James Cagney Movies I've Seenby msecaur | created - 18 Sep 2017 | updated - 2 months ago | Public
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1. Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
Approved | 122 min | Biography, Drama
The life and career of vaudevillian and silent screen horror star Lon Chaney, including his contentious relationship with his neurotic wife and his premature death.
First Cagney movie, pre-2017. Cagney great, but fictionalized script and over-emphasis on Cleva don't do him or Lon any favors.
2. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Passed | 126 min | Biography, Drama, Musical
The life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer George M. Cohan.
Votes: 12,619 | Gross: $11.80M
June 2017. Somewhat overlong, but a treat to see Cagney showing off his skills as a singer and dancer, his beautiful sister Jeanne, and a great tribute to Cohan.
3. The Strawberry Blonde (1941)
Approved | 99 min | Comedy, Romance
Quick-tempered yet likable Biff Grimes falls for the beautiful Virginia Brush, but he is not the only young man in the neighborhood who is smitten with her.
August 2017. Slightly overlong, but great turn-of-the-century atmosphere. Cagney great as nice guy snubbed by titular strawberry-blonde. Great chemistry with Olivia de Haviland.
4. The Roaring Twenties (1939)
Not Rated | 106 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.
August 2017. Overstretched gangster drama, but often compelling, with a veneer of quality. Downbeat ending, but Cagney great as soldier-turned-bootlegger.
5. Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
Passed | 122 min | Biography, Drama, Music
A fictionalized account of the career of jazz singer Ruth Etting and her tempestuous marriage to gangster Marty Snyder, who helped propel her to stardom.
August/September 2017. Somewhat slow in spots, but Cagney electrifying as tough mobster with a soft spot for singer (Day) who doesn't love him.
6. The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)
Approved | 92 min | Comedy, Romance
A financially-strapped charter pilot hires himself to an oil tycoon to kidnap his madcap daughter and prevent her from marrying a vapid band leader.
September 2017. Sometimes forced but sometimes funny screwball comedy, but Cagney great and charming regardless alongside Bette Davis.
7. Something to Sing About (1937)
Approved | 93 min | Comedy, Musical
A New York bandleader journeys to Hollywood when he is offered a contract with a studio, but he is determined to do things his way and not theirs.
September 2017. Disjointed and overlong, but has its moments of comedy. Cagney's dancing skills on show.
8. Taxi! (1932)
TV-G | 69 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
Independent cab drivers struggling against a taxi company consortium find a leader in Matt Nolan.
September 2017. Fast-paced ubergenre film with Cagney at his charming, talented best as a hot-tempered yet sympathetic taxi-driver. Shows off his range as tough guy, lover, and dancer. Personal favorite Cagney film.
9. Winner Take All (1932)
Unrated | 66 min | Drama
Young boxer Jim Kane, resting at a New Mexico "health ranch," meets and falls for Peggy Harmon, former nightclub table singer...who needs $600 more for her sickly son to stay in the place. ... See full summary »
September 2017. Cagney totally unbelievable as dense, fickle boxer, but great to see his fighting skills in action.
10. Footlight Parade (1933)
G | 104 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance
Chester Kent struggles against time, romance, and a rival's spy to produce spectacular live "prologues" for movie houses.
September 2017. Overlong and dull till the final two musical numbers, but great seeing Cagney hoofing and singing.
11. Blonde Crazy (1931)
TV-G | 79 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
The adventures of an egoistic con man and his glamorous accomplice.
September 2017. Unlikeable characters and disappointing ending bring story down, but Cagney charming regardless as young con man opposite Joan Blondell.
12. Other Men's Women (1931)
Passed | 71 min | Drama, Romance
Events take an unhappy turn for two Bill and Jack, two locomotive engineers, after Bill is attracted to his best friend's wife.
September 2017. Cagney stands out in otherwise soapy story, despite the small size of his part, and even gets in a dance. Shots on top of moving train a real achievement.
13. Great Guy (1936)
Approved | 66 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
The adventures of an investigator (Cagney) for the Bureau of Weights and Measures.
September 2017. Cagney excellent in otherwise moderately entertaining, low-budget quickie about principled guy fighting corruption. Worth it to see his dancing and fighting skills.
14. Lady Killer (1933)
Passed | 76 min | Comedy, Crime
A former gangster makes it big in Hollywood, but his old life catches up with him.
September 2017. Cagney charming as ever depite uneven and forgettable story about gum-chewing smart-aleck who goes from movie usher to racketeer to movie actor. One of his rare happy endings.
15. Jimmy the Gent (1934)
67 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.
September 2017. Typical 30's crime-comedy fluff with Cagney as a professional swindler who vows to go straight to win back his old girlfriend. Neither he nor Davis liked the script, but great to see them working together.
16. Smart Money (1931)
Passed | 81 min | Crime, Drama
Immigrant Greek barber has uncommon skills in playing poker and soon rises in the seedy world of illegal gambling, but pretty blondes remain his Achilles' heel.
