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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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 ...
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John Archer ...
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:

James Cagney Is Red Hot In "White Heat"! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

3 September 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alma negra  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie's line "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" was voted as the #18 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100). See more »

Goofs

After the train job at the first hide-out, some of the gang is gathered around the 1947 Cadillac 75 limo listening to the radio news about their caper. A shot of the interior shows a chrome "Cadillac" script on a plate above the radio speaker grille. This plate must be removed when a radio is installed as this is where the dial, controls, and push buttons are located. Since the plate is still present, it means in reality there is no radio in the car. See more »

Quotes

Cody Jarrett: I told you to keep away from that radio. If that battery is dead it'll have company.
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Connections

Referenced in SubUrbia (1996) 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

 
Bridges the gap between film noir and WB's classic gangster flicks.
9 June 2005 | by (Indianapolis, Indiana) – See all my reviews

An extraordinary performance from James Cagney turns what might have been a by-the-numbers movie into a masterpiece. Everything revolves around Cagney. Edmond O'Brien, Virginia Mayo, and Margaret Wycherly are all superb, but when Cagney is off the screen you wait for him to come back.

Cody Jarrett (Cagney) is a desperate gangster, standing on the ledge at the end of the Public Enemy era. But 'White Heat' gives us a much more intricate psychological portrait of it's anti-hero protagonist than earlier gangster movies. Cody's dependence on his "Ma" is at the crux of the story; there is no finer example of the corrupted mother in film history, even Mrs. Bates takes a backseat to Ma Jarrett.

Throughout the film, events, and characters, conspire against Cody all leading to his delivering of one of most iconic lines ever concocted by Hollywood. I won't repeat it, you know what it is even if you've never seen the movie, but even with prior knowledge it's still an extraordinarily moving moment given the context in which it's delivered.


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