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The Little Giant (1933)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Romance | 20 May 1933 (USA)
When Prohibition ends, a beer baron sees the writing on the wall, quits the rackets, and tries to break into California society.


Roy Del Ruth


Robert Lord (original screen play), Wilson Mizner (original screen play)

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Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... James Francis 'Bugs' Ahearn
Mary Astor ... Ruth Wayburn
Helen Vinson ... Polly Cass
Russell Hopton ... Al Daniels
Kenneth Thomson ... John Stanley
Shirley Grey ... Edith Merriam
Berton Churchill ... Donald Hadley Cass
Don Dillaway ... Gordon Cass (as Donald Dillaway)
Louise Mackintosh ... Mrs. Dudley Hadley Cass


Prohibition is ending so bootlegger Bugs Ahearn decides to crack California society. He leases a house from down-on-her-luck Ruth and hires her as social secretary. He rescues Polly Cass from a horsefall and goes home to meet her dad who sells him some phony stock certificates. When he learns about this he sends to Chicago for mob help. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"Little Caesar" Swaps Dames for Debs...Beer Trucks for Tea Cups! (Print Ad- Milwaukee Sentinel, ((Milwaukee, Wisc.)) 1 June 1933)


Comedy | Crime | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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English | French

Release Date:

20 May 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aristokratis gangster See more »


Box Office


$197,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Bugs says he has $1.25M "salted away". That would equate to $21.55M in 2017. See more »


James Francis 'Bugs': [Pointing at a Cubist painting] You ever see anything like that before?
Albert J. 'Al' Daniels: Not since I been off cocaine.
James Francis 'Bugs': Ay, you dumb head! I suppose you think that's a cat havin' a fit in a bucket of tomato ketchup. Well, it ain't, see. That's art! Why it's one of the finest examples of - of Fut - of Furi - of Futurism. Yeah! Why that's got, eh, eh, dynamic rhythm. Yeah, that's what it's got and tone color! But, it ain't got a nickel's worth of perspective.
See more »


Wiener Blut, Op. 354 (Viennese Blood)
(1873) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
Played when Bugs and Al arrive downstairs for dinner
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User Reviews

Robinson and Astor Make the Film Work
30 December 2011 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Little Giant, The (1933)

*** (out of 4)

When F.D.R. gets elected President, Chicago bootlegger Bugs Ahearn (Edward G. Robinson) decides to get out of the business. He heads off to California where he plans on crashing into society and he thinks he's doing a good job but he doesn't realize that his love (Helen Vinson) is actually from a corrupt family that is just using him. THE LITTLE GIANT isn't a perfect movie and it's not really that funny either but it's impossible not to fall for its charm and especially the charm of Robinson. Most people will always remember Robinson for his tough guy roles but if you dig deeper into his filmmography you will see that he was actually able to play just about any type of character. This film is without question a spoof of his tough image but it works so well because you can believe Robinson in the part of the gangster but also believe him in the sillier stuff where he's trying to be a gentleman. There are some very good moments scattered throughout the film but I think the real highlight is in the final ten-minutes once Robinson realizes what has happened and he decides to bring a little Chicago out West. Vinson is also very good in her supporting role as she has no problem playing this brat and we get nice work from Russell Hopton and Kenneth Thomson. Mary Astor is also extremely charming as the woman who falls for Robinson, although he doesn't know it at first. Both actors are so good together that the film actually drags a bit when they're not together. Fans of Robinson or the Warner gangster pictures are certainly going to want to check this out just to see the studio and star spoofing themselves.

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