September 2017. Robinson's film as barber/professional gambler, but Cagney shines in his second-billed role as loyal sidekick. Tragic end for both.
17. Frisco Kid (1935)
Approved | 77 min | Adventure, Romance
After a roustabout sailer avoids being shanghaied in 1852 San Francisco, his audacity helps him to arise to a position of power in the vice industry of the infamous Barbary Coast.
September 2017. Interesting period crime-drama about life on San Francisco's Barbary Coast. Cagney, in a more sympathetic role as sailor-turned-town boss, gives great, subdued performance, and even ends up with the girl. More enjoyable than 1936's "San Francisco."
18. Each Dawn I Die (1939)
Approved | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A corrupt D.A. with governatorial ambitions is annoyed by an investigative reporter's criticism of his criminal activities and decides to frame the reporter for manslaughter in order to silence him.
September 2017. Another quality production from 1939. Engrossing prison drama unafraid to show the cruelty and injustice of the prison system. Cagney gives intense, emotional performance as framed reporter wrongly sent to jail, one of the best of his career. Real-life buddy George Raft gives strong support.
19. City for Conquest (1940)
Approved | 104 min | Drama, Music, Sport
Danny is a content truck driver, but his girl Peggy shows potential as a dancer and hopes he too can show ambition. Danny acquiesces and pursues boxing to please her, but the two begin to spend more time working than time together.
September 2017. Overlong melodrama that never quite decides on a tone or who is really the main character. Cagney great regardless as boxer who loses his sight for the sake of his overly-ambitious girlfriend Ann Sheridan.
20. The Time of Your Life (1948)
Approved | 109 min | Comedy, Drama
A wide variety of persons come into Nick's Pacific Street Saloon, some to ask for work and others just to pass the time.
September 2017. Stagey, meandering ensemble piece about misfits who frequent a second-string bar. Cagney great as genial loafer/philosopher. Worth watching only for him, his sister Jeanne, and scene of Cagney and Bendix singing harmony.
21. The Public Enemy (1931)
Not Rated | 83 min | Crime, Drama
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.
October 2017. Surprisingly untalky Pre-Code gangster talkie with noirish feel despite 1931 release. Off-camera deaths pack powerful punch. Cagney great as cold-hearted Chicago hoodlum Tom Powers, the role that made him famous. An unsympathetic turn until the final reel. Classic scenes of Cagney with grapefruit and him staggering through the gutter in the pouring rain, not to mention his brief dance with Jean Harlow.
22. White Heat (1949)
Not Rated | 114 min | Action, Crime, Drama
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.
October 2017. Cagney great as always as insane criminal leader Cody Jarrett, whose only soft spot is for his mother. His coldest-blooded role. Unlikable characters and literally explosive ending bring it down.
23. A Lion Is in the Streets (1953)
Approved | 88 min | Drama
A charismatic peddler from the bayous finds his true calling in politics. Is he a demagogue in the making?
October 2017. Cagney good as always, despite being miscast as unlikable Louisiana peddler-turned-politician. Unfocused story makes it worth seeing only for his brief moments of singing and dancing, and his sister Jeanne's performance as Jennie.
24. Captains of the Clouds (1942)
Approved | 114 min | Action, Drama, War
Inspired by Churchill's Dunkirk speech, brash, undisciplined bush pilot Brian MacLean and three friends enlist in the RCAF but are deemed too old to be fliers.
November 2017. Cagney moving and charming as always, despite slightly unlikeable role as smart-aleck pilot, and limitations of propaganda/RAF promo film that is more about the planes than the people.
25. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)
Approved | 133 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Theseus, Duke of Athens, is going to marry Hyppolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Demetrius is engaged with Hermia, but Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius. Oberon and Titania, of the ... See full summary »
November 2017. Cagney a delight as the hapless Bottom, a bright spot in an otherwise trippy and over-the-top film. His performance is broad but very funny, and more grounded than that of his ridiculously scene-chewing co-stars. Role gives him the chance to show off his talents as a singer and comedian as well as an actor; his physicality in the transformation and awkening scenes are worth the price of admission alone.
26. Johnny Come Lately (1943)
Approved | 97 min | Drama
Newspaper man wanders about and helps older woman save her paper.
November 2017. Heartwarming turn-of-the-century comedy-drama about bum-turned-reporter who helps the old lady who takes him in. Fine performances all around, but Cagney shines in gentler role than normal.
27. 'G' Men (1935)
Approved | 85 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval ... See full summary »
November 2017. Top-shelf, well-paced crime drama glorifying the good guys rather than the bad. Less punchy than pre-Code but entertaining, with great script and a surprising amount of humor. Cagney more subdued in refreshing role on the other side of the law, but as charming and cocksure as ever.
28. The Crowd Roars (1932)
Passed | 85 min | Action, Drama, Sport
Sports car racer becomes overprotective of his brother when he decides to become a racer as well.
