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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 12,355 users  
Reviews: 100 user | 69 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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Title: The Public Enemy (1931)

The Public Enemy (1931) on IMDb 7.8/10

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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

Production Co:

 »
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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

The machine gun attack on Tom Powers and his best friend Matt Doyle actually used real machine gun bullets. An expert with the gun stood on a raised platform 15 to 20 feet away from the target, and when James Cagney's face disappeared behind the corner of the wall, he opened fire and created that tight circle of machine gun bullets. See more »

Goofs

The movie open with the year 1909. A few minutes into the film, Tom and his friend are scurrying up and down an escalator in a department store. Escalators only existed on paper in 1909 and were not in use until about 20 years later when the movie was made. See more »

Quotes

Tom Powers: [Tom shuffles to the breakfast table in his pajamas. He's just finished a demanding call with Nails Nathan] Ain't you got a drink in the house?
Kitty: Well, not before breakfast, dear.
Tom Powers: [immediately annoyed] ... I didn't ask you for any lip. I asked you if you had a drink.
Kitty: [sheepishly] I know Tom, but I, I wish that...
Tom Powers: ...there you go with that wishin' stuff again. I wish you was a wishing well. So that I could tie a bucket to ya and sink ya.
Kitty: Well, maybe you've found someone you like better.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Edited into The Roaring Twenties (1939) 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

 
the prototype for gangster films to follow
3 September 2000 | by (Montreal, Quebec) – See all my reviews

"The Godfather" trilogy and "Goodfellas" owe a lot to this gangster film that preceded them both by at least fifty years. "The Public Enemy" was perhaps one of the first mob films that followed the rise and fall of a gangster and showed not only the implication of his actions on himself but on his family as well.

The film is far from perfect. The first ten minutes of the film in which we are shown a glimpse into the characters' childhood are jerky at best and feel as if much of it was left on the cutting room floor. The movie's incessant fast pace thereafter don't allow for much to sink in, but Cagney saves the day with an absolutely fiery performance. Not one person is spared from his bubbling anger and ferocious delivery.

Finally, the ending will leave you gasping - even by today's standards.

"The Public Enemy" is a must see for any true fan of the mob movie genre.


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

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