlikely.

April 30, 2021 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The picture goes out in a blast of bombs and bullets: odd that it leaves so little impression behind.

September 11, 2019 | Full Review…

An implausible but enjoyable routine crime drama featuring James Cagney and George Raft.

November 20, 2005 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Each Dawn I Die

If your a Cagney fan this is a must see, he's dynamic as ever. The script is just the standard Warners 30's prison pic but it's professionally done. Raft is stiff as ever and Jane Bryan overacts terribly but if you're a fan of the genre this is as good as any of them.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

After watching Each Dawn I Die you're not really going to wonder why its not one of James Cagney's more well known movies but its well worth the watch. This time out Cagney plays a tough guy reporter who gets framed for murder while trying to expose a corrupt would be politician. Inside he meets a career criminal who helps him clear his name. The first two acts are pretty solid but somewhere in the last act it kind of craps out. Its not exactly The Shawshank Redemption and its not quite Brute Force but for fans of Cagney and George Raft watching won't be wasted time.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

Yet another great performance by James Cagney as a newspaper reporter who is set up by thugs and condemned to life in prison. George Raft plays a jailbird who claims to know how to help Cagney clear his name, if Cagney will help Raft escape from prison. Similar in tone and plot line to Mayor of Hell (which I saw immediately before this). Which treatment is more appropriate for prisoners -- vengeance and punishment or understanding and reform?

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

Each Dawn I Die Quotes

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