MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 9,302 this week

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  23 October 1939 (USA)
7.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 8,354 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 37 critic

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), 5 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $6.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 26 titles
created 30 Jul 2012
 
a list of 41 titles
created 05 Aug 2013
 
a list of 46 titles
created 03 Mar 2014
 
a list of 34 titles
created 03 May 2014
 
a list of 30 titles
created 11 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Roaring Twenties (1939)

The Roaring Twenties (1939) on IMDb 7.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Roaring Twenties.

User Polls

1 win. 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
White Heat (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    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 Adventure | Crime | Drama
    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
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 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)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Rico is a small-time hood who knocks off gas stations for whatever he can take. He heads east and signs up with Sam Vettori's mob. A New Year's Eve robbery at Little Arnie Lorch's casino ... See full summary »

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
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    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 7.4/10 X  

Although innocent, reporter Frank Ross is found guilty of murder and is sent to jail. While his friends at the newspaper try to find out who framed him, Frank gets hardened by prison life ... See full summary »

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan
Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Youthful tough Johnny Stone has fallen under the influence of petty crook Frank Wilson, who involves him and robbery and murder using his sister's boyfriend's stolen gun.

Director: Lewis Seiler
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Gale Page, Billy Halop
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the ... See full summary »

Director: William Keighley
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Barton MacLane
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After the killing of her husband by friendly fire during a police raid, Dr. Carol Nelson tries to find gangster Joe Gurney to clear her name with the medical board.

Director: Lewis Seiler
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Kay Francis, James Stephenson
Dark Victory (1939)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, and must decide whether she'll meet her final days with dignity.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Jeffrey Lynn ...
Frank McHugh ...
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)
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:

The land of the free gone wild! The heyday of the hotcha! The shock-crammed days G-men took ten whole years to lick! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A montage features a shot of gangsters bombing a storefront. This shot is actually an alternate angle of the bombing of a store in The Public Enemy (1931), and the same shot is notably also used in a similar montage for Angels with Dirty Faces (1938). See more »

Goofs

Eddie's arms change position when he falls on the church steps. See more »

Quotes

Panama Smith: I think you're a pretty decent guy. I like to talk to decent guys. They're hard to find.
See more »


Soundtracks

Cryin' for the Carolines
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Jean shows up at Flanagan's
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
He Used To Be A Big Shot
12 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It is not as centrally dynamic as THE PUBLIC ENEMY nor as Freudian as WHITE HEAT, but THE ROARING TWENTIES is a leading gangster film for Jimmy Cagney as it details the rise and fall of a gangster Eddie Bartlett. The product of World War I and Prohibition, Eddie rises to great power as the head of a gang, always trying to return to legitimate society, and then to fall again due to the Wall Street Crash and the machinations of his right-hand man George Hally (Humphrey Bogart).

Both men's characters are far more subtle as studies of success in criminal enterprise than the normal crime bosses of the 1930s. Eddie painstakingly builds up a taxicab corporation to gain legitimacy, as well as his stock acquisitions. Bogart, a bit more realistic on what types of businesses he understands, does not get involved in the stock market. But he enjoys the trappings of the upper class. Witness the scene when he is talking with his underling (Abner Biberman) and he is practicing his putting in his office. At the conclusion, Bogart is living in a townhouse (a sign of his financial success).

There is a tradition in the films of the depression that some gangsters are not as bad as others. This is not to be taken seriously in real life, but the idea is that certain people are driven to crime by economic circumstances (Cagney returning to no job at the end of World War I) and some are driven by pure evil (the sadistic side of Bogart's nature). Cagney, on his rise, gains the friendship of people like Gladys George (actually the unrequited love of Ms George) and tries to find room in his organization for people like Frank McHugh, a nice guy who really never fit in properly as a criminal - and dies as a result. Bogart gains the support of like villains (Bibberman, who shares Bogie's fate at the end), and keeps showing a contempt for human life in most of the film (witness how he kills a cop on one of the rum runners he and Cagney are on, because the cop was once his sergeant in the army who punished him for breaking the rules when he did). But Cagney turns out to have more guts in him than Bogie. At the end of the film the latter, facing his own demise, turns into a total coward.

The film has many touches to set the tone of the 21 years it covers (1918 - 1939). At the start newsreel footage takes the audience back to the end of World War I, showing Presidents and events up to Wilson (who, curiously enough, is shown by an actor playing the President, not as part of an old film). It has been noted that Gladys George's Panama is based on Texas Guinan, the speakeasy hostess. The death of Cagney on the steps of a church is based on the death of Hymie Weiss, a Chicago gangster rival of Capone who was killed that way in 1927. It was too good a death to not use in a gangster film, as it seems more symbolic than it was in real life (it does remind us of how Cagney, for all his good intentions, came up short due to his profession in violence).

I have not commented on the love triangles involving Cagney, Jeffrey Lynn, and Priscilla Lane (and Cagney, Lane, and Gladys George). The irony that Cagney never sees that George is more than just a good friend is rather poignant, for both of them. And it is George who cradles his dead body in the end and gives his epitaph. Perhaps today a director would allow Cagney to wise up and get away with George. But that would spoil the full effect of the film's conclusion.


26 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Full of great lines dirtyvisage
for Long Islanders (NY) daugust66
Bogie's death myavalon
Where did the doll come from? mack-29
Trivia question hunterjlc
Classic Gangster Movie Kensith
Discuss The Roaring Twenties (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?