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
The character of Cesare Enrico Bandello is not, as widely believed, based on Al Capone. Instead, he is based on Salvatore "Sam" Cardinella, a violent Chicago gangster who operated in the early years of Prohibition. See more »
When Rico is shot behind the billboard, the Thompson submachine gun used by the police detective has a blank-firing device attached. See more »
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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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 »
"Is this the end of Rico?" - Yes, But the Start of My Favorite Genre - Mob Movies
LITTLE CAESAR was made at a critical time in U.S. history. Prohibition was in, the depression was overwhelming, and mobsters were running rampant. I don't think the filmmakers realized it, but they have made a movie that paints the "Mafia" as glamorous and flashy. A message appears before the flick, telling the public how "we" must stop gangsters like Tom Powers (James Cagney,PUBLIC ENEMY) and Rico, (Edward G. Robinson, LITTLE CAESAR). The movie probably had youngsters and adults alike wanting to live the life of a man who had a city in his grasp, and no one who was anyone was "yellow". All seriousness aside, this blueprint of a long history of mob pictures is silly, dated, and damn watchable. You can't take your eyes off the screen.
A film with dialogue like the ultimate cliche "Go on. I'm...done for" must be a waste of time right? Not if you appreciate pre-historic cinema and the Vitaphone films of the early talkie period. Actors like the great Edward G. Robinson were born to talk and deliver lines at machine gun pace. This is what the audiences of the time were looking for. And that mug. Audiences would not see such a face on a gangster until Brando's GODFATHER. If you love GOODFELLAS, THE GODFATHER, Cagney and Bogart films, and even PULP FICTION, this is a must see. Experience an American original - the first potent "La Cosa Nostra" movie. Rat tat tat tat tat!!!
RATING: 10 of 10
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