7.9/10
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80 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.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Nick Brown
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Mrs. Sherman (as Elizabeth Risdon)
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Henderson (as Ed Keane)
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The Sergeant - Pete Jones
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Michaels
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Masters
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Judge
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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

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Biggest of all the Cagney smashes! (Trade Paper ad) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

28 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The World Moves On  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the release of this film, producer Mark Hellinger received a telegram from New York that read: "We are all sitting here in the Stork Club discussing your new picture. We are glad 'The Roaring Twenties' rates four stars and we wish we could be present to give you the remaining four-four. We love you. Walter Winchell, Louis Sobol, Damon Runyon, Rudy Vallee, Eddie Dowling, George M. Cohan, Sam Harris, Frank Buck, Buddy G. DeSylva, James J. Walker, Ted Husing, Ricardo Cortez, Sidney Clare, Bert Wheeler, Bert Lahr, Marc Lachmann, Clem McCarthy, Mack Gordon, Curley Harris, Jay C. Flippen, Dan Parker, Murray Lewin". See more »

Goofs

When the gangsters hurl bombs at a storefront from the car, watch the prop explosives bounce off the building and roll into the street before the blast. Furthermore that same footage was seen in the film 'Angels with Dirty Faces'. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: [Opening lines - various clips of 1930's news footages are shown] Today, while the earth shakes beneath the heels of marching troops, while a great portion of the world trembles before the threats of acquisitive power-mad men, we of America have little time to remember an astounding era in our own recent history. An era which will grow more and more incredible with each passing generation until someday people will say it never could have happened at all. April, 1918: almost a million American ...
[...]
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Connections

Spoofed in The Carol Burnett Show: Episode #8.22 (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

The Japanese Sandman
(1920) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Played at the club when Eddie smashes Henderson's cigar
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User Reviews

 
Bullets blondes and bootleg
20 December 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

It is hard to believe so many truly great films were made in 1939, and I can only guess that the sheer volume of excellent pix from that year is the only reason why THE ROARING TWENTIES does not have truly major classic status. 1939 seems to be cluttered with a plethora of cinematic riches, thus burying this astonishing and entertaining crime film. I also have been roaring (with laughter) at some of the astonishing silly comments also on this film's viewer comments page: from: "Blondell's haircut is worth the price of a ticket" (Joan Blondell is not in this film, sweetie, read the credits!) - to '"Another MGM gem"...hello? pal, the opening of the film has a great big shield with WB stamped on it followed by "Warner Bros Presents". Almost everyone commenting then proceeds to tell the whole story, each one after each one as thought they are the only person writing a comment. Yeesh. I am the only person who firstly reads what is already there in order to NOT duplicate plot points or characters or the same old same old same old? For genuine long lasting flabbergastering I prefer the movie's solid direction by Raoul Walsh the sensational crackling screenplay by Mark Hellinger and Jerry Wald and mostly the truly major performance by James Cagney. This role and it's ride is possibly the best I have ever seen from him, especially in the latter scenes on skid-row. It's a very mean cruel story with Bogart's jawdropping viciousness several points above censorship rulings - all thankfully intact and now in crisp DVD clarity. The production values are equally solid well decorated nightclubs and houses and rooms and very believable and expansive sets and scenes - especially in the WW1 intro. Yes it even has a terrific Citizen Kane style march of time newsreel tone and urgency. This is a genuine gangster masterpiece and well worth finding and sharing with other vintage WB (not MGM) crime buffs. THE ROARING TWENTIES deserves to be one of the most famous gangster films for everyone of its plot, acting , character and production qualities - they are all there on show. I would love to know the budget and the box office. I know the film was a big hit but exactly how big? It deserved to be massive. Also, the best saddest role of a lifetime to the superb and endearing Gladys George as Panama. As if everything else wasn't perfect enough! This film is a collectors must-have. If remade today, it would be exactly the same, such is it's timeless tone and production. In fact it is had to believe it was made 20 years earlier than SOME LIKE IT HOT. Both films look identical. Don't waste another day, put THE ROARING TWENTIES top of your must see list.


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