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The Public Enemy
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The Public Enemy (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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The Public Enemy -- Oscar-winner James Cagney became a superstar with his gritty performance as a prohibition-era Irish-American street punk who tries to make it big in Chicago's organized crime world.


User Rating:
7.8/10   12,476 votes »
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Up 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Kubec Glasmon (by) and
John Bright (by) ...
View company contact information for The Public Enemy on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 April 1931 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
User Reviews:
83 minutes of Cinematic Bliss See more (103 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Cagney ... Tom Powers

Jean Harlow ... Gwen Allen
Edward Woods ... Matt Doyle

Joan Blondell ... Mamie
Donald Cook ... Mike Powers
Leslie Fenton ... Nails Nathan
Beryl Mercer ... Ma Powers
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Paddy Ryan (as Robert O'Connor)
Murray Kinnell ... Putty Nose
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Clark Burroughs ... Dutch (uncredited)

Mae Clarke ... Kitty (uncredited)
Frank Coghlan Jr. ... Tom as a Boy (uncredited)
George Daly ... Machine Gunner (uncredited)

Frankie Darro ... Matt as a Boy (uncredited)
Snitz Edwards ... Miller (uncredited)
Rita Flynn ... Molly Doyle (uncredited)
Dorothy Gee ... Nails' Girl (uncredited)
Douglas Gerrard ... Assistant Tailor (uncredited)
Dorothy Gray ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Ben Hendricks Jr. ... 'Bugs' Moran as a Boy (uncredited)
Robert Homans ... Officer Pat Burke (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Joe - Headwaiter (uncredited)
Mia Marvin ... Jane (uncredited)
Sam McDaniel ... Headwaiter (uncredited)
Helen Parrish ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Steve - Bartender (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Bartender (uncredited)
Purnell Pratt ... Officer Powers (uncredited)
Nanci Price ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Landers Stevens ... Doctor (uncredited)
William H. Strauss ... Pawnbroker (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Mug (uncredited)
Lucille Ward ... Larry Dalton's Weeping Mother (uncredited)
Adele Watson ... Mrs. Doyle (uncredited)

Directed by
William A. Wellman 
Writing credits
Kubec Glasmon (by) and
John Bright (by)

Harvey F. Thew (screen adaptation) (as Harvey Thew)

Produced by
Darryl F. Zanuck .... producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Devereaux Jennings (photography) (as Dev Jennings)
Film Editing by
Edward M. McDermott (edited by) (as Edw. M. McDermott)
Casting by
Rufus Le Maire (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Max Parker 
Costume Design by
Edward Stevenson (uncredited)
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Dolph Zimmer .... assistant director (uncredited)
Harvey Parry .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Irving Glassberg .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Frank Kesson .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Nelson Laraby .... director of photography: additional photography (uncredited)
William Reinhold .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Al Roberts .... camera operator (uncredited)
William Schurr .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Harry L. Underwood .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Willard Van Enger .... camera operator (uncredited)
Robert H. Wagner .... camera operator (uncredited)
Sidney Wagner .... director of photography: second unit (uncredited)
Scotty Welbourne .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Earl Luick .... wardrobe
Music Department
David Mendoza .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
David Mendoza .... composer: title music (uncredited)
Other crew
Dillingham .... production assistant (uncredited)
William Guthrie .... location manager (uncredited)
Newitt .... production assistant (uncredited)
Clem Peoples .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Rule .... production assistant (uncredited)
Whitmore .... production assistant (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (present) (as a Warner Bros. Vitaphone Talking Picture)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
83 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Brazil:14 | Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-15 (2005) | Germany:12 | New Zealand:PG | Sweden:(Banned) | Sweden:15 (re-rating) (1977) | UK:A (cinema release) | UK:PG (video release)

Did You Know?

In an early scene, set in 1914, a piano can be heard in the background, as someone slowly plays through Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag".See more »
Boom mic visible: As the trucks are leaving the Lehman Brewery, the shadow of a boom mic is visible on the trucks as they drive out the gate.See more »
Matt Doyle:Gee, she's a honey. I could go for her myself.
Tom Powers:What do you mean, you could go for her yourself? You could go for an eighty year old chick with rheumatism.
See more »
Movie Connections:
SmilesSee more »


Gun Cagney Uses---Did Bogart & Cliff Robertson Use Same Gun Later?
See more »
22 out of 26 people found the following review useful.
83 minutes of Cinematic Bliss, 9 August 2003
Author: J. Wellington Peevis from Malltown

Larger than life classic that chronicles the life of a street hustler turned crime lord in prohibition Chicago, based loosely on the various antics of the Irish mega-hoodlums, O'Bannon and Moran.

While we may never literally create a time machine, these old movies give you the miracle of observation at least of what life was once like. Sadly many of the old films have been destroyed through neglect, so the pickings are very slim. Public Enemy is one of the best old movies available. For only the sheer pleasure of seeing what all the fuss was about in Cagney and Harlow, it's worth a viewing. Director Wellman creates some extremely lasting images you won't want to miss, and it almost makes me think of the original Frankenstein for that reason. The final sequence especially is a dramatic example of lasting imagery in film, quite an unforgettable experience. If you like Godfather, Scarface, Goodfellas, and who doesn't, you owe it yourself to watch what may be the patriarch of the entire genre. Interestingly, while the film has a campy disclaimer demonizing the subject matter and mandating public action in order to address the evils of organized crime, it's rather obvious that the producers new exactly what they were really doing by making a film like this. Brutal as some of the action is, Cagney's charisma glorifies the gangster as much as Coppola, Scorsese and all the rest glorify modern organized crime. See it for yourself!!!

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Public Enemy (1931)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Where do you think some of those props in the movie are? dgs516
Bad Acting WardenGordonBorden
Finally! I got that Bugs Bunny Reference andrewsk8s
what if this movie was remade? infamousdave886
Clockwork Orange steals a scene! KubricksSeal
What was the last thing James Cagney Said?? mikehunt620
See more »


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