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Rico is a small-time hood who knocks off gas stations for whatever he can take. He heads east and signs up with Sam Vettori's mob. A New Year's Eve robbery at Little Arnie Lorch's casino ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Glenda Farrell ...
William Collier Jr. ...
...
Big Boy
Ralph Ince ...
Pete Montana
Thomas E. Jackson ...
Sergeant Flaherty (as Thomas Jackson)
Stanley Fields ...
Sam Vettori
Maurice Black ...
Little Arnie Lorch
...
Otero
Armand Kaliz ...
De Voss
Nicholas Bela ...
Ritz Colonna (as Nick Bela)
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Storyline

Rico is a small-time hood who knocks off gas stations for whatever he can take. He heads east and signs up with Sam Vettori's mob. A New Year's Eve robbery at Little Arnie Lorch's casino results in the death of the new crime commissioner Alvin McClure. Rico's good friend Joe Massara, who works at the club as a professional dancer, works as the gang's lookout man and wants out of the gang. Rico is ambitious and eventually takes over Vettori's gang; he then moves up to the next echelon pushing out Diamond Pete Montana. When he orders Joe to dump his girlfriend Olga and re-join the gang, Olga decides there's only one way out for them. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

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Release Date:

25 January 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mali Cezar  »

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Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone) (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In September 1928, Warner Bros. Pictures purchased a majority interest in First National Pictures and from that point on, all "First National" productions were actually made under Warner Bros. control, even though the two companies continued to retain separate identities until the mid-1930's, after which time "A Warner Bros.-First National Picture" was often used. See more »

Goofs

In the diner scene, Rico jumps from reading the newspaper to eating his spaghetti between shots. See more »

Quotes

Joe Massara: We're in love with one another. Don't that mean nothing?
Caesar Enrico Bandello: Nothing. Less than nothing. Love. Soft stuff!
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Connections

Referenced in Demonic Toys (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Foret Perfide
(uncredited)
Music by Gabriel Marie
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User Reviews

 
Hades' Hoodlum
5 June 2003 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Rico Bandello, a petty crook nicknamed LITTLE CAESAR, plots his rise to become crime boss of the Big City.

Edward G. Robinson made a tremendous impact in this star-making saga of a thoroughly detestable little man who bandies his way through society's underbelly for a short time until fate brings him his just reward. The evil spawn of a deplorable age, Rico cares for neither booze nor dames, only pure raw power. Even loyalty & friendship are weaknesses to be deplored since no one can be ultimately trusted. Robinson, with his frightening eyes and large ugly mouth, makes this human scum fascinating to watch - a cheap little monster in expensive suits, a moral nonentity with a big gun.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr does a fine job with what little the script gives him as Rico's longtime buddy; the bland nature of his performance contrasts nicely to Robinson's florid acting style. Even more compelling is Glenda Farrell in an important early role as Fairbanks' girlfriend - this talented actress would soon become one of Hollywood's premiere tough talking brassy blondes.

Stanley Fields, Sidney Blackmer & George E. Stone all deliver vivid portraits of crooks & criminals that Rico must intimidate or use. Special mention should be made of William Collier Jr who gives a touching portrayal as the mob's getaway driver who loses his nerve and attempts to go straight.

Movie mavens will recognize an unbilled Lucille La Verne as the old crone who intimidates Rico near the end of the picture.

With LITTLE CAESAR and PUBLIC ENEMY (1931) Warner Brothers established themselves as the Studio that could produce topnotch, gritty crime dramas. The reputation was well deserved and the films were appreciated by movie viewers already enthralled by the headline exploits of real life Depression desperadoes.


40 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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