8.0/10
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136 user 41 critic

Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 26 November 1938 (USA)
A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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The 'Dead End' Kids
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Swing
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Bim
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Pasty
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Crab
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Hunky (as Bernard Punsley)
Joe Downing ...
Steve
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Edwards
Adrian Morris ...
Blackie
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Storyline

Two boyhood friends, Rocky Sullivan and Jerry Connolly have taken different paths in life. After Rocky is arrested he is sent to a juvenile facility and becomes a lifelong tough guy and criminal. Jerry on the other hand goes straight and becomes a Catholic priest ministering to people in the same neighborhood when he and Rocky grew up. When Rocky is released from prison he resumes his criminal lifestyle and becomes much admired by many of the local kids. Worried that the kids will follow Rocky into the criminal world, Jerry works hard to keep them on the straight and narrow. When Rocky is convicted and sentenced to the electric chair, Jerry asks him for one last favor. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sensational Human Drama... Terrific Thrills And Suspense! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

26 November 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Battle of City Hall  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When Father visits Rocky in prison, a chair for him to sit appears out of nowhere. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jerry, As a Boy: Bulls eye!
William 'Rocky' Sullivan, as a boy: It's as dead as a door nail around here.
Jerry, As a Boy: Yeah.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A School Story (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sidewalks of New York
(1894) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Lawlor
Played by the organ grinder during the opening panorama
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

WILL THE CIRCLE REMAIN UNBROKEN???
16 August 1999 | by (NEW JERSEY, USA) – See all my reviews

This film is included on my personal top 10 list. The old-time ethnic slums (?) of New York City in the 20's and 30's are a picaresque window to another time. One where gangsters were heroes (to some) and filled newspapers with their exploits. Tales of crime and riches are like candy to the gangs of kids living in poverty, while seeking their own escape to something better. They could only learn from experience, what Rocky Sullivan (Cagney) already knew, there is no honor among thieves. No honor, and no road back for Rocky. But, sometimes, for someone else, fate gets a push.

A very interesting, fast-paced story, I recommend this highly. The transition from Rocky's childhood to his adult years is especially well done and cast. In 'spirited' discussions with friends, we STILL don't agree on Rocky's thoughts and motivations at the end of the film. WAS HE GIVEN AN 'OUT' ? WAS HE HERO OR COWARD? WAS IT WHAT HE WANTED? WAS IT IMPOSED ON HIM? WAS IT CALCULATED OR DID IT POUR OUT UNCONTROLLABLY? Judge for yourself. After a few viewings, it's not as simple as it appears......


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