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Three Godfathers (1936)

Passed | | Action, Drama, Western | 6 March 1936 (USA)
Four outlaws come to New Jerusalem, a town full of courteous and religious people, to rob the bank. After shooting the president of the bank, only three make it out of town followed by the ... See full summary »


Edward E. Paramore Jr. (screen play), Manuel Seff (screen play) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chester Morris ... Bob Sangster
Lewis Stone ... James Underwood - aka 'Doc'
Walter Brennan ... Sam Bartow - aka Gus
Irene Hervey ... Molly
Sidney Toler ... Prof. Snape
Dorothy Tree ... Blackie Winters
Roger Imhof Roger Imhof ... Sheriff
Willard Robertson ... Rev. McLane
Robert Livingston ... Frank Benson
John Sheehan ... Ed Barrow
Joseph Marievsky Joseph Marievsky ... Pedro
Victor Potel ... 'Buck Tooth'
Helen Brown Helen Brown ... Mrs. George Marshall
Harvey Clark Harvey Clark ... Marcus Treen
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. McLane


Four outlaws come to New Jerusalem, a town full of courteous and religious people, to rob the bank. After shooting the president of the bank, only three make it out of town followed by the posse. By the time they get to the second desert water hole, they find it dry and also find a wagon with a dying mother and baby. When the horses are dead the next morning, the three outlaws have no choice but to try to walk back to New Jerusalem and only two want to take the baby. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


ON THE BRINK OF HELL.. A BABY'S SMILE CAME INTO THE DARKENED SOULS OF THREE BAD MEN! (Print Ad- Buffalo Courier-Express ((Buffalo NY)) 4 April 1936)


Action | Drama | Western


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 March 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Godfathers See more »

Filming Locations:

Mojave, California, USA 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?


Sam McDaniel (Cook), Dewey Robinson and Charles Stevens (Horse Thieves) are in studio records for their roles, but they were not seen in the movie. See more »


Robert 'Bob' Sangster: There ain't no Santy Claus!
See more »


Version of Broncho Billy and the Baby (1915) See more »


Oh, Dem Golden Slippers
(1879) (uncredited)
Written by James Allen Bland
Played at the Christmas social
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User Reviews

Not just another 1930's Western
2 January 2019 | by Red-125See all my reviews

Three Godfathers (1936) was directed by Richard Boleslawski.

This could have been just another 1930's Western film, but that's not how things turned out. Naturally, the movie is outdated, but the basic plot isn't.

Three outlaws rob a bank and escape. They are confronted with an impossible situation--a young infant who will die unless they get him back to the town from which they've just escaped.

The outlaws are portrayed by Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, and Walter Brennan. The two women who love one of the outlaws are played by Irene Hervey and Dorothy Tree.

Some readers may remember Walter Brennan. He was a superb character actor, who won three Oscars. For me, none of the other actors were people whose names I recognized.

Nonetheless, the actors were all solid professionals. They had long and relatively successful careers. (Tree's career was cut short because she was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee.) The fact is, although none of them were marquee stars, they all could act. The professionalism shows through each frame.

I liked this movie because it started hard and ended that way. The three outlaws didn't have hearts of gold. They robbed the bank just before Christmas, when the bank held money people were saving for buying presents. They shot people who got in their way. The younger man was basically a sociopath, with no scruples about anything. Not a charming gang. That's what made the film interesting.

This is seen as a Christmas movie, and that part isn't subtle. The town they rob is called New Jerusalem. The film is set right before Christmas. Three men find a young child in the desert.

Nevertheless, the movie is realistic and moving. We saw it on a small screen. Probably it would work better in a theater, but I've never seen it screened. So, small screen is how you'll see it.

It's not a great film, but it's an excellent film. It has aged well, and is worth watching. I recommend it.

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