8.0/10
16,929
135 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.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane
White Heat (1949)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods
Little Caesar (1931)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A small-time criminal moves to a big city to seek bigger fortune.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell
High Sierra (1941)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After being released from prison, notorious thief Roy Earle is hired by his old boss to help a group of inexperienced criminals plan and carry out the robbery of a California resort.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A waitress, a hobo and a bank robber get mixed up at a lonely diner in the desert.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson
Dead End (1937)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The lives of a young man and woman, an infamous gangster and a group of street kids converge one day in a volatile New York City slum.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart
Dark Passage (1947)
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A man convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and works with a woman to try and prove his innocence.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett
Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer George M. Cohan.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston
Scarface (1932)
Certificate: Passed Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An ambitious and near insanely violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson
Stars: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two brothers struggle as wildcat truck drivers; one comes to harm, the other is accused of his friend's murder.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: George Raft, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan
Edit

Cast

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

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:

The saga of America's dirty faced kids... And the breaks that life won't give them! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 November 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Battle of City Hall  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A song, "Angels with Dirty Faces"--music by Maurice Spitalny and lyrics by Fred Fisher--was published to promote the picture. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the montage showing Rocky's rise as a gangster, there is a shot of two men in a moving car throwing two "bombs" at a storefront. The bombs bounce off the window and back into the street just before the storefront explodes. 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 Angels with Dirty Spaces (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

From Me to You
(uncredited)
Written by Fabian Andre, Wayne King and Nat Conney
Played from when Bim sinks the 3-ball in the corner to the end of the pool room scene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Post Production Code Gangster Classic!
12 February 2005 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"Angels With Dirty Faces" was James Cagney's first film for Warner Bros. following his two year contract dispute. During that time he appeared in two films for the poverty row studio Grand National. With a few concessions to The Production Code (introduced in 1934) it is nonetheless one of the great all time gangster films. The touch of legendary director Michael Curtiz is evident throughout.

The story begins in the 1920s with two boyhood pals "Rocky" Sullivan (Frankie Burke) and Jerry Connelly (William Tracy) in the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood of New York. Rocky gets arrested by the police and is sent to the reformatory after a botched break in while Jerry escapes. While in prison, Rocky learns the evils of gangsterism from within and forges a life of crime and growing up to be James Cagney. Meanwhile Jerry has become a priest in the Pierson of Pat O'Brien.

Rocky returns to the old neighborhood and becomes involved with a group of teenagers (The Dead End Kids) who are headed in the same direction as Rocky. Fr. Jerry prevails upon Rocky to help him straighten the boys out before its too late. Rocky also meets up with a girl from his childhood, Laury Ferguson (Ann Sheridan).

Meanwhile we learn that Rocky has served three years in jail to protect his former partner and lawyer Jim Frazier (Humphrey Bogart). He has also entrusted Frazier with $100,000 from an earlier caper. Rocky goes to Frazier to demand his money and learns that Frazier is now involved with crime boss Mac Keefer (George Bancroft) and that they plan to cheat him out of his money. Hey, nobody double crosses Rocky.

Cagney is typical Cagney, bold, brash and cocky as Rocky. O'Brien as the Irish priest was a role he was born to play. Sheridan looks lovely but has little to do. Bogart, who was still 3 years away from major stardom, does well as the yellow back stabbing lawyer. The Dead End Kids - Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, Bernard Punsley) would move to a "B" series (without Hallop) after their Warner contract expired in 1939. The performances of Frankie Burke in particular and William Tracy as the young Rocky and Jerry are excellent.

"Angels With Dirty Faces" is probably best remembered for its ending. don't miss it.


26 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?