7.7/10
2,089
26 user 37 critic

Underworld (1927)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 October 1927 (USA)
Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend.

Directors:

Josef von Sternberg, Arthur Rosson (uncredited)

Writers:

Charles Furthman (adaptation) (as Charles Furthmann), Ben Hecht (story) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
7th Heaven (1927)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A street cleaner saves a young woman's life, and the pair slowly fall in love until war intervenes.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Ben Bard
The Racket (1928)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An honest police captain vows to bring down a powerful bootlegger who is protected by corrupt politicians and judges.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Thomas Meighan, Louis Wolheim, Marie Prevost
Thunderbolt (1929)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A criminal known as Thunderbolt is imprisoned and facing execution. Into the next cell is placed Bob Moran, an innocent man who has been framed and who is in love with Thunderbolt's girl. ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Fay Wray, Richard Arlen
The Crowd (1928)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The life of a man and woman together in a large, impersonal metropolis through their hopes, struggles and downfalls.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Eleanor Boardman, James Murray, Bert Roach
Street Angel (1928)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A woman on the run from the law finds her past catching up to her just as she is on the verge of true happiness.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Natalie Kingston
Comedy | Romance | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king's daughter while on the lam.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: William Boyd, Mary Astor, Louis Wolheim
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An elderly professor's ordered life spins dangerously out of control when he falls for a nightclub singer.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young impoverished aristocrat falls in love with an inn-keepers daughter, but has to marry money.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Erich von Stroheim, Fay Wray, Zasu Pitts
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Joan and Magdalen are the daughters of a fisherman. Magdalen leaves her fiancé, Peter, to run off to the big city. Joan and Peter marry. Magdalen's return years later causes trouble for the... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Edna Purviance, Raymond Bloomer, Charles K. French
The Dragnet (1928)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Bancroft ... 'Bull' Weed
Evelyn Brent ... 'Feathers' McCoy
Clive Brook ... Rolls Royce Wensel
Fred Kohler ... 'Buck' Mulligan
Helen Lynch ... Meg, Mulligan's Girl
Larry Semon ... 'Slippy' Lewis
Jerry Mandy Jerry Mandy ... Paloma
Edit

Storyline

'Nobody helps me -- I help them!' boasts open-handed gangster Bull Weed, handing over what will prove to be the best investment in his high-spending career: a thousand dollars that will put the literate 'Rolls Royce' of vagrants back on his feet. Living it up in the Twenties with the aid of cool but smouldering moll Feathers, the Bull lords it over the law and his rivals alike -- specifically big Buck Mulligan, whose floral-tributes business echoes that of a certain real-life Chicago gangster... Yet Feathers, prize possession and object of envy, proves his weak point; and in the end, Bull Weed will indeed come to need help from others, and more than he has ever needed it before. But can Rolls Royce and Feathers still give it to him? And will the Bull accept? Written by Igenlode Wordsmith

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Seething Melodrama


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La ley del hampa See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$753,300, 31 December 1928
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Underworld" was submitted to the British Board of Film Censors three times:
  • The first submission, under the original title, was rejected because of the sympathetic portrayal of a criminal.
  • The second submission, under the title "The Penalty" and with cuts, was rejected.
  • The third submission, under the title "Paying the Penalty" to give the movie a more moral stance, and with additional cuts, was passed with an "A" certificate.
See more »

Quotes

'Bull' Weed: -There was something I had to find out - - and that hour was worth more to me than my whole life.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Enjoyed it despite my best intentions
30 October 2013 | by AaronIgaySee all my reviews

Not being much of a fan of silent dramas I wasn't looking forward to this film. I was watching the movie merely for it's historical significance as the first gangster film and as a proto-noir. But I quickly was sucked into the love triangle with Bull, Rolls and Feathers, with names like those how could you not be? The great dialogue of later gangster films was already here, even if I could have done with a bit of a harder edge. Early on there were times when I thought the film felt a bit too light-hearted but it was punctuated by enough grit to force me to take the simple story seriously. Not the greatest gangster film, but perhaps the greatest surprise, which after-all, is why I watch movies.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 26 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed