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

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Little Caesar -- Trailer for the one true story of the underworld kings

Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   7,342 votes »
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Down 28% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
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... See more » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
User Reviews:
"You can dish it out, but you can't take it!" 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)

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)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Percy Ikerd .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Erno Rapee .... general musical director
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra (uncredited)
David Mendoza .... composer: title music (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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

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:
Caesar Enrico Bandello:You want me, you're going to have to come and get me!See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
If I'm Dreaming Don't Wake Me Too SoonSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
19 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
"You can dish it out, but you can't take it!", 12 October 2006
Author: theowinthrop from United States

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.

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Message Boards

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Little Caesar is gay? Dire_Straits
Three Stooges supporting actor romar289
Telephone trace wayc
Man that man is vis vis with his own movie. pmstreetheaven
Spaghetti and Coffee for Two? Chesterfield_Invincible
Flaherty the detective an odd counterpart to Rico? mlraymond
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