Barbary Coast Movie Cast: Gold Rush Drama’s Stars

Step back in time to the mesmerizing world of the Gold Rush era with the 1935 film “Barbary Coast.” Directed by Howard Hawks, this captivating drama takes place in San Francisco during the 1890s and showcases a stellar cast of talented actors.

barbary coast movie cast

Join us as we explore the renowned actors who brought this thrilling tale to life. From Edward G. Robinson to Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, and Walter Brennan, each member of the cast delivers an unforgettable performance that adds depth and authenticity to the story.

Key Takeaways:

  • The 1935 film “Barbary Coast” is set during the Gold Rush era in San Francisco.
  • Director Howard Hawks helmed the project, bringing his unique vision to the screen.
  • The cast includes acclaimed actors such as Edward G. Robinson, Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, and Walter Brennan.
  • The film provides a captivating glimpse into the wild and lawless Barbary Coast.
  • Experience the thrilling drama and adventure of the Gold Rush through the exceptional performances of the talented cast.

Director and Screenwriter of Barbary Coast

The 1935 film “Barbary Coast” was directed by Howard Hawks, a prominent filmmaker known for his work in various genres including adventure, drama, and crime. Hawks brought his unique storytelling style and visual flair to “Barbary Coast,” creating a captivating cinematic experience set against the backdrop of the Gold Rush era in San Francisco.

The screenplay for “Barbary Coast” was written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, renowned screenwriters of their time. Hecht and MacArthur’s collaboration resulted in a script that masterfully blended elements of romance, suspense, and action, bringing the turbulent world of the Barbary Coast to life on the silver screen.

Produced by Samuel Goldwyn and distributed by United Artists Corp, “Barbary Coast” was backed by a team of industry professionals who understood the importance of creating a compelling narrative and delivering a visually stunning film to captivate audiences.

DirectorHoward Hawks
ScreenwritersBen Hecht, Charles MacArthur
ProducerSamuel Goldwyn
DistributorUnited Artists Corp

The collaboration between director Howard Hawks, screenwriters Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, and the support of Samuel Goldwyn and United Artists Corp resulted in the creation of “Barbary Coast” – a film that has stood the test of time and continues to be appreciated for its craftsmanship and storytelling.

Main Actors in Barbary Coast

The cast of “Barbary Coast” is comprised of talented actors who bring the characters to life with their captivating performances. Let’s take a closer look at the main actors in the film:

Edward G. Robinson as Luis Chamalis

Edward G. Robinson delivers a memorable performance as Luis Chamalis, the powerful saloon owner and antagonist of the film. With his commanding presence and nuanced portrayal, Robinson showcases his versatility as an actor.

Miriam Hopkins as Mary ‘Swan’ Rutledge

Miriam Hopkins shines in the role of Mary ‘Swan’ Rutledge, the fearless and determined protagonist. Hopkins brings depth to the character, capturing Mary’s resilience and strength amidst the challenges of the Barbary Coast.

Joel McCrea as Jim Carmichael

Joel McCrea portrays Jim Carmichael, a young prospector who forms a unique connection with Mary. McCrea’s portrayal of Jim exudes sincerity and brings a sense of vulnerability to the character.

Walter Brennan as Old Atrocity

Walter Brennan adds a touch of charm and humor to the film as Old Atrocity, a character with a colorful personality. Brennan’s performance showcases his comedic timing and ability to create memorable characters.

These talented actors contribute to the overall success of “Barbary Coast,” capturing the essence of the Gold Rush era and delivering compelling performances that keep viewers engaged.

barbary coast movie actors

Edward G. RobinsonLuis Chamalis
Miriam HopkinsMary ‘Swan’ Rutledge
Joel McCreaJim Carmichael
Walter BrennanOld Atrocity

Supporting Cast of Barbary Coast

While the main actors in “Barbary Coast” bring the story to life, the supporting cast also plays a vital role in creating a rich and immersive world. Here are some of the talented actors who contributed to the film:

Frank CravenCol. Marcus Aurelius Cobb
Brian DonlevyKnuckles
Clyde CookOakie
Harry CareySlocum

The supporting cast brings depth and complexity to their respective characters, adding layers of intrigue and authenticity to the overall narrative. Frank Craven delivers a memorable performance as Col. Marcus Aurelius Cobb, a larger-than-life character who adds a touch of humor to the story. Brian Donlevy portrays the enigmatic Knuckles with a mix of danger and charm, while Clyde Cook brings a lovable and bumbling quality to the role of Oakie. Harry Carey’s portrayal of Slocum brings a sense of ruggedness and wisdom to the film.

