IMDb > The Public Enemy (1931)
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.

Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   13,299 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Kubec Glasmon (by) and
John Bright (by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Public Enemy on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 April 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
User Reviews:
"I Ain't So Tough." See more (106 total) »

Cast

  (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)
Joe Sawyer ... Pool player (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)
 
Stunts
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
 
Location Management
William Guthrie .... location manager (uncredited)
 
Music Department
David Mendoza .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
David Mendoza .... composer: title music (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Dillingham .... production assistant (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)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
83 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)
Certification:
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?

Trivia:
Ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Gangster" in June 2008.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: 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:[Tom stumbles from a gun fight gone wrong with the rival gang. He's barely walking and soaked from the rain] ... I ain't so tough.
[Tom collapses in the gutter]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Outfit (1993)See more »
Soundtrack:
I Surrender DearSee more »

FAQ

Gun Cagney Uses---Did Bogart & Cliff Robertson Use Same Gun Later?
See more »
28 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
"I Ain't So Tough.", 16 December 2005
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

The Public Enemy, along with Little Caesar and Scarface, set the standard for the gangster film. Though films about crime had been done in the silent era, sound was what really ushered in this particular genre. I've always maintained that musicals and gangster films are the only two movie genres that date from the sound era.

Of course this film about a young man's rise to prominence in the bootleg liquor business during Prohibition made James Cagney a star. Interestingly enough Edward Woods was originally supposed to be Tom Powers and Cagney was cast as best friend Matt Doyle. After some footage had been shot, Director William Wellman scrapped it and had Cagney and Woods exchange roles. Stars get born in many and strange ways.

Some critics have complained about Beryl Mercer's part as Cagney's mother, saying she's overacts the ditziness. I disagree with that completely. In the prologue section with Cagney and Woods as juveniles, there is a two parent household. The boys have a stern Irish father and a mom who'd spoil them if she could. The older kid who is later played by Donald Cook has more the benefit of the two family home and both influences. That and the fact that World War I leaves him partially disabled prevents him from thinking about the gangster trade. Cagney misses the war and is spoiled by mom.

I knew a woman like Beryl, in her own world with a stream of nonsensical chatter to keep out the reality of things. Her portrayal for me rings true.

Oddly enough in The Roaring Twenties Cagney is a veteran who enters the rackets because he can't get a legitimate job and its easy money.

Both The Public Enemy and Little Caesar are short films, edited down to the essentials so the viewer ain't bored for a minute. Warner Brothers sure knew how to do those gangster flicks.

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Message Boards

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The Stone Wall outside the Safe House kentonc2001
mixed clientele in the speakeasy scene mikeos3
What was the last thing James Cagney Said?? mikehunt620
Offscreen shootouts jan-bollen
Where do you think some of those props in the movie are? dgs516
Bad Acting WardenGordonBorden
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