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The Public Enemy (1931)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  23 April 1931 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 11,394 users  
Reviews: 99 user | 67 critic

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.

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Edward Woods ...
...
Donald Cook ...
Leslie Fenton ...
Beryl Mercer ...
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...
Paddy Ryan (as Robert O'Connor)
Murray Kinnell ...
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Storyline

Tom Powers and Matt Doyle are best friends and fellow gangsters, their lives frowned upon by Tom's straight laced brother, Mike, and Matt's straight laced sister, Molly. From their teen-aged years into young adulthood, Tom and Matt have an increasingly lucrative life, bootlegging during the Prohibition era. But Tom in particular becomes more and more brazen in what he is willing to do, and becomes more obstinate and violent against those who either disagree with him or cross him. When one of their colleagues dies in a freak accident, a rival bootlegging faction senses weakness among Tom and Matt's gang, which is led by Paddy Ryan. A gang war ensues, resulting in Paddy suggesting that Tom and Matt lay low. But because of Tom's basic nature, he decides instead to take matters into his own hands. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 April 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beer and Blood  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Further connection to the Charles Dion O'Bannion reference is that the rival gang in the film are led by "Schemer Burns", an obvious reference to the real-life "Schemer Drucci", who was part of the North Side Gang led by O'Bannion. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Tom Powers and Matt Doyle are strafed by assassin's machine guns, we see Cagney ducking behind the corner of a building. Bullets suddenly and violently hit and tear up the concrete corner into big pock-marked chips an eye-blink after he ducks. But in subsequent shots, the machine gun damage to the concrete is gone. See more »

Quotes

Putty Nose: Are you alone?
Tom Powers: I'm always alone when I'm with Matt.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Edward Hopper (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo' Bye!)
(1922) (uncredited)
Written by Gus Kahn, Ernie Erdman and Dan Russo
Dance music played in hotel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Tom's coming home
16 March 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I think this is a great James Cagney movie and a great gangster movie. Scarface and Little Caesar were based on Al Capone, but this one takes a new turn. This time the movie's about the North Siders. It is the Irish mob. This movie, I just realized is based loosely on Dion O'Banion. There is only one scene I could think of that was an event in O'Banion's life. The scene with the horse. You'll see what I mean when you see the movie. This movie doesn't go into as much detail with real events as Scarface, but it doesn't matter because everything is perfect. The movie also unintentionally glorifies gangsters again. These characters become guys you like. Especially Cagney's character Tom Powers. I guess that's why there is that introduction at the beginning and even in the end so you don't end up liking them. Nice try censors. I loved the different relationships. Tom's friendship with Matt, his brother, his mother, his first girlfriend that gets a grapefruit in the face (I can never forget that one) and his second girl Jean Harlowe. My favorite part is probably the part where he goes inside a building to take on the Burke mob with two guns. When he gets out you hear screams from inside and Cagney, who is wounded, utters the famous lines, "I ain't so tough." This movie is just perfect. Another scene I never forget is the final scene. I'll call it Tom's Coming Home. After I saw the final scene I was just speechless. I couldn't believe my eyes. It will shock you. A terrible thing happens, but like they say in the very end, The public enemy is neither a man nor a character, but a problem that we the public must solve. It's almost like they try to convince you that what happened was good. Be sure to see this classic. You won't be disappointed. After renting this movie I like it so much I'm going out to buy it.


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

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Does anyone feel sorry for Putty Nose when Tom kills him? mlraymond
Bad Acting WardenGordonBorden
what if this movie was remade? infamousdave886
What was the last thing James Cagney Said?? mikehunt620
Clockwork Orange steals a scene! KubricksSeal
No dvd of this one? feilertsen
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