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Golden Boy

4.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Born in Brooklyn in 1907, Barbara Stanwyck was a Hollywood superstar for over six decades. And now one of her greatest films, the classic Golden Boy, comes to DVD! Newcomer William Holden became an overnight sensation in the role of a young violinist who turns to boxing and finds himself torn between his two occupations - especially when seductive Stanwyck slinks into his life. Based on the hit play by legendary Clifford Odets, directed by innovative genius Rouben Mamoulian, and featuring a superb supporting cast including Adolphe Menjou (Paths Of Glory), Lee J. Cobb (On The WaterfrontTouch Of Evil) and Sam Levene (Brute Force), Golden Boy packs just as big a punch today as it did when it came out in 1939, widely considered the greatest movie year ever.


Barbara Stanwyck purists--and who isn't one?--are in for a treat with Golden Boy, a little-seen but true gem of a hard-knocks romance. The film's pedigree is aces: Based on a play by Clifford Odets, directed by the great Rouben Mamoulian, and starring not only Stanwyck but Adolphe Menjou, Lee J. Cobb, and a fresh-faced William Holden, in his breakout screen role. The film crackles with 1939 pre-noir atmosphere, with the New Yawk guys and dames spinning slang out of the sides of their mouths.

Stanwyck sparkles as Lorna Moon, a gruff gal running around with the married Tom Moody (Menjou), a boxing promoter looking for the Next Big Thing. In walks the dreamy young Joe Bonaparte (Holden), part violin prodigy, part boxing phenom--though he doesn't look the pugilist part at first. "He's got curls, too!" sneers the scornful Moody. But Joe makes a believer out of him--and of the slinky Lorna. When fists start flying, so do the sparks. Some of the dialogue is dated (not to mention the young wife who likes being smacked around), but the snapshot of the era is spot-on, and Stanwyck, as always, steers the film to a higher ground.

Extras include a Ford Theatre TV episode, "Sudden Silence" from the mid-'50s; a cartoon, "The Kangaroo Kid"; a crazy comedy short called "Pleased to Mitt You" starring Stooge Shemp Howard (!); and other great vintage tidbits. Get ready to go 15 rounds with Golden Boy. --A.T. Hurley

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Edward S. Brophy, Lee Cobb, Barbara Stanwyck, William Holden, Adolphe Menjou
  • Directors: Rouben Mamoulian
  • Producers: William Perlberg
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,614 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Golden Boy" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Columbia Pictures "Golden Boy", released in 1939 retells one of the most famous of ringside stories in the tale of a sensitive boy who loves his violin playing but who because of grinding poverty is forced into the tough and uncompromising world of major league boxing. A major release for 1939 the role of Joe Bonaparte provided a star making break for the young and largely inexperienced William Holden after Columbia was unable to borrow their first choice for the role, Twentieth Century Fox star Tyrone Power. Although the male character is really central to most of the action, "Golden Boy", also provided a very important role for Barbara Stanwyck which aided greatly in her climb to top stardom which had been given a major push two years previously with her acclaimed Academy Award nominated performance in "Stella Dallas". Accused by some as being now a dated melodrama its underlying theme of the often painful compromises that we often are forced to make in life is still just as timely and the Stanwyck/Holden/Menjou combination works wonderfully in bringing this often used theme with its stock characters to life.

"Golden Boy", had already enjoyed great success on Broadway when Columbia Pictures bought the rights and it offered a plum lead role to any young actor. We first see Joe (William Holden), as a studious young man in a poor and largely Italian neighbourhood of New York. Preferring to play his violin to earning a living the traditional way Joe is encouraged by his father (Lee J. Cobb)), who wants to see his son perfect his craft. Joe however begins to see that his life will never change unless he earns real money and despite his father's opposition Joe begins to earn quick money in the boxing ring.
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Format: DVD
This film was William Holden's star vehicle, with him being only 21 at the time he starred in this movie as a violinist turned boxer. Barbara Stanwyck plays a hard-boiled tough lady who turns out to have a soft spot - much like in 1941's "Meet John Doe" - brought out by Holden's Joe Bonaparte. She is torn between loyalty to Menjou's Tom Moody and the fact that she is drawn to Holden's Bonaparte. And Adolphe Menjou - what can I say? He almost always improves any picture he's in, and I can't seem to dislike him even when he plays the cad. It is a good film full of great performances, raw emotion, and wonderful cinematography, but it is not well remembered because of its year of release - 1939. That was the year of Gone with the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and The Wizard of Oz. However, it did do quite well at the box office.

The bonus materials include three vintage short subjects: The Kangaroo Kid, a 1938 color cartoon spoof of Golden Boy; the 1940 two-reeler Pleased To Mitt You, one of the "Glove Slingers" series of comedy shorts with Shemp Howard (of The Three Stooges); and the August 1, 1930 edition of Screen Snapshots, which features a 23-year-old Stanwyck being taught to play golf by fellow actor Ricardo Cortez. The DVD also contains her very first dramatic TV appearance: the western drama Sudden Silence, a 1956 episode of "Ford Television Theatre" that has been unseen for 50 years. The source of information on these extras was a press release issued when the DVD was announced. It is good to see Sony giving its classics some consideration for a change and not just dumping an old classic film on a disc with no extras in order to pump up the release of a usually inferior remake. "All the King's Men" comes to mind in this category.
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By A Customer on July 31, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
A young man is torn between being a violinist and a prizefighter. Lifelong friends since this 1939 film, Bill Holden always gave credit to Stanwyck for helping him with his rather difficult role of Joe Bonaparte, the Golden Boy of the title. Very green as an actor, Holden had a tough battle to succeed in the role; Stanwyck spent time giving him acting advice(she had acted in films a dozen years already) and her coaching was in no small part of an amazing performance coming from such a novice. Barbara is in typical excellent form; her Lorna Moon is blunt and without illusions (she usually was, wasn't she?) - clearly a woman who "knows the score". Much of the film seems oversimplified today with unneccesary sentiment with Lee J. Cobb in a rather overwrought performance as Joe's "You-a-gooda-boy" Italian pop. However, the picture retains solid virtues in the authentic fight scenes and the "real" performances of three pros: Stanwyck, Menjou and Calleia. In a year too rich with fabulous movies (It's highly doubtful that 1939 will EVER be matched again for the number of superlative movies released in a single year) Golden Boy did mediocre business. Holden sent Stanwyck a single red rose on the anniversary of G.B.'s release date annually for the rest of his life-he felt that indebted to her for her immeasureable help.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a great movie made in a banner year for movies. 1939. Golden Boy introduced William Holden to millions of fans. It was Barbara Stanwyck who stood by him and convinced the producers to keep him in the movie. The results are evident. Holden plays the confused young man torn between his love of music and love for boxing, not to mention his love for the tough and complicated Stanwyck. The dialogue is good and the portrayal of an Italian -American family of the time and the father-son struggle and the romantic adventure all play as well today as they did in 1939. When Stanwyck received the Special Oscar in 1982 she paid tribute to Holden with the words "to my Golden Boy, wherever you are." Both William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck live on forever in film and in this great movie. Bravo to Golden Boy.
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