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Gangs of New York (1938)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 23 May 1938 (USA)
The undercover cop Rocky Thorpe infiltrates a crime syndicate being run by the incarcerated mob boss John Franklin. Franklin conducts his business via a short-wave radio concealed in his ... See full summary »



(book), (original story) (as Sam Fuller) | 3 more credits »


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Cast overview:
'Rocky' Thorpe / John Franklyn
Connie Benson
'Dapper' Mallare
Inspector Sullivan
District Attorney Lucas
Howard Phillips ...
Al Benson
Robert Gleckler ...
Elliott Sullivan ...
Maurice Cass ...


The undercover cop Rocky Thorpe infiltrates a crime syndicate being run by the incarcerated mob boss John Franklin. Franklin conducts his business via a short-wave radio concealed in his cell. One day Franklin is caught and placed in solitary confinement. Thorpe, Franklin's physical double, takes his place. Soon changes in the gang's activities are subtly made. Thorpe orders the mob to keep careful records of their activities, to gather enough evidence to convict them all. Trouble ensues when Franklin escapes from jail. Written by Robert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 May 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Cidade Inquieta  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although this was one of the many Republic titles mutilated (i.e. edited) for television presentation, a complete print of the 1948 re-release survives on DVD. See more »

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User Reviews

Just turn off your brain and enjoy!
21 April 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Sometimes when you watch an old movie, you just have to suspend disbelief just a bit—and if you can't, you probably won't enjoy the film. "The Gangs of New York" is exactly such a film. It uses one of the oldest clichés in movie—the identical stranger. But, providing you can look past this, it's a dandy and entertaining picture.

When the film begins, you learn that although the evil mobster, Rocky, is in prison, he's still running his criminal empire—and the police seem unable to stop them. But, when it just happens that there is an identical copy of Rocky and he works for the police, they decide to release the fake Rocky and have him infiltrate the mob and get evidence on their actions. However, because he doesn't know everything the real Rocky is supposed to know and because he doesn't act like the old Rocky, some of the gang becomes suspicious. But, when the REAL Rocky escapes , you know that something bad will happen…and fast!

Yes, I know it's impossible to have a man look EXACTLY like another as well as sound EXACTLY like him, but it works. Much of it is because Charles Bickford was great in the leading roles. He was fun to watch and his gangster ways were pretty funny because they were so extreme. Also, the writing (despite the clichéd plot) was quite good—especially the dialog. It's actually one of the better Republic B-movies from the era. Well worth seeing because it's so much fun.

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