Entertainment Weekly - 11/08/1996
"...[Cagney is] lovably cocky....A life lesson..." -- Rating: A-
USA Today - 01/28/2005
"ANGELS was Cagney's gold-standard reference point."
Los Angeles Times - 01/23/2005
"ANGELS finds Cagney absolutely riveting..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Off-screen pals James Cagney and Pat O'Brien teamed for the sixth time in this enduring gangster classic. Cagney's Rocky Sullivan is a charismatic ghetto tough whose underworld rise makes him a hero to a gang of slum punks. O'Brien is Father Connolly, the boyhood chum-turned-priest who vows to end Rocky's influence. Other ace talents join them: Humphrey Bogart as a scheming lawyer, Ann Sheridan as Rocky's hard-edged girlfriend and the Dead End Kids a worshipful street urchins, all ably directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). The 1938 New York Film Critics Best Actor Award came Cagney's way, as well as one of the film's three Oscar nominations. Watch the chilling death-row finale and you'll know why.
Michael Curtiz (CASABLANCA) directs James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and Pat O'Brien in one of the greatest gangster melodramas made during the Hollywood studio era. William "Rocky" Sullivan (Cagney) and Jerry Connolly (O'Brien), partners in mischief as boys, are separated when only Jerry is fast enough to get away from the cops after the duo steals fountain pens from a railroad car. Rocky, refusing to give the name of his friend, is sent off to a reform school where he falls under the influence of criminal elements. The grown-up Rocky's triumphant return to the neighborhood complicates the efforts of Jerry, now a parish priest, to keep a local group of boys (the Dead End Kids) out of trouble. When the gang begins to idolize Rocky, Connolly fears his good works may come to nothing. Meanwhile, Rocky vies for control of the criminal rackets in the neighborhood with mob boss Mac Keefer (George Bancroft) and a corrupt, double-crossing lawyer, James Frazier (Bogart).
Curtiz's taut, suspenseful, yet suprisingly sensitive handling of the gritty urban morality play turned ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES into the first unqualified masterpiece of his stunningly prolific career. The archetypal gangster thriller, brimming with the magnetism and explosive dramatic energy supplied by the three male leads, was nominated for three Academy Award Nominations: Best Director, Best Actor (Cagney), and Best Original Story.
Description by Warner Home Video:
James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart star in this gritty but heartwarming story of a gangster who turns his life around after meeting some special kids.
Coming Of Age |
Essential Cinema |
New York City |
Organized Crime |
Film marks second pairing of James Cagney and Pat O'Brien since Cagney's leaving Warner Bros.
The actors playing the street children were known as "The Dead End Kids" and were featured in a number of studio productions.
Jo Graham is credited as the dialogue director.
Director Michael Curtiz received two Academy Award nominations for Best Director in 1938, one for "Angels with Dirty Faces," the other for "Four Daughters."
angels with dirty faces
Movie Lover: tariq musson from
london,england -- August, 20, 2006
before my father passed away 3years ago,he tried everywhere to get this movie for me and could not find it. i first saw this film when i was twelve and since then it has been my all time favourite. i still have not managed to buy it but will be getting round to it soon now that i know where to get it. but for all you people who have not seen it ,then i would suggest you go get it,(trust me it will be money well spent). jimmy plays in my oppinion his greatest role of all time,and the ending is something that must be seen to know what people are talking about, (very unexpected).