Code of the Secret Service

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Code of the Secret Service
Code of the Secret Service film.jpg
Poster of Code of the Secret Service
Directed byNoel M. Smith
Screenplay byWilliam H. Moran
Lee Katz
Dean Riesner
Produced byBryan Foy
Hal B. Wallis
Jack L. Warner
StarringRonald Reagan
Rosella Towne
Eddie Foy, Jr.
Moroni Olsen
Edgar Edwards
Jack Mower
CinematographyTed D. McCord
Edited byFrederick Richards
Music byBernhard Kaun
Max Steiner
Release date
  • May 27, 1939 (1939-05-27)
Running time
58 minutes
CountryUnited States
External video
video icon Original Trailer for Code of the Secret Service

Code of the Secret Service is a 1939 film directed by Noel M. Smith and starring Ronald Reagan. It is the second of four films in the U.S. Secret Service Agent Brass Bancroft series, having been preceded by Secret Service of the Air (1939) and followed by Smashing the Money Ring (1939) and Murder in the Air (1940).

The series was part of a late 1930s effort by Warner Bros. to produce films depicting law enforcement in a positive light under pressure from Homer Stille Cummings (Franklin D. Roosevelt's Attorney General) and Will H. Hays (creator of the Motion Picture Production Code, the film industry's censorship guidelines), due to the studio's part in producing early 1930s films glamorizing gangsters.[1]

The series also enabled Warner Bros. to create Reagan's screen persona, with Reagan even showing up to the set of Code of the Secret Service and asking director Noel M. Smith, "When do I fight and whom?"[1]


United States Secret Service Lieutenant Brass Bancroft (Ronald Reagan) and his partner, Gabby Watters (Eddie Foy, Jr., producer Bryan Foy's brother), seek engraving plates stolen from the U.S. Treasury Department by a counterfeiting ring in Mexico.[2][3][4] Fellow Secret Service agent Dan Crockett informs Bancroft that the leader of the gang is a peg-legged man named Parker, but he is killed and Bancroft is falsely blamed for the death.

He boards a train to Santa Margarita with two members of the counterfeiting gang, who tip off authorities and bring the police to the train. After Bancroft escapes the train, Parker arrives in disguise as a friar and captures him at an abandoned mission church. After Bancroft flees, the police capture him. Gabby helps him break out of prison by distracting the guards with a game of strip poker. Brass kidnaps a woman named Elaine and forces her to take him to a telegraph station to contact the U.S. State Department. They are captured by the counterfeiters but escape and destroy the engraving plates. The mission explodes and Parker flees with the remaining plates but dies in an automobile crash after a car chase.[5] Brass wins Elaine's heart and returns to Washington, D.C. with the plates.[6][5]


The cast included:[2][7][8][9]


The film was shot on location in Mexico using extras and sets from the film Juarez. Ronald Reagan insisted on doing all of his own stunts.[6]


Reagan called Code of the Secret Service "the worst picture I ever made"[10] and commented on it, "never has an egg of such dimensions been laid." Producer Bryan Foy attempted to shelve the film. Warner Bros. refused to do so, but did agree to not release it in Los Angeles. Commenting on the film, a ticket taker at a movie theater in another city reportedly told Reagan, "You should be ashamed."[1]

In a 1939 review, the Calgary Herald called the movie "quite far-fetched in places and not very interesting as a whole."[11]

Ronald Reagan assassination attempt[edit]

After seeing the movie repeatedly as a child, Jerry Parr was inspired to join the Secret Service. Parr would go on to save the life of the President of the United States in a 1981 assassination attempt. The President was Ronald Reagan, the star of Code of the Secret Service.[10][12][13][14][15][16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Stephanie Thames. "Code of the Secret Service". TCM Movie Database. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Code of the Secret Service at the TCM Movie Database
  3. ^ "Synopsis of Code of the Secret Service". AMC. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  4. ^ Hal Erickson. "Code of the Secret Service Synopsis - Plot Summary". Fandango/Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Zach Nauth (February 15, 1985). "Fan Who Saved Life of President to Get His Reward Today". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ a b "Code of the Secret Service". Archived from the original on 2021-12-08. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  7. ^ Code of the Secret Service at IMDb
  8. ^ "Code of the Secret Service Movie Credits, Cast, and Actor Biographies". AMC. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  9. ^ "Code of the Secret Service Cast and Crew". Fandango. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Pat Williams; Jim Denney (February 2008). Souls of Steel: How to Build Character in Ourselves and Our Kids. New York City: FaithWords/Hachette Book Group USA. ISBN 978-0-446-51129-2.
  11. ^ "'The Man In The Iron Mask' Is Elaborately Produced, Packs Lots of Excitement". Calgary Herald. October 2, 1939. p. 5.
  12. ^ Del Quentin Wilber (2011). Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan. New York City: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 18–20, 224. ISBN 978-0-8050-9346-9. code of the secret service.
  13. ^ Chris Matthews (2009). The Hardball Handbook: How to Win at Life. New York City: Random House. pp. 173–174. ISBN 978-0-8129-7597-0.
  14. ^ Peter Schweizer (2002). Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism. New York City: Anchor Books/Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-7556-0.
  15. ^ Peggy Noonan (2001). When Character was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan. New York City: Viking Penguin. p. 195. ISBN 0-670-88235-6.
  16. ^ Rick Beyer (2007). The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy. New York City: The History Channel/HarperCollins. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-06-076018-2.
  17. ^ Scott D. Pierce (October 22, 2004). "Secret Service secrets revealed". Deseret News.

External links[edit]