Ronald Reagan Appears as Jim Donohue in "Hell's Kitchen"

Hell's Kitchen is a 1939 Warner Bros.

film starring Ronald Reagan and The Dead End Kids.


Buck Caesar (Stanley Fields) is a paroled convict who makes a contribution to a reform school on the advice of his nephew, Jim Donahue (Ronald Reagan), a lawyer. Jim feels that the boys in the reform school, including Tony (Billy Halop), Gyp (Leo Gorcey), Joey (Bobby Jordan), Bongo (Huntz Hall), Ace (Gabriel Dell), and "Ouch" (Bernard Punsly), could benefit from the contribution and he believes the publicity from it will help his uncle.

The superintendent, Krispan (Grant Mitchell), does not want the contribution to lead to an audit, as he has been carrying two sets of financial books. He gets a professional hockey team to substitute for the team his school will be playing. His reasoning is that Buck will place a large bet on the school and lose, thereby getting him angry and possibly violent, which would violate his parole and send him back to prison. Buck does proceed to get angry and punches the opposing coach and then hides to avoid arrest.

Krispan continues in his role as ruler of the school, which had deteriorated under Buck's influence. As punishment for their actions while Buck was around, Krispan locks Joey into a freezer and he dies. The other kids revolt and Buck comes out of hiding to aid them. The kids capture Krispan and make him go through a trial where they convict him to "join Joey". Buck, however, has gone to the police and they arrive in time to stop them. Krispan is punished through the proper legal channels and Buck returns to prison for violation of parole.

Previous versions

This film is a remake of The Mayor of Hell (1933) starring James Cagney, and another Dead End Kids film, Crime School (1938).


* Ronald Reagan as Jim
* Margaret Lindsay as Beth
* Billy Halop as Tony
* Bobby Jordan as Joey
* Leo Gorcey as Gyp
* Gabriel Dell as Bingo
* Huntz Hall as Ace
* Bernard Punsly as Ouch


* The film was given an "H" rating (now known as an "X" rating) in the United Kingdom due to its violence.