Street Scene (1931) - Rotten Tomatoes

Street Scene (1931)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Street Scene Photos

Movie Info

In this adaptation of Elmer Rice's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, the entire story takes place on the street in front of a foreboding old New York brownstone, between one evening and the next afternoon. The individual fates of eight neighboring Manhattan families intertwine during this brief stretch of time.

Watch it now


Sylvia Sidney
as Rose Maurrant
William Collier
as Sam Kaplan
Beulah Bondi
as Emma Jones
Estelle Taylor
as Mrs. Maurrant
Max Montor
as Abe Kaplan
David Landau
as Frank Maurrant
Matt McHugh
as Vincent Jones
Russell Hopton
as Steve Sankey
T.H. Manning
as George Jones
Greta Granstedt
as Mae Jones
Tom Manning
as George Jones
Adele Watson
as Olga Olsen
John Qualen
as Karl Olsen
Anna Konstant
as Shirley Kaplan
George Humbert
as Filippo Fiorentino
Eleanor Wesselhoeft
as Greta Fiorentino
Nora Cecil
as Alice Simpson
Louis Natheaux
as Harry Easter
Lambert Rogers
as Willie Maurrant
Virginia Davis
as Mary Hildebrand
Helen Lovett
as Laura Hildebrand
Kenneth Seiling
as Charlie Hildebrand
Conway Washburne
as Dan Buchanan
Russell Howard
as Dr. John Wilson
Dick Powell
as Officer Harry Murphy
Walter James
as Marshal James Henry
Harry Wallace
as Fred Cullen
Monte Carter
as Minor Role
Jane Mercer
as Minor Role
Walter Miller
as Mr. Bert Easter
View All

Critic Reviews for Street Scene

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1)

With the cinematographer George Barnes, Vidor-keeping the stagelike setting outside the apartment building-sends the camera plunging frenetically into the fray and conjures the city's architectural space with deep-focus images.

September 21, 2020 | Full Review…

Street Scene proves the tremendous possibilities of sound and music wedded intelligently to the pictorial image.

January 20, 2021 | Full Review…

A theatrical snapshot that's also a heaving Vidor vision

May 24, 2015 | Full Review…

Too stage-struck and mired in generalities to be a moving experience.

January 11, 2005 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Dated but moving melodrama

June 25, 2004 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Street Scene


Wearing its heart on its sleeve, this slice-of-life (whose message is the question "why can't we all just get along?"), set in front of a New York apartment building in a poor neighborhood, is about social justice and hangs it's coat on one family where the husband both ignores his wife and derides her. The production shoots for the stars and aims for the heart, though the effort hasn't aged well. Still, its a quality effort. Bealah Bondi, trusty character actress, carries the thing as the well-meaning neighbor you love to hate.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Tensions run high in a multi-ethnic neighborhood during a New York heatwave. It sounds like the plot of Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" yet this was filmed some sixty years prior. As well as Lee, it appears to have had a major influence on Woody Allen. If you've seen "Manhattan" (and if you haven't, stop reading and go watch it) several sequences will be familiar. The opening and middle montages of New York at sundown and sunset with their Gershwin-esque score by Alfred Newman bear more than a passing resemblance to Allen's great opening. Likewise the movie's final scene, involving a rebuttal of a lover by a young girl who is a lot more mature than he had thought. It's adapted by the writer Elmer Rice from his Pulitzer winning stage play and in the hands of an average director of the time it would probably be no more than a filmed play. Vidor is not average thankfully and this is a beautiful film in the visual sense. His camera is constantly on the move, probing the nooks and crannies of a very convincing set. He finds inventive angles which reveal subtle information such as the low shot which reveals the outwardly prim and proper Bondi adjusting her underwear out of sight of the neighbours she disrespects. Had this been made after the introduction of the code it would have been a very different film. Characters throw racial insults around casually and the local good-time girl flaunts her bra-less cleavage in a manner which must have provoked outrage at the time. Thanks to the pre-code dialogue, the movie has aged extremely well. The New York Times complained at the time that the dialogue was "spoken without sufficient pause". This of course was made a good decade before Hawks and Sturges would turn quickfire banter into an artform. The realistic language seems however to enable the actors to relax into their parts and the performances are so natural it feels like it was made thirty years later. Sidney is particularly good and looks fantastic. I actually came across this purely by mistake while searching for another of Sidney's movies, "City Streets". You can view the movie in it's entirety on Youtube and I thoroughly suggest you do.

The Movie Waffler
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

Street Scene Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features