IMDb > Little Caesar (1931)
Little Caesar
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Little Caesar (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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7.4/10   6,716 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
W.R. Burnett (novel)
Robert N. Lee (continuity)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Little Caesar on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 January 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
The ambitious criminal Rico moves from the country to the big city in the east and joins Sam Vettori's gang with his friend Joe Massara... See more » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
User Reviews:
It Gets Lonely at the Top See more (82 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Edward G. Robinson ... Little Caesar - Alias 'Rico'

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Joe Massara
Glenda Farrell ... Olga Stassoff
William Collier Jr. ... Tony Passa

Sidney Blackmer ... Big Boy
Ralph Ince ... Pete Montana
Thomas E. Jackson ... Sergeant Flaherty (as Thomas Jackson)
Stanley Fields ... Sam Vettori
Maurice Black ... Little Arnie Lorch

George E. Stone ... Otero
Armand Kaliz ... De Voss
Nicholas Bela ... Ritz Colonna (as Nick Bela)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ernie Adams ... Cashier (uncredited)
Elmer Ballard ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Ferike Boros ... Mrs. Passa (uncredited)
Kernan Cripps ... Detective (uncredited)
George Daly ... Machine-gunner (uncredited)
Adolph Faylauer ... New Year's Celebrant (uncredited)
Ben Hendricks Jr. ... Kid Bean (uncredited)
Al Hill ... Rico's 'Butler' (uncredited)

Lucille La Verne ... Ma Magdalena (uncredited)
Gladys Lloyd ... McClure Guest (uncredited)
Noel Madison ... Killer Peppi (uncredited)
Tom McGuire ... Detective on Phone (uncredited)
Louis Natheaux ... Hood (uncredited)
Henry Sedley ... Scabby (uncredited)
Gay Sheridan ... Nightclub Extra (uncredited)
Larry Steers ... McClure Guest (uncredited)
Landers Stevens ... Crime Commissioner Alvin McClure (uncredited)
Mike Tellegen ... Bodyguard (uncredited)
Robert Walker ... Lorch Henchman (uncredited)
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Directed by
Mervyn LeRoy 
 
Writing credits
W.R. Burnett (novel)

Robert N. Lee (continuity)

Francis Edward Faragoh (screen version) (as Francis Edwards Faragoh)

Francis Edward Faragoh (dialogue) (as Francis Edwards Faragoh)

Robert Lord  uncredited
Darryl F. Zanuck  uncredited

Produced by
Hal B. Wallis .... producer (uncredited)
Darryl F. Zanuck .... producer (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Tony Gaudio (photography)
 
Film Editing by
Ray Curtiss (edited by)
 
Art Direction by
Anton Grot 
 
Set Decoration by
Ray Moyer (uncredited)
 
Costume Design by
Earl Luick (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Erno Rapee .... general musical director
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra (uncredited)
David Mendoza .... composer: music cues (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • First National Pictures (presents) (A First National-Vitaphone Talking Picture) (controlled by Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.)
Distributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
79 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Vitaphone) (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film was reviewed in Photoplay Magazine in December 1930 (on the newstands in November), and ready for release in December 1930, but Warner's brass felt it was not a Christmas picture. It officially debuted at the Strand Theatre in New York City on 9 January 1931.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: 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:
Joe Massara:We're in love with one another. Don't that mean nothing?
Caesar Enrico Bandello:Nothing. Less than nothing. Love. Soft stuff!
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
It Gets Lonely at the Top, 22 September 2005
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

Little Caesar which popularized both the gangster film and Edward G. Robinson is a great study in the criminal mindset and the ruthlessness it takes to get to the top of that world. After all in White Heat look at the epitaph James Cagney gave to his career.

We meet Robinson and a friend Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in some greasy spoon in the middle of nowhere. Fairbanks wants to go into dancing, but Robinson knows exactly what he wants. He wants to rise to the top of the criminal world. Not for riches or fame, but simply raw naked power. As he says to have a bunch of guys working for you who will do ANYTHING you say. The more men you have doing that, the more powerful you are.

And the film is a study in the rise and fall of Robinson in his chosen field. But the top is a lonely place.

It's been said there's an undercurrent of homosexuality running in Little Caesar between Robinson and Fairbanks by some critics. I've never subscribed to that point of view. In doing what he's doing Robinson essentially cuts himself off from all kind of human contact. His only other attachment is the fawning George E. Stone from his gang.

Robinson needs Fairbanks as a friend and confidante. We all need that, someone we can unbend with and show our true feelings, even if it's confiding our criminal ambitions.

But as the plot develops Fairbanks who's been on the fringe of Robinson's activities, meets Glenda Farrell and they fall in love. And through her partially Fairbanks develops a conscience about what he's seen.

How Robinson deals with it and what becomes of everyone involved is for those interested in viewing the film. But after over 70 years, Little Caesar holds up very well because of its universal theme.

Loneliness at the top is an occupational hazard for all ambitious people. It's never expressed in such raw terms as in the gangster film genre. But it's still used. Used in fact in both the Paul Muni version of Scarface and in Al Pacino's version as well.

Mervyn LeRoy did a fine job in directing this groundbreaking piece of entertainment. Robinson's portrayal once seen is never forgotten.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Little Caesar (1931)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Man that man is vis vis with his own movie. pmstreetheaven
Spaghetti and Coffee for Two? Chesterfield_Invincible
Little Caesar is gay? Dire_Straits
Flaherty the detective an odd counterpart to Rico? mlraymond
Somebody tell me if this is a film-noir or not tayman104
Telephone trace wayc
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