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

Photos (See all 10 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Little Caesar -- Edward Robinson introduced the world to a new gangster in his portrayal of Johnny Rico, a small-time hood who brutally shoots his way to the top of the underworld.
Little Caesar -- Trailer for the one true story of the underworld kings


User Rating:
7.4/10   8,253 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
W.R. Burnett (novel)
Robert N. Lee (continuity)
View company contact information for Little Caesar on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 January 1931 (USA) See more »
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 »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Birth of a genre See more (83 total) »


  (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.)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
79 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Vitaphone) (Western Electric Sound System)
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Brazil:12 | Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-15 (2005) | Germany:12 | Ireland:PG | Sweden:(Banned) | Sweden:15 (cut) (1976) | UK:PG | UK:A (original rating)

Did You Know?

The character of Joe Massara was based on actor George Raft, who was associated with Owney Madden, the man who organized the taxi racket in New York City.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: Microphone shadow moves across Tony as he closes door just after his mother has left room.See more »
Caesar Enrico Bandello:I don't want no dancin'... I figure in makin' other people dance.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Best Friends (1982)See more »
If I'm Dreaming Don't Wake Me Too SoonSee more »


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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
Birth of a genre, 9 September 2000
Author: spirit11 from Memphis, TN

WARNING: This review may reveal some scenes of the movie!

In the film that made Edward G. Robinson a star, we get to see one of the nastiest, meanest characters ever put on film. As "Rico," Robinson plays a no-holds barred gangster. As an example, at one point he believes one of his gang is feeling guilty and going to the priest to he guns him down on the steps of the church.

I first started watching the film simply because I'm a bit of a film buff and felt that it should be a film I see, regardless of how good (or bad) it might be. But by the end of the film, I had been pulled into the story. It revolves around a small-time thug and his buddy who go to the city to make it big. Soon Rico is muscling in on the "big guys" turf, taking over his territory with his own brand of shoot first, ask questions later. I could tell you more, but you should see the movie instead.

Robinson is great in the film. Toward the end of the film there is an amazing shot of just his face, staring into the camera -- no words, no other characters, just Robinson as Rico, and you get a chance to see truly great acting! Just the mood he creates with his eyes alone in this one shot is worth seeing the entire film. Throw in a good storyline, an entire gang of thugs who are terrified of the chief thug, great direction, and you wind up with a great film. And don't worry parents -- this is still a film from 1930, so there is no sex, no language, and even the majority of the violence (which is minimal considering this is a film about the mob!) is hidden from sight. Even the ones you see have no blood involved -- just the sound of a gun and a person slumps over to die.

When you see a film like this on a station like Turner Classic Movies, you get the added benefit of additional trivia. According to the introduction, the book upon which this movie was based was written after the author, listening to a friend of his sing on the radio live from a local club, was gunned down on the air when the mob broke into the club with Tommy guns blazing. Imagine the shock of hearing your friend killed live on the radio...

Finally, during the introduction of the film it was also stated that at the time of release, complaints were made that the film glorified the mob and their violent ways. I disagree. If Robinson's portrayal doesn't turn you off of violence and the mob, then you probably aren't human -- which is probably exactly the point of this film.

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