Bullets or Ballots

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For the 1964 speech by Malcolm X, see The Ballot or the Bullet.
Bullets or Ballots
Bullets or Ballots 1936 poster.jpg
1936 Theatrical Poster
Directed by William Keighley
Produced by Louis F. Edelman (uncredited)
Written by Seton I. Miller
Martin Mooney
Starring Edward G. Robinson
Joan Blondell
Barton MacLane
Humphrey Bogart
Frank McHugh
Music by Bernhard Kaun
Cinematography Hal Mohr
Edited by Jack Killifer
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • June 6, 1936 (1936-06-06)
Running time
82 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Bullets or Ballots is a 1936 gangster film starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Barton MacLane and Humphrey Bogart. Robinson plays a police detective who infiltrates a crime gang. This is the first of several films featuring both Robinson and Bogart.

Robinson's character, "Johnny Blake," was based on Johnny Broderick, a noted New York City detective.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

Detective Johnny Blake (Edward G. Robinson) is a New York City cop who has made his reputation by cracking down on racketeers. When Blake gets kicked off the force, a powerful crime boss named Al Kruger (Barton MacLane) hires him in an attempt to gain fresh ideas about sidestepping the law and expanding his criminal empire. Blake soon gains Kruger's trust and rises through the ranks of the criminal organization, much to the distaste of Bugs Fenner (Humphrey Bogart), who believes Blake to be a police informer.[2]


Adaptations to Other Media[edit]

Bullets or Ballots was adapted as a one-hour radio play on the April 17, 1939 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater with Edward G. Robinson, Mary Astor and Humphrey Bogart.[3]


  1. ^ "John Broderick is Dead at 72; Renowned as Tough Detective". The New York Times. January 18, 1966. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  2. ^ http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/66/Bullets-or-Ballots/articles.html
  3. ^ "Radio Classics: Bullets or Ballots rebroadcast". Radio Classics. November 18, 2015. 60 minutes in. Sirius XM. Sirius XM Channel 148. Retrieved November 18, 2015. 

External links[edit]