50 user 26 critic

The Enforcer (1951)

Approved | | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | 24 February 1951 (USA)
A crusading district attorney finally gets a chance to prosecute the organizer and boss of Murder Inc.


Bretaigne Windust, Raoul Walsh (uncredited)


Martin Rackin




Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Dist. Atty. Martin Ferguson
Zero Mostel ... Big Babe Lazick
Ted de Corsia ... Joseph Rico (as Ted De Corsia)
Everett Sloane ... Albert Mendoza
Roy Roberts ... Capt. Frank Nelson
Michael Tolan ... James (Duke) Malloy (as Lawrence Tolan)
King Donovan ... Sgt. Whitlow
Bob Steele ... Herman (as Robert Steele)
Adelaide Klein Adelaide Klein ... Olga Kirshen
Don Beddoe ... Thomas O'Hara
Tito Vuolo ... Tony Vetto
John Kellogg ... Vince
Jack Lambert ... Philadelphia Tom Zaca


After years of pursuit, Assistant D.A. Martin Ferguson has a good case against Murder, Inc. boss Albert Mendoza. Mendoza is in jail and his lieutenant Joseph Rico is going to testify. But Rico falls to his death and Ferguson must work through the night going over everything to build the case anew. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"If you're smart you'll come down - if you're dumb you'll be dead..." (one-sheet poster) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


The narrative has several flashbacks within the encompassing flashback of D.A. Ferguson reviewing the case against Rico, as various characters recount their involvement to Ferguson. See more »


Near the middle of the film the two young women are talking with each other outside in front of a house. After their conversation one of them walks toward the street. As she walks almost out of the picture you can see the shadow of the camera move across her body. See more »


Capt. Frank Nelson: What's wrong with the law that we can't touch him
[Mendoza, boss of murder ring]
Capt. Frank Nelson: ? Oh, I know, our kind of laws are designed to protect the innocent. It's not enough we know a man is guilty - we have to prove it.
D.A. Martin Ferguson: Ever have a tune running through your head and you can't remember the words?
Capt. Frank Nelson: What are you getting at?
D.A. Martin Ferguson: How many people did we speak to on this case?
Capt. Frank Nelson: Oh, I'd hate to remember.
D.A. Martin Ferguson: How many pages of testimony do you suppose we took?
Capt. Frank Nelson: Enough to fill a nice-sized room!
D.A. Martin Ferguson: Heh, somewhere's in that testimony ...
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Featured in Bullets Over Hollywood (2005) See more »


Kiss Me Sweet
Written by Milton Drake
Played over the sidewalk loudspeakers
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User Reviews

A D.A. has trouble putting a crime boss away
8 February 2013 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

For some reason, I thought this film was a lot earlier than 1951. The reason is that it looks for all the world like a B movie and sounds like one. It's possible Bogart owed Warners a film, though what his excuse was for making "The Two Mrs. Carrolls" I've never figured out. He must have owed them a lot of films. Apparently the director became quite ill and Bogart asked Raoul Walsh, who refused to take any credit, to take over. This helps the film to come off well, but to me it still seems like a B movie with an A list star and director.

"The Enforcer" is a crime noir, with Bogart as Martin Ferguson, a frustrated District Attorney who loses yet another witness against a crime boss, Albert Mendoza (Everett Sloane). Ferguson's witness (Ted de Corsia) is due to go into court the next day, but he panics and tries to leave via a window too many flights up.

Ferguson stays up the night before the trial with Captain Nelson (Roy Roberts) going over the case incident by incident, trying to figure out if there is anybody else who can help him put this killer in prison.

There are flashbacks within flashbacks here as different people tell a story about the organization.

I liked the denouement of this movie. I found it effective and also suspenseful.

Bogart, as usual, is great, as the no-nonsense DA, and he has good support from Zero Mostel, Sloane, King Donovan, and Michael Tolan, among others.

Good crime drama.

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Release Date:

24 February 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sin conciencia See more »


Box Office


$1,109,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

United States Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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