The Criminal Code (1931) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Criminal Code1931

The Criminal Code (1931)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Criminal Code Photos

Movie Info

Howard Hawks' early sound prison melodrama, based on a play by Martin Flavin, already contains his stylistic signature of over-lapping dialogue -- a technique he would greatly expand upon in the next ten years. Walter Huston is district attorney Brady, who quickly convicts Robert Graham (Phillips Holmes) of murdering a man who was harassing his girlfriend. Brady is later made the warden of the prison where Robert is held. Brady tries to make friends with Robert, but Robert will have no dealings with the new warden. Nevertheless, Brady, who thinks Robert is a decent man who became embroiled in extraordinary circumstances, gives Robert a job as his chauffeur. As he drives with Brady's daughter Mary (Constance Cummings), the two fall in love. Meanwhile, things heat up back at the prison, where crazed killer Ned Galloway (Boris Karloff) kills the squealer Runch (Clark Marshall). Robert knows Ned killed Runch, but refuses to tell Brady. Brady reluctantly sends Robert to solitary confinement to get him to give up the murderer's name, but Robert holds out on him.


Walter Huston
as Mark Brady
Phillips Holmes
as Robert Graham
Mary Doran
as Gertrude Williams
John Sheehan
as McManus
Boris Karloff
as Ned Galloway
Nicholas Soussanin
as Dr. Rinewulf
Arthur Hoyt
as Nettleford
Lee Phelps
as Doherty
Paul Porcasi
as Tony Spelvin
Jack Vance
as Reporter
John St. Polis
as Dr. Rinewulf
Russell Hopton
as State's Attorney
Tetsu Komai
as Convict
Al Hill
as Food Deliverer
View All

Critic Reviews for The Criminal Code

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

Granted that Howard Hawks's direction is for the most part intelligent and firm, there are occasional sequences which he spoils by extravagant ideas or by leaving too little to the imagination.

January 28, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Prison melodrama is stuffy and uninventive, despite good cast.

July 7, 2010 | Full Review…

Unsentimental prison drama.

December 22, 2006 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Criminal Code


The best thing about this movie was Boris Karloff.This was the 1st time I've ever seen him in a non horror role & He was truly creepy.I love old prison flicks so I was hoping for a good movie but it was just OK.Without Boris Karloff, It would've totally sucked

Brody Manson
Brody Manson

Super Reviewer

The Criminal Code Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features