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White Heat (1949)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 16,590 users  
Reviews: 138 user | 79 critic

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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Title: White Heat (1949)

White Heat (1949) on IMDb 8.2/10

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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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...
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Margaret Wycherly ...
Steve Cochran ...
John Archer ...
Wally Cassell ...
Cotton Valletti
...
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:

Searing the screen like the death-blast of a sub-machine gun ! ! ! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

3 September 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

White Heat  »

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

If the surprise expressed by James Cagney's fellow inmates during "the telephone game" scene in the prison dining room appears real, it's because it is. Director Raoul Walsh didn't tell the rest of the cast what was about to happen, so Cagney's outburst caught them by surprise. In fact, Walsh himself didn't know what Cagney had planned; the scene as written wasn't working, and Cagney had an idea. He told Walsh to put the two biggest extras playing cons in the mess-hall next to him on the bench (he used their shoulders to boost himself onto the table) and to keep the cameras rolling no matter what. See more »

Goofs

As the camera pans the Los Angeles skyline before dissolving to the inside of Evans's office, it is broad daylight. But when the scene dissolves to the office interior, where Evans is interrogating Willie the informant, it's suddenly dark outside as seen through the window, and all the lights in the room are on, further indicating it's night. Subsequently, the scene shifts from the interior of Evans's office back to the L.A. skyline, and once again it's daytime. Also, the skyline shot of the buildings shown after this office scene is obviously a freeze-frame, as the flags are frozen in mid-flutter and there is no other movement visible. See more »

Quotes

Hank Fallon: You put it on a pole, wind a spool of silk thread around it, and you hold the pole over the water. Then you sit under a nice shady tree and relax. After a while, a hungry fish comes along, takes a nip at your hook, and you've got dinner. For the next two weeks, I'm not gonna think about anything except the eternal struggle between man and the fish...
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Connections

Spoofed in The Karate Dog (2004) 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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