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Gangs of Chicago (1940)

A criminal uses his knowledge of the law for his not-very-legal purposes, betraying friends along the way.


Arthur Lubin


Karl Brown




Complete credited cast:
Lloyd Nolan ... Matthew J. 'Matty' Burns
Barton MacLane ... Jim Ramsey
Lola Lane ... June Whitaker
Ray Middleton ... Bill Whitaker
Astrid Allwyn ... Virginia Brandt
Horace McMahon ... Cry-Baby
Howard Hickman ... Judge Whitaker (as Howard C. Hickman)
Leona Roberts ... Mrs. Whitaker
Charles Halton ... Bromo
Addison Richards ... C.L. Evans
John Harmon ... Rabbit
Dwight Frye ... Pinky


A criminal uses his knowledge of the law for his not-very-legal purposes, betraying friends along the way.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama







Release Date:

19 May 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Al amparo de la ley See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Matty Burns (Lloyd Nolan) drives a 1939 Buick 4-door convertible. See more »

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User Reviews

Nice "B" Picture
23 July 2016 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Gangs of Chicago (1940)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Matty Burns (Lloyd Nolan) attends law school and quickly becomes one of the brightest of his class. The only catch is that he isn't going to become a good guy but instead he wants to learn the law so that he can become a great criminal as well as help a big shot crime lord (Barton MacLane).

GANGS OF CHICAGO is a "B" movie from Republic, which tries to be a throwback to the gangster pictures that Warner was throwing out during the 1930s. There's some hard hitting bits on crime and there's no question that it's well-made and especially when you consider the budget wasn't that high.

Another thing the film has going for it is the terrific cast with Nolan doing an extremely good job as the wise-cracking crook. I liked how Nolan made him a rather smart character who knew what to say and how to say it. MacLane was always fun to watch and he gets to soak up the villain role here. Both Lola Lane and Ray Middleton are good in their roles and fans of Universal's horror movies will be happy to see Dwight Frye towards the very end.

At just 66 minutes the film flies by without any issues and for the most part it's an entertaining picture.

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