"They rule by the fear of their guns. They must be stopped by the power of your ballots." They refers to Bugs Fenner and other mobsters whose illicit rackets will be smashed to smithereens by undercover cop Johnny Blake.
When Warner Bros.' Depression-era gangster movies began to draw protests, the studio reinvigorated the genre with stories emphasizing law enforcers instead of lawbreakers. The swift, sturdy Bullets Or Ballots reflects that, with Edward G. Robinson (as Blake) siding with the good guys for the first time in a gangland saga. Humphrey Bogart plays the short-fused Fenner. And Joan Blondell and Louise Beavers, in an unusual story element for the times, are thriving numbers operators whose grift is usurped by the mob.
A Bronx cop goes undercover so he can tip the police off to the mob's illicit activities. Bigwig businessmen and slimy politicos are in it up to their necks and they take a fall, too. A really good gangster picture, based on a true story.
A crime king is a fired police detective who goes to work for the city's top gangster. Although he soon becomes one of the underworld's most powerful figures, he is constantly stalked by a rival gangster who continues to remain suspicious of the former cop.