Angels With Dirty Faces

One of the most stirring, colorful and memorable gangster films of its day, and a perfect summary of Cagney's tough but soft-hearted screen image. As youths, Rocky Sullivan and his pal Jerry Connelly are caught in the act of breaking into a railroad car. Jerry escapes, but Rocky is caught and sent to reform school. The film then jumps ahead several years,...read more

Rating:

One of the most stirring, colorful and memorable gangster films of its day, and a perfect summary of Cagney's tough but soft-hearted screen image. As youths, Rocky Sullivan and his pal Jerry Connelly are caught in the act of breaking into a railroad car. Jerry escapes, but Rocky is caught

and sent to reform school. The film then jumps ahead several years, with Rocky (now played by Cagney) a hardened criminal, and Jerry (Pat O'Brien) a priest in the neighborhood where the boys grew up. Rocky, recently released from jail, returns to the neighborhood, where a battle begins between the

criminal and the priest for the hearts and minds of some tough kids in the neighborhood. Rocky also tries to get his double-crossing ex-partner (Humphrey Bogart) to come up with the $100,000 he owes him.

With Cagney, O'Brien, and Bogart plus the young actors known as the Dead End Kids, the film offers a host of terrific characters, crisp dialogue, and a generous portion of humor. (Particularly funny is the scene in which Rocky gives the young toughs a lesson in how to play basketball.) Films about

boyhood friends who go down different paths in life were popular in the 1930s, but the tale was never more effectively told than in this fast-paced drama.

{