8.2/10
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159 user 85 critic

White Heat (1949)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 3 September 1949 (USA)
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.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Wally Cassell ...
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Trader Winston
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Storyline

Cody Jarrett is the sadistic leader of a ruthless gang of thieves. Afflicted by terrible headaches and fiercely devoted to his 'Ma,' Cody is a volatile, violent, and eccentric leader. Cody's top henchman wants to lead the gang and attempts to have an 'accident' happen to Cody, while he is running the gang from in jail. But Cody is saved by an undercover cop, who thereby befriends him and infiltrates the gang. Finally, the stage is set for Cody's ultimate betrayal and downfall, during a big heist at a chemical plant. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Pick up the pieces folks, Jimmy's in action again! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

3 September 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alma negra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was James Cagney himself who had the idea of making Cody psychotic. Cagney attributed his performance to his father's alcoholic rages, which he had witnessed as a child, as well as someone that he had seen on a visit to a mental hospital. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene the crooks are riding in a late-1940s Cadillac limo. Cadillacs of that vintage had standard rear fender skirts. As the car approaches us we see its left side and the left fender skirt is in place. Then the car goes around a bend and we see the right side. There is no fender skirt on the right rear fender. But a few seconds later the car arrives at the railroad track and stops right on the track. We're looking at the right side of the car and the fender skirt is in place as it should be. The two scenes may have been shot on two different days. Very trivial, of course, except for old car buffs. See more »

Quotes

[the sound of shooting is heard]
Zuckie Hommell: Sounds bad, Cody.
Cody Jarrett: Why don't you give 'em my address too...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Indestructible Man (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Five O'Clock Whistle
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Josef Myrow, Kim Gannon & Gene Irwin
Played on a radio
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User Reviews

 
They don't make 'em like this anymore
12 September 1998 | by (Calfiornia, USA) – See all my reviews

The old saying, "They don't make 'em like they used to" fits this film to a T. Every other crazed-killer-goes-on-a-rampage movie ever made pales next to it. This is the best performance of Cagney's career (although, astoundingly enough, he didn't think much of the picture or his work in it, dismissing it as "just another gangster flicker"). Only Cagney could take a character like Cody Jarrett, a snarling, murderous monster with a mother fixation--someone you KNOW is going to get his at the end--and still almost make you wish he gets away. The film is one taut nerve from beginning to end. There's not a wasted moment in it; it starts out at full blast with the daring robbery of a mail train barreling through a mountain pass and doesn't let up. Performances are universally top-notch, from the stars on down to the extras. Far and away the finest film of director Raoul Walsh's long and distinguished career, this movie can take its place as not only the best gangster film ever made, but as one of the best films ever made, period.


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