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The Racketeer (1929)

Passed  -  Crime | Drama | Thriller  -  9 November 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 232 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 2 critic

A dapper gangster sponsors an alcoholic violinist in order to win the love of a glamorous divorced socialite.



(story), (dialogue)
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Title: The Racketeer (1929)

The Racketeer (1929) on IMDb 5.6/10

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Complete credited cast:
Robert Armstrong ...
Mahlon Keane
Rhoda Philbrooke (as Carol Lombard)
Roland Drew ...
Tony Vaughan
Paul Hurst ...
Kit Guard ...
Al Hill ...
Bobby Dunn ...
The Rat (as Bobbie Dunn)
Budd Fine ...
Bernie Weber (as Bud Fine)
Mrs. Lee
Jeanette Loff ...
Millie Chapman
John Loder ...
Jack Oakhurst
Winter Hall ...
Mr. Chapman
Winifred Harris ...
Mrs. Chapman


Tough mobster Mahlon Keane practically runs crime in New York City. He meets broke ex-society girl Rhoda Philbrooke at a society fundraiser and helps her cheat her way to some winnings in poker. Rhoda needs the money to help nurse broken alcoholic concert violinist Tony Vaughan back to health. In between his criminal dealings, Keane takes up Rhoda's cause and helps promote Vaughan's return to public performance. Rhoda agrees to marry Keane but still harbors unrequited love for Tony Vaughan. On the eve of her marriage, Vaughan confesses his love to Rhoda. Now how will she handle her mobster fiancée? Written by Gary Jackson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SMASHING DIALOGUE THAT CRACKS WITH ACTION! (original poster - all caps) See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 November 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Racketeer  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(copyright length) (sound)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Gus spots rival gangster Bernie Weber riding in the back of a taxi, he tells his driver Squid to pull alongside it so he can shoot him. Gus refers to it as a gray cab, and in the studio close-up it appears to be white or at least a very light gray. In the subsequent cut to the location shot done outdoors on location, the cab with the dead mobster appears to be black. See more »

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User Reviews

Good Story, Good Role for Lombard
3 November 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

The good story and Carole Lombard's performance make "The Racketeer" one of the movies of the very early sound era that still holds up all right. It does have the flaws common to the earliest sound movies, with some shaky dialogue delivery, an erratic pace, and weak sound quality. But these do not keep it from being worth seeing, and in any case even the better movies of 1929 usually had some of these same problems.

Lombard has a very good role as a somewhat mysterious divorcée caught between two very different men. Robert Armstrong plays the gangster who helps both her and her other boyfriend. The third member of the triangle is a drunken violinist played by Roland Drew. Drew gives a rather nondescript performance, but at least the character is interesting. More than that, the setup does a good job in varying the usual formula so as to set up some good drama.

The atmosphere holds up well, and although some individual sequences have oddly chosen pacing, as a whole the story moves along pretty well. It easily holds your interest for the whole running time. It compares favorably with many of the movies of its day, and it is still a solid feature worth seeing for those who enjoy the movies of the era.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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