IMDb > The Racket (1928)
The Racket
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The Racket (1928) More at IMDbPro »


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6.9/10   636 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 8% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Bartlett Cormack (from the stage success of)
Bartlett Cormack (adaptation)
View company contact information for The Racket on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 November 1928 (USA) See more »
An honest police captain vows to bring down a powerful bootlegger who is protected by corrupt politicians and judges. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
A great seminal early gangster film See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Thomas Meighan ... Captain McQuigg

Louis Wolheim ... Nick Scarsi

Marie Prevost ... Helen Hayes

G. Pat Collins ... Patrolman Johnson (as Pat Collins)
Henry Sedley ... Spike

George E. Stone ... Joe Scarsi (as George Stone)
Sam De Grasse ... Welch (as Sam DeGrasse)

Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher ... Miller (as Skeets Gallagher)

Lee Moran ... Pratt
John Darrow ... Ames
Lucien Prival ... Chick
Dan Wolheim ... Sgt. Turck
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Austin ... Man at Funeral (uncredited)

Walter Brennan ... Man on Street in Front of Barber Shop (uncredited)
Jim Farley ... Detective (uncredited)
Tony Marlo ... Chick's Chauffeur (uncredited)
Burr McIntosh ... The Old Man - Political Kingpin (uncredited)
Pat McKee ... Man at Funeral (uncredited)
Lewis Milestone ... Speakeasy Doorman with Cigar (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Detective Frisking Nick (uncredited)
Jack Perry ... Scarsi's Henchman (uncredited)
Dick Rush ... Detective (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Scarsi's Henchman (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Man at Funeral (uncredited)

Directed by
Lewis Milestone 
Writing credits
Bartlett Cormack (from the stage success of)

Bartlett Cormack (adaptation)

Del Andrews (scenario)

Tom Miranda (titles)

Harry Behn  scenario (uncredited)

Produced by
Howard Hughes .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Robert Israel 
Cinematography by
Tony Gaudio (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Eddie Adams (edited by)
Art Direction by
Julian Boone Fleming  (as Julian Fleming)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nate Watt .... assistant director
Sound Department
Karen Eckhoff .... sound engineer (2004 alternate version)
Vladislav Kvapil .... recording director (2004 alternate version)
Vit Muzik .... recording director (2004 alternate version)
Visual Effects by
Jeffery Masino .... digital restoration (2004 alternate version)
Editorial Department
David Block .... telecine: Ascent Media (2004 alternate version)
Alfonso Gomez .... restoration film editor (2004 alternate version)
Music Department
Robert Israel .... conductor: The Robert Israel Orchestra, Europe (2004 alternate version)
Robert Israel .... music arranger (2004 alternate version)
Other crew
Howard Hughes .... presenter (as Howard R. Hughes)
Frank Lunn .... legal services: Rosen, Feig, Conley and Lunn (2004 alternate version) (as Frank M. Lunn)
Margaret Bodde .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Peter Bogdanovich .... dedicatee: Robert Israel's music
Evans Butterworth .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Sean Cameron .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Sean Clark .... special thanks: UNLV Dept. of Film (2004 alternate version)
Michelle Cooley .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Pirro Dollani .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version)
Frank Donner .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Brian Friedman .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
John F. Gallagher .... special thanks: UNLV Foundation (2004 alternate version) (as John F. Gallagher Ph.D.)
Randy Haberkamp .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
James Harper .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Tom Karsch .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Marty Kearns .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Jeffrey Koep .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version) (as Jeffrey Koep Ph.D.)
Laneesa Lanier .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version)
Francisco Menéndez .... special thanks: UNLV Dept. of Film (2004 alternate version) (as Francisco Menendez)
John Novacek .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Kevin Orrock .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Brian Peterson .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Justin Pettigrew .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Susan Ryan .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version) (as Susan K. Ryan)
David Schmoeller .... special thanks: UNLV Dept. of Film (2004 alternate version)
Charles Tabesh .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Morgan Tegtow .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version)
Jennifer Vaughan .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version)
Hart L. Wegner .... special thanks: UNLV Dept. of Film (2004 alternate version)
Peter Wentzel .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Karin Wright .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Kevin Yates .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
84 min (2004 alternate version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 22 November 1927 and closed in March 1928 after 119 performances. The opening night cast included Edward G. Robinson, Romaine Callender, G. Pat Collins (who is also in the movie), Norman Foster, Hugh O'Connell and Willard Robertson.See more »
[first lines]
[McQuigg ducks into a doorway when one of Scari's henchmen shoots at but purposely misses him. Scarsi emerges from behind the door]
Nick Scarsi:Hello, Mac.
Police Captain James McQuigg:Hello, Nick.
Nick Scarsi:Take a tip, Mac... change your racket.
Police Captain James McQuigg:I like my racket... and I haven't shot yet.
See more »
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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
A great seminal early gangster film, 20 December 2004
Author: xenaphyl from Wilmot, Wisconsin

Sadly this film was made available long years (like 50) after the giants of the early gangster films were available---Little Cesear and The Public Enemy,so it missed the true acclaim it probably deserves.

Being made during Prohibition, and during the less "glamourous" studio period (but with an excellent director, fast paced script and great supporting cast) it has the immediate feel of the time---when the policeman hero is exiled to the country it IS the country, and the character actors shine here--especially the incandescent and tragic Marie Prevost as the platinum blonde chanteuse, Helen Hayes. She is absolutely wonderful as a complete jazz baby flinging herself into the arms of the nearest well heeled heel available, her desperation clearly visible under the surface. This performance is subtle in it's (Mae West) undertones, but she anticipates the bright gaudy generous hearted vulgarity of Jean Harlow by several years. She has a huge range with her hideous fox fur collared cape, her cigarette, and her bits of business with her props--she has the stage presence of her character's name Helen Hayes, but she is much more naughty and fun to watch. She cynically analyzes the lead villain's fear of women, and stands up to him, leveraging his fear in the face of his men, and lays her neck on the line. At the same time, she desperately digs for gold, playing hard to get with the gangster's weak spot, his younger, ratty brother. (George Stone in an early role). The scene where she rips off her "act" costume, and jumps on an upright piano and has the musician's wheel her over to the gangster's brother's "birthday party" is pure gold.

How sad that she died so horribly in real life, but how wonderful that her performance is preserved here in all it's splendor! While Thomas Meighan is the same noble stiff as a board hero of DeMille's society matrons movies of the l920s he also shows range in a "good cop" role with a noir twist at the end, making this one of the first contemporary gangster movies. George E Stone, who would go on to play everyone's favorite rat for the next 40 years is here in a juvenile lead, scummy and detestible as ever, and the perpetually bombed and wisecracking reporter Skeets Gallegar gets all the fast paced and best lines. God Bless Ted Turner for not letting this one get lost! Cannot wait for it to come out on DVD for all true noir and gangster film archaeologist's to enjoy! We can only wonder what a kick it would be in film histories of today if this had been available at the same time as The Public Enemy , Little Ceasar and other seminal works. If you are a "Merry Gangster Historian" go for it!

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