Each actor in the supporting cast contributes to the overall tapestry of “Barbary Coast,” enhancing the world-building and creating a more immersive experience for the audience. Their performances complement the main actors and help to establish the unique atmosphere of the Gold Rush era.

Crew and Production of Barbary Coast

Behind the camera, “Barbary Coast” was brought to life by a talented crew. Director Howard Hawks, known for his expertise in directing action-packed films, skillfully guided the production. The film’s screenplay was written by the renowned duo Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, who crafted a compelling narrative set against the backdrop of the Gold Rush era in San Francisco.

Producer Samuel Goldwyn, a prominent figure in the Golden Age of Hollywood, played a pivotal role in bringing “Barbary Coast” to the silver screen. With his keen eye for storytelling and dedication to quality filmmaking, Goldwyn ensured that the production was executed with the utmost care and attention to detail.

The editing of “Barbary Coast” was expertly handled by Edward A. Curtiss, who skillfully pieced together the footage to create a seamless and engaging viewing experience. The cinematography, led by Ray June, captured the essence of the wild and lawless Barbary Coast, immersing audiences in the gritty atmosphere of the era.

To gain a better understanding of the crew and production of “Barbary Coast,” refer to the table below:

DirectorHoward Hawks
ProducerSamuel Goldwyn
ScreenwritersBen Hecht, Charles MacArthur
EditorEdward A. Curtiss
CinematographerRay June

With a talented crew and a dedicated production team, “Barbary Coast” was able to successfully capture the essence of the Gold Rush era and deliver a thrilling cinematic experience.

Release Date and Genre of Barbary Coast

“Barbary Coast,” a captivating adventure and drama film set in the Gold Rush era of the 1890s, was released on September 27, 1935. Directed by Howard Hawks and starring a talented cast, the movie takes audiences on a thrilling journey through the lawless streets of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast.

The film immerses viewers in the excitement and intensity of the Gold Rush, showcasing the challenges and dangers faced by those seeking fortune in a wild and untamed land. With stunning cinematography and a gripping storyline, “Barbary Coast” captures the spirit of the era, painting a vivid picture of a time and place filled with adventure and uncertainty.

Combining elements of action, romance, and intrigue, the movie appeals to a wide range of audiences. It offers a thrilling narrative that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats while also exploring themes of love, loyalty, and survival. The compelling performances of the cast bring the characters to life, adding depth and emotional resonance to the story.

Release DateGenre
September 27, 1935Adventure, Drama

Overall, “Barbary Coast” is a must-watch film for fans of classic cinema. It transports audiences to a bygone era and offers a thrilling cinematic experience with its captivating storyline, talented cast, and immersive visuals.

Synopsis of Barbary Coast

“Barbary Coast” is a gripping drama set in San Francisco during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. The film follows the story of Mary Rutledge, played by Miriam Hopkins, a young woman who arrives in San Francisco to marry her fiancé only to discover his untimely death and the loss of his fortune to the ruthless saloon owner, Luis Chamalis, portrayed by Edward G. Robinson. Determined to survive in this lawless and chaotic era, Mary takes a job as a roulette operator in Chamalis’ saloon, where she meets Jim Carmichael, played by Joel McCrea, a young prospector seeking his fortune.

As Mary and Jim forge an unlikely connection, they navigate the treacherous Barbary Coast, facing numerous challenges and dangerous encounters. With their lives intertwined, they must confront their own personal demons and the powerful forces that threaten to tear them apart. The film captures the raw excitement and intensity of the Gold Rush era, portraying the struggles and triumphs of the characters against the backdrop of a rapidly changing and wild San Francisco.

Directed by Howard Hawks, “Barbary Coast” showcases the talents of a stellar cast including Edward G. Robinson, Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, and Walter Brennan. Their captivating performances bring depth and emotional resonance to the characters, adding layers of complexity to the story. Through its compelling narrative and richly drawn characters, “Barbary Coast” immerses viewers in a thrilling and tumultuous journey through an iconic period in American history.

Key Plot Points:

  • Mary Rutledge arrives in San Francisco to marry her fiancé, only to discover his death and loss of his fortune to saloon owner Luis Chamalis.
  • Mary takes a job as a roulette operator in Chamalis’ saloon and forms a connection with young prospector Jim Carmichael.
  • Mary and Jim face numerous challenges and navigate the lawlessness of the Barbary Coast.
  • They confront personal demons and powerful forces that threaten to tear them apart.

