MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 6,759 this week

Little Caesar (1931)

7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 7,342 users  
Reviews: 82 user | 58 critic

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 »

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (continuity), 4 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.00 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 35 titles
created 19 May 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 23 Aug 2011
 
a list of 23 titles
created 05 Feb 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 18 Mar 2013
 
a list of 21 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Little Caesar" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Little Caesar (1931)

Little Caesar (1931) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Little Caesar.

User Polls

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Scarface (1932)
Certificate: Passed Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An ambitious and near insanely violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson
Stars: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley
White Heat (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane
Smart Money (1931)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Immigrant Greek barber has uncommon skills in playing poker and soon rises in the seedy world of illegal gambling, but pretty blondes remain his Achilles' heel.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, Evalyn Knapp
'G' Men (1935)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval ... See full summary »

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Ann Dvorak
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young hoodlum rises up through the ranks of the Chicago underworld, even as a gangster's accidental death threatens to spark a bloody mob war.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A waitress, a hobo and a bank robber get mixed up at a lonely diner in the desert.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the ... See full summary »

Director: William Keighley
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Barton MacLane
High Sierra (1941)
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After being released from prison, notorious thief Roy Earle is hired by his old boss to help a group of inexperienced criminals plan and carry out the robbery of a California resort.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis
Penthouse (1933)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Racketeer Tony Gazotti is thankful that lawyer Jackson Durant helps him beat a murder rap, but Durant just does it for the thrill of it and refuses payment. Durant's defense of mobsters ... See full summary »

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Warner Baxter, Myrna Loy, Charles Butterworth
Edit

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)
Edit

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 January 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mali Cezar  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone) (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranked #9 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Gangster" in June 2008. See more »

Goofs

When Rico is shot behind the billboard, the Thompson submachine gun used by the police detective has a blank-firing device attached. See more »

Quotes

Sam Vettori: Hey, hey, hey, watsa matter with you birds? Don'tcha know how to act at a bankit?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Blazing Saddles (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Foret Perfide
(uncredited)
Music by Gabriel Marie
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"You can dish it out, but you can't take it!"
12 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Technically it is not the first gangster movie. D.W.Griffith's MUSKETEERS OF PIG ALLEY was, and after that there were films in the silent period dealing with gangs and crime. But the cycle of anti-hero gangsters began in the sound period with LITTLE CAESAR (1930/31) followed by THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931) and SCARFACE: SHAME OF THE NATION (1932). Each made a movie star out of the lead actor: Edward G. Robinson as Enrico Bandello in LITTLE CAESAR; James Cagney as Tom Powers in THE PUBLIC ENEMY; and Paul Muni as Tony Carmonte in SCARFACE.

The interesting thing about these three sound classics is that the central anti-heroes are not the same (except in their willing use of violence). Cagney enjoys the violence as much as Muni, but Cagney has a great sense of loyalty to his friends and a deep love for his mother. Muni respects his mother, but his family love is centered on his sister (Ann Dvorak), and his loyalty to friends ends the moment he suspects they are no longer obeying him or are threatening him. And Robinson? He has no close contact with any family in the story (his last words are addressed to the Virgin Mary ("Mother of mercy"), not his own mother), and never has a girlfriend (a fact made more clear in the novel). However, he has very strong feeling dealing with his close friend Joe Massara (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.), and actually hesitates only once in killing anyone: when he might have to shoot Joe to get at Joe's girlfriend Olga (Glenda Farrell). Suddenly his eyes get teary - one wonders how close he felt towards Fairbanks. His loyal associate, Otero (George E. Stone) does not hesitate to try to shoot Fairbanks, and he wounds him, but they are forced to flee before Otero can finish the job. Interestingly, Rico/Robinson is not as moved when Otero, fatally wounded, tells him to flee a scene or two afterward.

The gangs in PUBLIC ENEMY and SCARFACE are successful and organized, but we never fully see this. Not so in LITTLE CAESAR. One critical approach to the film has likened it and the rise of Rico to Andrew Carnegie's advise to young businessmen at the turn of the century. And we do see the organization going from Joe and Rico and Otero to Sam to Diamond Pete Montana to "the Big Boy" (who lives in a mansion with accoutrements). Interestingly when the gang is destroyed, the news of the trials and executions do not include Montana (who has always kept a low profile - he never has his picture taken), or "the Big Boy". The ones who learn the rules of corporate America, as applied to crime gangs, survive: the Lucianos and Costellos, not the Siegels or Anastasias or Schultzs.

The film set stardom for Robinson, although (like Cagney, but oddly not like Muni) Robinson was stuck mostly in crime movies in the 1930s. It wasn't until the later 1930s that he was able to show he could play other types of characters, although even when not a gangster he was cast as the villain (THE SEA WOLF). He never did win an Oscar for this part, still his best known), but he did have a long distinguished career in movies, capped (after his last film, the under appreciated SOYLENT GREEN, with a life achievement Oscar. Not bad for a man whose best known character died in a gutter wondering why he was ending this way instead of on top.


19 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Little Caesar is gay? Dire_Straits
Spaghetti and Coffee for Two? Chesterfield_Invincible
Somebody tell me if this is a film-noir or not tayman104
Gay night club employee? mlraymond
Flaherty the detective an odd counterpart to Rico? mlraymond
Coming to DVD davidbfraser
Discuss Little Caesar (1931) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?