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The Roaring Twenties (1939)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 7,845 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 36 critic

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

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(screen play), (screen play), 5 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Jeffrey Lynn ...
Frank McHugh ...
Danny Green
Paul Kelly ...
Nick Brown
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Mrs. Sherman (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Edward Keane ...
Henderson (as Ed Keane)
Joe Sawyer ...
The Sergeant - Pete Jones
Joseph Crehan ...
Michaels
George Meeker ...
Masters
John Hamilton ...
Judge
Robert Elliott ...
First Detective
Eddy Chandler ...
Second Detective (as Eddie Chandler)
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Storyline

After the WWI Armistice Lloyd Hart goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett becomes a cab driver. Eddie builds a fleet of cabs through delivery of bootleg liquor and hires Lloyd as his lawyer. George becomes Eddie's partner and the rackets flourish until love and rivalry interfere. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1920 . . . Bootleggers, Jazz, Babe Ruth, Speakeasies, Jack Dempsey, Dames, Molls, Easy Living - Quick Dying . . . the torrid . . . blazing . . . wild . . . lush . . . lurid - ROARING TWENTIES ! ! ! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The World Moves On  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During a late Saturday-night airing of this film in New York city on Channel 4, during July 1957, the story began with Eddie (James Cagney) taking Jean (Priscilla Lane) for an audition at the nightclub. Over half of the film had been cut. It turned out that cuts made previously to facilitate the showing of the film for a daytime telecast of 75 minutes, less commercials, were unable to be restored in time for this late-night showing. The film was not shown again on New York City TV in its entirety until 1960, and then on another channel. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene in the foxhole, Cagney mentions cork tipped cigarettes. These weren't invented till 1936. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Bartlett: [speaking to Jean Sherman] You want the Brooklyn Bridge, all you gotta do is ask for it. If I can't buy it, I'll steal it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Malcolm X (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Bye Bye Blackbird
(1926) (uncredited)
Music by Ray Henderson
Played as dance music at the club after Jean performs
See more »

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User Reviews

My favorite thirties Gangster Film
3 March 1999 | by (otter) – See all my reviews



Most of the famous gangster films were made in the early part of the decade, before the infamous Production Code took all the sex and violence out of the movies, and before they figured out how to make decent movies with sound. The landmark films of the genre like "Little Caesar" and "Public Enemy" are actually kind of poorly made, by modern standards.

Not so this entertaining film, it's full of life and energy and great fun to watch. James Cagney gives a wonderful performance as a dynamic and ambitious man who goes from a barely-eating taxi driver to a gang lord, and back again. Humphrey Bogart gives one of his best pre-Casablanca villain performances, and even generic leading lady Priscilla Land is fresh and likeable.

The only quibble I have with this film is it lacks the immediacy of the earlier "ripped from the headlines" films. It's made about days that had since gone by, and owes more to earlier films than the reality of the day (post-modernism in the thirties?). Still, it's great fun, do see it.


13 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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