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The Public Enemy (1931) - movie overview

The Public Enemy (1931)

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Plot Description

DVD Release Date
 R1: Jan 25, 2005

Running Time
1 hour, 23 minutes

Country USA

More info on

Other Titles
• The Public Enemy
• Beer and Blood (1931)
• Enemies of the Public (1931)

• Nemico pubblico (1931)

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Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Gangsters, Suspense, Murder, Police, World War I

Plot: In William Wellman's classic crime film THE PUBLIC ENEMY, James Cagney does a star turn as Tom Powers, a trouble-ridden individual who rises from the position of cheap thug to that of a powerful Prohibition gangster. When his best friend is murdered, Powers self-destructively seeks deadly retaliation. He picks fights. He slaps women around. He roughs up speakeasy owners and tells them whom they'll get their hooch from and how much they'll order. Fists, kisses, and guns are the only things Tom knows. He eventually gets promoted to become the muscleman of mobster Nails Nathan (Leslie Fenton). But Tom's violent acts are about to catch up with him. After Tom guns down a cop, he's on the run. Later, thugs dump him, beaten, on the doorstep of his estranged and horrified family. It's only then that Tom realizes his decision to live the gangster life has been an irrevocable and deadly choice. Known as the picture that launched Cagney into stardom, THE PUBLIC ENEMY doesn't hold back from exposing the violence and tedium underscoring this ostensibly sexy life of crime. The screenplay, based on a story entitled BEER AND BLOOD by John Bright and written by Harvey F. Thew, was nominated for an Academy Award.

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 Directed by
William A. Wellman
The Ox-Bow Incident, The High and the Mighty, Battleground
 Written by
Kubec Glasmon
Three on a Match, Smart Money, Blonde Crazy
John Bright
Three on a Match, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, Smart Money
Jean Harlow
Dinner at Eight, Libeled Lady, Red Dust
Joan Blondell
Grease, The Cincinnati Kid, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
James Cagney
Mister Roberts, White Heat, Yankee Doodle Dandy
Beryl Mercer
All Quiet on the Western Front, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Little Princess
Donald Cook
Show Boat, Baby Face, Viva Villa!
Mae Clarke
Singin' in the Rain, Frankenstein, Thoroughly Modern Millie
 Music By
David Mendoza
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, The Big Parade

 Recommended Movies
Movie Title Agree Disagree
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Scarface (1932)
Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980, The (1992)
Untouchables, The (1987)
Call Northside 777 (1948)
Godfather: Part II, The (1974)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

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