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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 11,577 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 66 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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When taking on the assignment as director, William A. Wellman told studio head Darryl F. Zanuck "I'll bring you the toughest, most violent picture you ever did see". See more »

Goofs

Although the story takes place immediately after World War I, in the early 1920s, all of the cars, music, and women's hairstyles and fashions are from 1931. See more »

Quotes

Tom Powers: Hello baby. What are you gonna have?
Kitty: Anything you say, big boy.
Tom Powers: You're a swell dish. I think I'm going to go for you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wonder Years: Alice in Autoland (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Smiles
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Lee S. Roberts
Played in Paddy's bar
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Still riveting, over 70 years later!
6 April 2004 | by (Colorado Springs, CO) – See all my reviews

Most films made in the early 30s are entertaining only as period pieces that give us a glimpse into another era. Often they are so dated that they've become unintentionally funny.

The Public Enemy is a totally different thing. It is such a well-crafted and honest film that it still has the power to shock us. The violence in this film is every bit as brutal as anything in a modern "gangsta" flick, even though some of it takes place off-camera.

Based on the stills I had seen of the grapefruit scene, I thought it would be a light-hearted moment. In fact, it's anything but. In that encounter, Cagney's character exhibits a total disregard for others that is downright chilling.

The final scene is extremely disturbing. You won't forget it.


16 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
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No dvd of this one? feilertsen
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