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'G' Men (1935)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 4 May 1935 (USA)
2:08 | Trailer

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It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Hugh Farrell
'Mac' McKay
Edward Pawley ...
Danny Leggett
Fingerprint Expert
Eddie Buchanan
Bruce J. Gregory
Gangsters' Messenger with Warning


It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval for arrests - that doesn't stop fresh Law School grad Eddie Buchanan from joining up, and he encourages his former roommate James "Brick" Davis (James Cagney) to do so as well. But Davis wants to be an honest lawyer, not a shyster, despite his ties to mobster boss McKay, and he's intent on doing so, until Buchanan is gunned down trying to arrest career criminal Danny Leggett. Davis soon joins the "G-Men" as they hunt down Leggett (soon-to-be Public Enemy Number One) and his cronies Collins and Durfee, who are engaged in a crime and murder spree from New York to the midwest. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hollywood's Most Famous Bad Man Joins the "G-MEN" and Halts the March of Crime!


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 May 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

G'Men  »

Box Office


$450,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


In this film, which was made after one of the many "censorship" reforms, the gangsters are never seen using the common gangster weapon: the Thompson Sub-Machine Gun. In an effort to curb the violence in movies, the new "production codes" forbade the use of the weapon by gangsters on camera for fear that it would corrupt the youth of America (a fact explained in the Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) DVD documentary). This is especially evident during the lodge shootout. All of the cops and FBI agents have Tommy guns, 12-gauge pump shotguns and automatic pistols, while the gangsters only have revolvers and lever-action rifles. See more »


During the shoot out in the garage, there seem to be 8 shots fired at Brick but 12 bullet holes in the wall behind him. See more »


Collins: I never knock.
Jean Morgan: Well, it does save getting splinters in your knuckles. Someday someone's gonna knock you flat.
See more »


Featured in James Cagney: Top of the World (1992) See more »


You Bother Me an Awful Lot
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Sammy Fain
Lyrics by Irving Kahal
Performed by Ann Dvorak and chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

More FBI propaganda than crime film
31 May 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Lawyer Brick Davis (James Cagney) is a fresh-out-of-school law graduate with no clients. When his old friend Eddie Buchanan (Regis Toomey) stops in town, he approaches Davis to become a 'G Man' - a member of a newly formed federal force that uses brains combined with brawn to make the perfect law enforcement. Davis isn't interested, but when Buchanan is shot dead by a gang of organised thugs, he joins up instantly, and begins to distance himself with his criminal clients. Upon arrival at the FBI recruitment centre, he knocks heads with his newly-appointed mentor Jeff McCord (Robert Armstrong) who dislikes the amount of law graduates they are getting. When the gang that Davis left behind start to cause mayhem on a federal scale, Davis uses his knowledge and experience to bring the gang to justice.

With all the Pre-Code mayhem that was taking over the cinemas back in the 1930's, people began worrying about the flattering, anti-hero portrayals that the criminal underworld were getting. Films such as the 1932 version of Scarface, and The Public Enemy (also starring Cagney) both showed them in a flattering light, so G-Men wanted to make the law cool again. Cagney's Brick Davis is very much like the villains portrayed in these films - he's ambitious, tough, intelligent - but he's also moral. The criminals, however, are portrayed as pure scum, and (in a quite shocking scene) capable of killing women without thinking twice. More of an FBI propaganda film than a film noir or a crime film, but it's easily watchable. Yet apart from a couple of bloody good shootouts and the odd surprise, the film never really grips and it does lack the usual bite from Cagney.


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