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Sergeant Madden (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Family | 24 March 1939 (USA)
A highly respected Irish cop is pleased when his son follows him onto the force. Unfortunately, the son is more interested in rewards than in upholding the law. When he shoots a child ... See full summary »


Josef von Sternberg (as Josef Von Sternberg)


William A. Ullman Jr. (story "A Gun In His Hand") (as William A. Ulman Jr.), Wells Root (screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Wallace Beery ... Sgt. Shaun Madden
Tom Brown ... Albert 'Al' Boylan, Jr.
Alan Curtis ... Dennis Madden
Laraine Day ... Eileen Daly
Fay Holden ... Mary Madden
Marc Lawrence ... 'Piggy' Ceders
Marion Martin ... Charlotte LePage
David Gorcey ... Punchy LePage
Donald Haines Donald Haines ... Milton
Ben Welden ... Henchman Stemmy
Etta McDaniel ... Dove (Madden's maid)
John Kelly ... Henchman Nero
Horace McMahon ... Philadelphia (as Horace MacMahon)
Neil Fitzgerald Neil Fitzgerald ... Casey (police broadcaster)
Dickie Jones ... Dennis Madden, as a boy


A highly respected Irish cop is pleased when his son follows him onto the force. Unfortunately, the son is more interested in rewards than in upholding the law. When he shoots a child caught stealing, the others frame him and he is sent to prison where his attitude becomes even worse than before. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Beery's Back In "Big House" Thrills ! See more »


Crime | Drama | Family


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

24 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El borrón de la familia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film's initial telecast took place in Los Angeles Sunday 18 August 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11); it first aired in New Haven CT 8 October 1957 on WNHC (Channel 8), in Altoona PA 22 October 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), in Peoria 26 October 1957 on WTVH (Channel 19), in Spokane 7 November 1957 on KHQ (Channel 6), in Lebanon PA 9 November 1957 on WLBR (Channel 15), in Philadelphia 23 November 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Norfolk VA 3 December 1957 on WTAR (Channel 3), in Honolulu 2 January 1958 on KHVH (Channel 13), in Chicago 31 January 1958 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Baltimore 9 February 1958 on WJZ (Channel 13), in Cincinnati 18 March 1958 on WXIX (Channel 19) (Newport KY), in Omaha 28 March 1958 on WOW (Channel 6), in Salt Lake City 2 April 1958 on KTVT (Channel 4), in Binghamton NY 21 April 1958 on WNBF (Channel 12), and in Indianapolis 26 April 1958 on WLW-I (Channel 13). Madden finally made it to New York City 23 July 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2), to San Francisco 26 September 1959 on KGO (Channel 7), and last, but not least, to Seattle 11 February 1960 on KING (Channel 5). See more »


When Eileen is exiting the doctor's office, studio lights and the boom microphone can be seen in reflection in the door's glass as it closes. See more »


Sgt. Shaun Madden: Aww... you shouldn't be kissing an old sheepdog like me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: There is an unsung hero on our street to whom we owe our lives a hundred times, yet seldom know his name. He is the cop on the beat. This is the story of such a hero.. A policeman who chose between love for his son and devotion to duty. See more »

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User Reviews

Maddening von Sternberg
13 October 2003 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Typical Wallace Beery feature rendered weird and beautiful by von Sternberg direction. Although only Beery gives a good performance -- slower and much more introspective than his usual Long John Silver of this era --the von Sternberg visual touches -- the odd camera angle that brings out the lines on Beery's face, or the macrame drapes that cast shadows on the juveniles -- make this a deeply disturbing movie, like Tarrantino directing an episode of Sesame Street.

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