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The Public Enemy

  Not Rated

William A. Wellman

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Plot Summary

Oscar-winner James Cagney ("Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Angels with Dirty Faces") became a superstar with his gritty performance as a prohibition-era Irish-American street punk who tries to make it big in Chicago's organized crime world. Features the famous grapefruit-in-your-face scene with co-star Mae Clark ("Frankenstein"). Co-starring the original Blonde Bombshell, Jean Harlow ("Dinner at Eight"). Recently selected by the prestigious American Film Institute as one of the 400 greatest American films of all time. Inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 26
  • Fresh: 26
  • Rotten: 0
  • Average Rating: 8.4/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: There's no lace on this picture. It's raw and brutal. It's low-brow material given such workmanship as to make it high-brow. – Variety Staff, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: James Cagney's portrayal of a bootlegging runt is truly electrifying (he'd made five films, but this one made him a star), and Jean Harlow makes the tartiest tart imaginable. – Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: Still a classic of the gangster genre, showing neither glorifying the life nor pulling its punches. – Jake Hamilton, Empire Magazine, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: Cagney's energy and Wellman's gutsy direction carry the day, counteracting the moralistic sentimentality of the script and indelibly etching the star on the memory as a definitive gangster hero. – Geoff Andrew, Time Out, Oct 30, 2007

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

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The Public Enemy
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  • $9.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 1931

Customer Ratings

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