7.7/10
15,915
119 user 77 critic

The Public Enemy (1931)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 15 May 1931 (USA)
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.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Kubec Glasmon (by), John Bright (by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Little Caesar (1931)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A small-time criminal moves to a big city to seek bigger fortune.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane
White Heat (1949)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

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.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart
Scarface (1932)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An ambitious and nearly insane violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson
Stars: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson
Smart Money (1931)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, Evalyn Knapp
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A waitress, a hobo and a bank robber get mixed up at a lonely diner in the desert.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis
42nd Street (1933)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A director puts on what may be his last Broadway show and, at the last moment, a naive newcomer has to replace the star.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Chester Kent struggles against time, romance, and a rival's spy to produce spectacular live "prologues" for movie houses.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler
'G' Men (1935)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 »

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Ann Dvorak
High Sierra (1941)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After being released from prison, notorious thief Roy Earle is hired by his old boss to help a group of inexperienced criminals plan and carry out the robbery of a California resort.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Cagney ... Tom Powers
Jean Harlow ... Gwen Allen
Edward Woods ... Matt Doyle
Joan Blondell ... Mamie
Donald Cook ... Mike Powers
Leslie Fenton ... Samuel 'Nails' Nathan
Beryl Mercer ... Ma Powers
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Paddy Ryan (as Robert O'Connor)
Murray Kinnell ... Putty Nose
Edit

Storyline

Tom Powers and Matt Doyle are best friends and fellow gangsters, their lives frowned upon by Tom's straight laced brother, Mike, and Matt's straight laced sister, Molly. From their teen-aged years into young adulthood, Tom and Matt have an increasingly lucrative life, bootlegging during the Prohibition era. But Tom in particular becomes more and more brazen in what he is willing to do, and becomes more obstinate and violent against those who either disagree with him or cross him. When one of their colleagues dies in a freak accident, a rival bootlegging faction senses weakness among Tom and Matt's gang, which is led by Paddy Ryan. A gang war ensues, resulting in Paddy suggesting that Tom and Matt lay low. But because of Tom's basic nature, he decides instead to take matters into his own hands. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beer and Blood See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Gangster" in June 2008. See more »

Goofs

In the scene were Tom and Mike are talking at the kitchen table Tom's hat brim goes from being up to down without Tom touching it. See more »

Quotes

Paddy Ryan: As far as Paddy Ryan's concerned, there are only two kinds of people - right and wrong. I think you're right. And you'll find out that I am.
See more »

Crazy Credits

It is the ambition of the authors of "The Public Enemy" to honestly depict the environment that exists today in a certain strata of American life, rather than glorify the hoodlum or the criminal. While the story of "The Public Enemy" is essentially a true story, all names and characters appearing herein, are purely fictional. See more »

Alternate Versions

For a 1941 re-release, three scenes in "The Public Enemy" were censored to comply with the Production Code. These censored segments (including an extended edit of the scene involving the gay tailor) were restored for the 2005 DVD release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Some Like It Hot (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo' Bye!)
(1922) (uncredited)
Written by Gus Kahn, Ernie Erdman and Dan Russo
Dance music played in hotel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Still riveting, over 70 years later!
6 April 2004 | by free101girlSee all my reviews

Most films made in the early 30s are entertaining only as period pieces that give us a glimpse into another era. Often they are so dated that they've become unintentionally funny.

The Public Enemy is a totally different thing. It is such a well-crafted and honest film that it still has the power to shock us. The violence in this film is every bit as brutal as anything in a modern "gangsta" flick, even though some of it takes place off-camera.

Based on the stills I had seen of the grapefruit scene, I thought it would be a light-hearted moment. In fact, it's anything but. In that encounter, Cagney's character exhibits a total disregard for others that is downright chilling.

The final scene is extremely disturbing. You won't forget it.


24 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 119 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

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