Memorable Quotes:

“You’re not a man who likes me and I’m not a woman who likes you… but we’re swept into this thing together.”

barbary coast movie poster

Critical Reception of Barbary Coast

Despite the mixed reviews from critics, “Barbary Coast” remains an intriguing entry in Howard Hawks’ filmography. The film received both praise and criticism for various aspects of its production and storytelling. Some critics commended the atmospheric portrayal of the Gold Rush era, with its lavish sets and attention to detail, while others felt that the film lacked depth and originality.

The performances of the cast were a highlight for many reviewers. Edward G. Robinson’s portrayal of the powerful saloon owner, Luis Chamalis, was praised for its intensity and charisma. Miriam Hopkins brought complexity to her role as Mary Rutledge, seamlessly navigating the emotional journey of her character. Joel McCrea’s portrayal of Jim Carmichael added a layer of charm and vulnerability to the story. Walter Brennan, playing Old Atrocity, delivered a memorable performance, showcasing his versatility as an actor.

“Barbary Coast” captures the dangerous and lawless nature of the era, drawing the audience into a world of intrigue and adventure. The film’s attention to detail in recreating 1850s San Francisco adds to its authenticity and immerses viewers in the historical setting. While it may not be Howard Hawks’ most groundbreaking work, “Barbary Coast” still holds value as an entertaining piece of cinema.” – Film Critic

It is essential to acknowledge the varying opinions on “Barbary Coast” to understand the film’s reception. While some critics may have been disappointed by certain aspects, others recognized the film’s merits, such as its strong performances and captivating depiction of the Gold Rush era. The mixed reviews demonstrate the subjective nature of film criticism and the different ways in which audiences can interpret and appreciate a movie.

Positive AspectsNegative Aspects
  • Atmospheric portrayal of the Gold Rush era
  • Strong performances from the cast
  • Lavish sets and attention to detail
  • Perceived lack of depth and originality
  • Certain aspects may not have lived up to expectations

Despite the mixed reception, “Barbary Coast” remains a notable film in Howard Hawks’ filmography. Its historical setting, compelling performances, and atmospheric depiction of the Gold Rush era contribute to its enduring appeal among fans of classic cinema.

barbary coast movie rating

Legacy of Barbary Coast

Despite not being considered one of Howard Hawks’ greatest works, “Barbary Coast” has left a lasting legacy in the world of film. The movie captures the essence and excitement of the Gold Rush era in San Francisco, transporting viewers back to a time of adventure and upheaval.

One of the film’s enduring influences is its depiction of the lawless and wild Barbary Coast. The portrayal of this notorious neighborhood became a reference point for future films and literature exploring similar themes. The film’s atmospheric setting continues to captivate audiences, showcasing the allure and danger of a bygone era.

Furthermore, “Barbary Coast” showcases the talents of its cast, including Edward G. Robinson, Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, and Walter Brennan. Their performances brought depth and complexity to their characters, contributing to the film’s enduring appeal.

In the realm of classic cinema, “Barbary Coast” holds a special place. It serves as a reminder of the creative vision and directorial skill of Howard Hawks, even if it may not be his most celebrated work. Fans of the genre continue to appreciate the film for its historical significance and the moments of brilliance it brings to the screen.


Who directed the movie "Barbary Coast"?

Howard Hawks directed the movie “Barbary Coast.”

Who wrote the screenplay for "Barbary Coast"?

The screenplay for “Barbary Coast” was written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur.

Who were the main actors in "Barbary Coast"?

The main actors in “Barbary Coast” were Edward G. Robinson, Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, and Walter Brennan.

Who were the supporting actors in "Barbary Coast"?

The supporting cast of “Barbary Coast” included Frank Craven, Brian Donlevy, Clyde Cook, and Harry Carey.

Who was involved in the crew and production of "Barbary Coast"?

The crew of “Barbary Coast” included director Howard Hawks, producer Samuel Goldwyn, screenwriters Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, editor Edward A. Curtiss, and cinematographer Ray June.

When was "Barbary Coast" released?

“Barbary Coast” was released on September 27, 1935.

What is the genre of "Barbary Coast"?

“Barbary Coast” falls under the genres of adventure and drama.

What is the plot of "Barbary Coast"?

“Barbary Coast” tells the story of Mary Rutledge, who arrives in San Francisco during the Gold Rush era to marry her deceased fiancé’s fortune. She ends up working for a powerful saloon owner and forms a connection with a young prospector.

How was "Barbary Coast" received by critics?

“Barbary Coast” received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising the performances and atmosphere, while others found it lacking depth.

What challenges were faced during the production of "Barbary Coast"?

Director Howard Hawks took over the project after the original director backed out, and there were tensions between some of the cast members.

What is the legacy of "Barbary Coast"?

“Barbary Coast” holds a place in film history as a representation of the Gold Rush era and showcases the talent of the filmmakers involved.

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