November 2017. Amazing special effects and thrilling race sequences can't save rushed WB melodrama that's too short on character development. Blondell and Cagney given too little to do, but he's good as alcoholic driver trying to protect younger brother.
29. The West Point Story (1950)
Approved | 107 min | Comedy, Music
A Broadway director helps the West Point cadets put on a show, aided by two lovely ladies and assorted complications.
November 2017. Fun, feel-good musical with Cagney in top form all around as Broadway producer forced into the army to get a show put on. All-star cast looks like they're really enjoying themselves, which spills over onto the rest of the film. Like "Footlight Parade," only better. One of Cagney's most enjoyable films. Great seeing him sing, dance, and even speak French.
30. The Oklahoma Kid (1939)
Passed | 85 min | Action, Adventure, History
During the Oklahoma Land Rush, the lawlessness is exacerbated by the McCord gang's feud with the Kincaids, who are trying to bring law and justice to the region.
December 2017. Cagney and Bogart both strangely cast as cowboys, but do well in roles nonetheless, with Bogart as black-hatted baddie and Cagney the do-gooder taking the law in his own hands. Typical Western plot, but can't miss Cagney singing, dancing, riding, playing the guitar, and even speaking Spanish!
31. Sinners' Holiday (1930)
Passed | 60 min | Crime, Romance
Ma Delano (La Verne) runs a boardwalk penny arcade, living upstairs with her sons (Cagney and Gallagher) and daughter (Knapp). Story involves rum running, accidental murder and a frame-up.
December 2017. Cagney and Blondell's film debut in the roles they originated on Broadway. Stagey quality, but surprisingly good performances. Cagney plays more of a wimpy mama's boy character than he would later, but breakdown scene harbinger of things to come.
32. Hard to Handle (1933)
Approved | 78 min | Comedy, Romance
Small time con artist Lefty Merrill has co-organized a crooked dance marathon and set-up his girlfriend to win the prize money. When his partner disappears with money before the contest is ... See full summary »
December 2017. Cagney a scream as fast-talking promoter/con artist in fresh, enjoyable Pre-code romp. Comedy handled nicely by director Mervyn LeRoy. Cagney more subdued and vulnerable than usual, but his athleticism is still on show, particularly in running-down-the-stairs scene. Worth seeing again.
33. Torrid Zone (1940)
Approved | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Plagued by revolutionaries that harass his plantation in a banana republic, fruit company exec Steve Case rehires former nemesis Nick Butler to restore order and profits.
January 2018. Slow start and different yet unfocused story make it seem longer than it is, but Cagney, even as second-fiddle to O'Brian, has great chemistry with lady cardsharp Ann Sheridan. Better than "The Lady Eve" but not worth rewatching.
34. Mister Roberts (1955)
Not Rated | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, War
In the waning days of World War II, the United States Navy cargo ship Reluctant and her crew are stationed in the "backwater" areas of the Pacific Ocean. Trouble ensues when the crew members are granted liberty.
Votes: 14,055 | Gross: $21.20M
February 2018. Dull, slow-moving war film enlivened only by Cagney's electric performance in supporting role as Captain Morton.
35. The Fighting 69th (1940)
Passed | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Biography
Although loudmouthed braggart Jerry Plunkett alienates his comrades and officers, Father Duffy, the regimental chaplain, has faith that he'll prove himself in the end.
March 2018. Gritty, realistic, but surprisingly character-driven WWI drama based on the real-life "Fighting Irish" 69th Regiment. Strong, moving performances by largely Irish-American cast, including Cagney as a smart-aleck coward who turns hero. Great to see him scrapping and speaking Yiddish.
36. 13 Rue Madeleine (1946)
Approved | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
When spy chief Bob Sharkey finds out one of his agents-in-training is actually a Nazi double agent, his strategic decision not to arrest him results in tragedy.
April 2018. Cagney great as always as gutsy American spy leader forced to enter Nazi-occupied France to liberate them. Plenty of action and even a scene speaking German. Fatalistic atmosphere and senseless end for Cagney bring it down.
37. These Wilder Years (1956)
Approved | 91 min | Drama
A middle-aged man tries to reconnect with his illegitimate son, who was given to an orphanage many years ago.
July 2018. Cagney gives strong, subdued performance in sensitive film about a steel tycoon trying to find his illegitimate son after twenty years. Slightly disappointing ending. Stanwyck great opposite him, though.
38. The Doorway to Hell (1930)
Passed | 78 min | Crime, Drama
Lou Ricarno is a smart guy. His plan is to organize the various gangs in Chicago so that the mugs will not liquidate each other. WIth the success of his leadership, Louie prospers, marries ... See full summary »
August 2018. Cagney plays second fiddle to Lew Ayres' brooding, baby-faced gang leader, but stands out nonetheless in great pre-"Public Enemy" performance. Stylishly directed and surprisingly untalky early talkie. Great to see a pre-"Dracula" Dwight Frye as a gangster!