Hold Back the Dawn (1941) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hold Back the Dawn1941

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Hold Back the Dawn Photos

Movie Info

Hold Back the Dawn begins with a shabby immigrant (Charles Boyer) wandering onto a Paramount sound stage and telling his life story to director Mitchell Leisen (who actually directed this film). In flashback, we see that Boyer was once a conscienceless gigolo, desperate to flee Nazi-occupied Europe. He makes it to Mexico, where he pretends to fall in love with shy schoolteacher Olivia de Havilland. It is his plan to marry her, thus be able to enter the United States; then he intends to dump her and pursue the woman he really loves. Boyer's regeneration, and the price he pays for his previous callousness, brings Hold Back the Dawn to its tearful conclusion.


Charles Boyer
as Georges Iscovescu
Paulette Goddard
as Anita Dixon
Victor Francen
as Prof. Van Den Luecken
Walter Abel
as Inspector Hammock
Curt Bois
as Bonbois
Rosemary DeCamp
as Berta Kurz
Eric Feldary
as Josef Kurz
Eva Puig
as Lupita
Mitchell Leisen
as Mr. Saxon
Brian Donlevy
as On-the-Set Film Actor
Richard Webb
as On-the-Set Film Actor
Veronica Lake
as On-the-Set Film Actor
Gertrude Astor
as Young Woman at Climax Bar
Jesus Topete
as Mechania
Tony Roux
as Mechania
June Pickrell
as Mrs. Brown
Buddy Messinger
as Elevator Boy
Ray Mala
as Husky Young Mexican Bridegroom
Soledad Jiminez
as Old Peon's Wife
George Anderson
as Emmy's doctor
Edward Fielding
as American Consul
Francisco Maran
as Mexican doctor
Charles Arnt
as Mr. MacAdams
Carlos Villarías
as Mexican judge
Arthur Loft
as Hollander
John Holland
as Mr. MacAdams
Leon Belasco
as Mr. Spitzer
Ella Neal
as Bride
June Wilkins
as Vivienne Worthington
View All

Critic Reviews for Hold Back the Dawn

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

You will enjoy it as a straight-away romance, crowded with most engaging characters and smoking with Mr. Boyer's charm.

February 3, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

While Hold Back the Dawn is basically another European refugee yarn, scenarists Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder exercised some ingenuity and imagination and Ketty Frings' original emerges as fine celluloidia.

February 3, 2012 | Full Review…

This romantic weepie is both moving and effectively stylish.

February 3, 2012 | Full Review…

A top-drawer melodrama that's only hampered by a rocky start and a rushed finale.

July 20, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A wonderful film which confounds expectations again and again.

July 11, 2019 | Full Review…

A touching and memorable film, this brilliant romance offers evocative performances by Boyer and de Havilland.

February 3, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hold Back the Dawn


Lovely drama with some really beautiful acting particularly from Olivia de Havilland. You catch a quick glimpse of an absolutely beautiful Veronica Lake, peekaboo bang firmly in place, filming a scene for her breakthrough movie I Wanted Wings at the very beginning of the film. She shimmers like the sun in her brief seconds on scene.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Charles Boyer is very good in this moving melodrama. I think he gets overlooked as an actor sometimes. Nice to see Olivia de Havilland sans hoop dress. Worth tracking down, TCM shows occasionally.

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

a superior melodrama way under the radar. charles boyer is highly effective as a gigolo hoping to enter the u.s. by marrying a citizen. enter innocent schoolteacher olivia de havilland. paulette godard is fun as boyer's partner in crime, but their cynical plans soon go awry. most of the film takes place in mexico with lots of local color

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Hold Back the Dawn Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features