24 user 34 critic

Underworld (1927)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 20 August 1927 (USA)
Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend.


, (uncredited)


(adaptation) (as Charles Furthmann), (story) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
Dishonored (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The Austrian Secret Service sends its most seductive agent to spy on the Russians.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen, Gustav von Seyffertitz
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A loose woman rediscovers a former lover during a dangerous train ride to Shanghai.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong
The Dragnet (1928)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
Comedy | Romance | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king's daughter while on the lam.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: William Boyd, Mary Astor, Louis Wolheim
Morocco (1930)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A cabaret singer and a Legionnaire fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by the results of his womanizing and due to the appearance of a rich man who wants her for himself.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Menjou
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A poor factory worker, employed by a wealthy uncle, falls in love with a beautiful heiress but his happiness and promising future are jeopardized by a previous affair with a coworker he impregnated.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Phillips Holmes, Sylvia Sidney, Frances Dee
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A cowardly young man, a bitter young woman and a helpless child live on the docks, spend their days full of ennui watching a dredge dig the same hole day in and day out, chased around by ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George K. Arthur, Georgia Hale, Bruce Guerin
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An alcoholic doctor on a Polynesian island, disgusted by white exploitation of the natives, finds himself marooned on a pristinely beautiful island.

Directors: W.S. Van Dyke, Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Monte Blue, Raquel Torres, Robert Anderson
Blonde Venus (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cabaret singer takes up with a millionaire to pay for her gravely ill husband's operation.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Herbert Marshall
7th Heaven (1927)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A street cleaner saves a young woman's life, and the pair slowly fall in love until war intervenes.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Albert Gran


Complete credited cast:
'Bull' Weed
'Feathers' McCoy
Rolls Royce Wensel
'Buck' Mulligan
Meg, Mulligan's Girl
'Slippy' Lewis
Jerry Mandy ...


'Nobody helps me -- I help them!' boasts open-handed gangster Bull Weed, handing over what will prove to be the best investment in his high-spending career: a thousand dollars that will put the literate 'Rolls Royce' of vagrants back on his feet. Living it up in the Twenties with the aid of cool but smouldering moll Feathers, the Bull lords it over the law and his rivals alike -- specifically big Buck Mulligan, whose floral-tributes business echoes that of a certain real-life Chicago gangster... Yet Feathers, prize possession and object of envy, proves his weak point; and in the end, Bull Weed will indeed come to need help from others, and more than he has ever needed it before. But can Rolls Royce and Feathers still give it to him? And will the Bull accept? Written by Igenlode Wordsmith

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 August 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La ley del hampa  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was predicted to be a flop, was shelved by Paramount and eventually released in only one theater in New York. Screenwriter Ben Hecht demanded that his name was taken off the credits. As a result of strong word-of-mouth the movie became an enormous hit and won Hecht the first of his two Academy Awards. See more »


'Feathers' McCoy: [to Rolls Royce] How long since you had the body washed and polishd?
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Lost Gem That Deserves to Be Seen (Especially with New Soundtrack!)
4 November 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I just saw a re-issue of this film tonight as part of the 26th annual Three Rivers Film Festival in Pittsburgh and I was highly satisfied. The Alloy Orchestra were on-hand to provide an all-new live score, which created a near-perfect match for this underrated classic.

The acting was spot-on (although admittedly a much different style than modern audiences are used to), the set design and lighting were pitch-perfect (check out the copious amounts of confetti at the Underworld Ball), and the complexities of the characters and plot line far exceeded anything I was expecting from an 80 year-old film. Suffice it to say that modern cinema has not cornered the market on engaging, surprising and provocative storytelling.

If you have a chance to see Underworld, particularly when accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra, take the opportunity. It's a rarefied experience that's well worth your 90 minutes.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
OH COME ON NOW!!!!!!!! BG43214
Any Idea If This Can Be Seen GiveMeFilm
Was this film previously 'lost?' bob_gilmore1
New York screening on March 5, 2009 neil57
Discuss Underworld (1927) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: