7.2/10
12,189
108 user 72 critic

Little Caesar (1931)

Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 25 January 1931 (USA)
Trailer
2:09 | Trailer
A small-time criminal moves to a big city to seek bigger fortune.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

W.R. Burnett (novel), Francis Edward Faragoh (as Francis Edwards Faragoh) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... Caesar Enrico 'Rico' Bandello / 'Little Caesar'
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Joe Massara
Glenda Farrell ... Olga Stassoff
William Collier Jr. ... Tony Passa
Sidney Blackmer ... Big Boy
Ralph Ince ... Pete Montana
Thomas E. Jackson ... Sgt. Flaherty (as Thomas Jackson)
Stanley Fields ... Sam Vettori
Maurice Black ... Little Arnie Lorch
George E. Stone ... Otero
Armand Kaliz ... De Voss
Nicholas Bela Nicholas Bela ... Ritz Colonna (as Nick Bela)
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Storyline

Rico is a small-time hood who knocks off gas stations for whatever he can take. He heads east and signs up with Sam Vettori's mob. A New Year's Eve robbery at Little Arnie Lorch's casino results in the death of the new crime commissioner Alvin McClure. Rico's good friend Joe Massara, who works at the club as a professional dancer, works as the gang's lookout man and wants out of the gang. Rico is ambitious and eventually takes over Vettori's gang; he then moves up to the next echelon pushing out Diamond Pete Montana. When he orders Joe to dump his girlfriend Olga and re-join the gang, Olga decides there's only one way out for them. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

GANGLAND DARED HOLLYWOOD TO MAKE IT! (Print Ad-Portsmouth Times, ((Portsmouth, Ohio)) 17 February 1931) See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The proverb, "for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" used at the beginning of the film is from the King James Version of the bible. See more »

Goofs

After Tony was killed he received a big funeral possession however historically such a traditional big send-off would only have been reserved for a major mob boss not a low-level hood. See more »

Quotes

Caesar Enrico Bandello: I kind of took pride in you, Joe - brought you into the gang, pushed you ahead. But now you're getting to be a sissy.
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Alternate Versions

In the 1954 re-release, a foreword crawl was added, warning that the "heroes" of Little Caesar and The Public Enemy represent "a problem that sooner or later we, the public, must solve." This version is often shown on cable channels. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dad's Army: The Recruit (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

You, I Love But You
(uncredited)
Written by Walter O'Keefe and Robert Emmett Dolan
Played during the first Glenda Farrell-Douglas Fairbanks Jr. scene
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User Reviews

Still holds up very well
14 October 2006 | by Camera-ObscuraSee all my reviews

Seminal gangster film about the rise and fall of Enrico Bandello, a Chicago hoodlum, based on the novel by W.R. Burnett. The prototype for Enrico was, like so many other gangster heroes, mobster Al Capone. If you know a little bit about his life story, you got your basic gangster plot for practically all films that followed, like Tony Camonte in SCARFACE.

This film was the first of "the big three", together with PUBLIC ENEMY (1931) and SCARFACE: SHAME OF THE NATION (1932) and provided the blueprint for the modern gangster crime flic. It was the first gangster film to reach a wide audience and launched Edward G. Robinson to stardom. The story is simple and straightforward and might feel a little overly familiar to modern audiences, but the film lost little of its power and still holds up pretty well. It's a tough movie, but mostly tough talking with not much violence on screen.

But the film would probably be instantly forgettable without Robinson's superb performance. Whenever he's on screen, his presence is incredibly menacing. The rest of the cast is so so, but Thomas Jackson as Flaherty, Rico's nemesis, gives a wonderfully cynical performance, mocking Rico and all the other gangsters. Like most other early gangster films, it lacks the real emotional depth and complexity that came with later films, like the French gangster films of the fifties or THE GODFATHER and was made primarily as popular entertainment. Pleasant entertainment nevertheless with Edward G. Robinson portraying the first classic gangster role in screen history.

Camera Obscura --- 8/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 January 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Caesar See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone) (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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