7.9/10
9,867
79 user 44 critic

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 October 1939 (USA)
Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
2 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart
Action | 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
'G' Men (1935)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 »

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Ann Dvorak
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Although loudmouthed braggart Jerry Plunkett alienates his comrades and officers, Father Duffy, the regimental chaplain, has faith that he'll prove himself in the end.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, George Brent
Dead End (1937)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The Dead End Kids, an unemployed architect, and gangster Baby Face Martin interact with an East Side neighborhood over one day and night.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Quick tempered but likable Biff Grimes falls for beautiful Virginia Brush, but he is not the only young man in the neighborhood who is smitten with her.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Nick Brown
...
Mrs. Sherman (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Edward Keane ...
Henderson (as Ed Keane)
...
The Sergeant - Pete Jones
...
Michaels
...
Masters
...
Judge
...
First Detective
Eddy Chandler ...
Second Detective (as Eddie Chandler)
Edit

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:

Wild! Lawless! Fantastic! Action? No picture ever had more! (Trade Paper ad) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In an earlier crime film, Lights of New York (1928), the term "Roaring Forties" is used to describe the "fast lane" Times Square area of New York City. At the end of that film, a police officer says to the lead character, "Leave the roaring forties to roar without you". In Tin Pan Alley (1940), set at the turn of the 20th century, the term "The Roaring Forties" is then used to describe the area of the famous songwriting capital, in New York City, known as "Tin Pan Alley". "The Roaring Twenties" became a common term to describe an entire decade, with the popularity of this 1939 James Cagney / Humphrey Bogart classic. See more »

Goofs

At the Panama Club, Eddie's glass of milk and the other two drinks disappear from the table just before the table gets flipped over and the brawl sequence begins. See more »

Quotes

George Halley: [the men are taking cover in a bombed-out farmhouse, shooting at German soldiers somewhere off-screen. Lloyd takes aim at a German soldier, but hesitates, then lowers his rifle] Whatsa' matta', "Harvard," did you lose the Heine?
Lloyd Hart: No... but he looks like a kid, about 15 years old.
George Halley: -
[Aims his rifle and without any hesitation shoots the young German soldier]
George Halley: He won't be sixteen.
[Seconds later, a fellow soldier rushes in to tell them the war is over, the Armistice has been signed]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood and the Stars: The Man Called Bogart (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Dancing with Tears in My Eyes
(1930) (uncredited)
Music by Joseph A. Burke
Played when Panama is talking to Eddie after her number at Flanagan's
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Chronicle of the causes and effects of National Prohibition of Alcoholic Beverages following World War I. "National Temperance" becomes parent of Organized Crime.
4 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

We may just be able to chalk it all up to "Nostalgia", but there's no denying that the Gangster Era, Prohibition, Speak Easies and Thompson Sub-Machine guns all seem to have a place in the hearts of most Americans. Libraries and Book Stores, be they one of those big chain shops or a small, independent Out offprint dealer, all prosper if they have an ample sized shelf of those Crime related volumes on hand.

So too it is with the motion picture with the Gangsters always seems to "pack 'em in." Down through the years we've seen an evolution of the Gangster Genre; with the changes in both storyline and stark "realism" all coming along in direct corresponding degrees to the changes of the mores of the times. Hence we would see many different attitudes portrayed in LITTLE CEASAR with Edward G. Robinson (Warner Bros., 1931), THE PUBLIC ENEMY starring James Cagney (Warners, 1931) and Paul Muni in SCARFACE (Caddo Co./United Artists. 1932) than we would see represented in AL CAPONE with Rod Steiger (Allied Artists, 1959), THE BROTHERHOOD starring Kirk Douglas (Brotherhood Co./Paramount Pictures, 1968), Robert Mitchum in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (Paramount Pictures, 1973), just to name a few.

When the great gangster pics are discussed and disgusted, it seems that Director Raoul Walsh's THE ROARING TWENTIES (Warner Brothers, 1939) seems to get the also ran treatment of a "B" Picture or something. It is a rap that is undeserved and should have a "Mass Media Pardon"from any such a shoddy reputation.

We watched it last night on Turner Classic Movies and got the pleasure of having the "kids" over, who were never exposed to it before. As for the wife and meself, it had been such a long time that it was almost like a brand new experience. The fact that TCM, like so many Cable/Satellite channels shows a picture start to finish, no commercials or interruptions whatsoever. And that alone proves to be most helpful in screening a picture.

It wasn't so long ago that the best we could do was to see a movie like this on the nightly movie. That meant our tolerating umpteen commercial breaks and many a film sans some of its footage, left out in order to fit the movie into a particular time slot and still being able to get in all those "Messages of Interest and Importance." We recall that our local Channel, WGN TV had presented THE ROARING 20's by starting the story with Cagney and Frank McHugh's ride out to Mineola, Long Island, New York to visit the young girl who corresponded during the World War, Jean Shepherd (Priscilla Lane). This meant that the scenes of battle in the trenches with James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Jeffrey Lynn and their nasty Sergeant, Joe Sawyer were never seen, that night. Bogie doesn't appear until about the halfway point. The conversations between the men made no sense without having benefit of seeing the prior encounters.

And now, it's Time for our Feature Review! OUR STORY……..THE ROARING TWENTIES is the film principally written by New York Broadway Columnist, Mark Hellinger. Like so many successful writers of great fiction, he took real people and situations and adapted them to a story, with fictitious names and made up places in New York City. Mr. Hellinger was well known as a writer about crime and was fascinated with those Damon Runyonesque Con Men, Hoods, High and Low ranking Gangsters, Hangers-on and Wannabees. He was also an incurable apologist for The Great White Way, Bagdad on the Trolley, the Big Apple, etc.

The story is one of real significance to countless thousands of our "Doughboys" of the American Expeditionary Force (or A.E.F.) to war weary Europe in 1917-18. You see, this was to be "a War to end all Wars", or a "War to make the World safe for Democracy." Those who survived combat in the trenches returned home to a short lived Hero's Welcome only to find out that the Country had voted itself dry in their absence. A popular song of the times asked, "How you gonna keep 'em down on the Farm now that they've seen Paris? (Pronounced Pair-ee!).

Lost jobs, an almost universal contempt for Prohibition and the general let down over the Wars failed mission ushered in "the Jazz Age", Flappers, Hip Flasks, Speak Easies and "Bath Tub Gin." The otherwise Law Abiding were corrupted with a giant case of "When in Rome…" or "Everybody's doing it" logic. As time passed, what had started out as a seemingly harmless participation in a highly unpopular, unfair and even Un-Constitutional Prohibition Law in the Volstead Act, became an Urban Civil War over sales and control of Booze in the various designated territories.

Some fortunes were made and some were lost as the decade came to nearing its end with the Great Stock Market Crash, on "Black Tuesday", October 29, 1929. The trumpeting herald had sounded as the signal of the beginning of some years of Economic Hardship of the Grerat Depression.

Mr. Hellinger's characters vividly portray the convulsions that the Country faced. Those, who once again were based on real life Bootleggers, Rum Runners, etc. were handily portrayed by the Warner Brothers stock company of players headed up by Mr. Cagney, Bogie, Jeffrey Lynn, Priscilla Lane, Gladys George, Frank McHugh, Elizabeth Risdon, Joe Sawyer, Dick Wessel, Ben Welden, Paul Kelly, John Hamilton, Abner Biberman and a cast of thousands! Mark Hellinger's story served as a fictionalized kaleidoscope of the bizarre events of American History during a 13 year period of time sandwiched into those years between the two great World Wars. By way of the drama, Hellinger tries his best to offer us perhaps not any excuses for the bad behaviour, but rather the reasons.


10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?