The Roaring Twenties (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Roaring Twenties (1939)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Roaring Twenties Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A pair of World War I buddies become underworld kingpins.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By: ,
Written By: Richard Macaulay, Robert Rossen, Jerry Wald
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 25, 2005
Warner Home Video


James Cagney
as Eddie Bartlett
Priscilla Lane
as Jean Sherman
Humphrey Bogart
as George Hally
Gladys George
as Panama Smith
Jeffrey Lynn
as Lloyd Hart
Frank McHugh
as Danny Green
Elizabeth Risdon
as Mrs. Sherman
Paul Kelly
as Nick Brown
Elisabeth Risdon
as Mrs. Sherman
Edward Keane
as Pete Henderson
Joe Sawyer
as Sgt. Pete Jones
George Humbert
as Luigi, Proprietor
Clay Clement
as Bramfield, Broker
Donald Kerr
as Bobby Hart
Ray Cooke
as Orderly
Vera Lewis
as Mrs. Gray
Murray Alper
as 1st Mechanic
Dick Wessel
as 2nd Mechanic
Joseph Crehan
as Fletcher, Foreman
Norman Willis
as Bootlegger
Robert Elliott
as 1st Officer
Eddy Chandler
as 2nd Officer
Arthur Loft
as Proprietor of still
Eddie Acuff
as Cabdriver
Al Hill
as Ex-con
Lew Harvey
as Ex-Con
Joe Devlin
as Order Taker
Wade Boteler
as Policeman
Jeffrey Sayre
as Order Taker
Al Bridge
as Captain
Nat Carr
as Waiter
Bert Hanlon
as Piano player
Ann Codee
as Saleswoman
Alan Bridge
as Captain
Fred Graham
as Henchman
James Blaine
as Doorman
Milton Kibbee
as Taxi Driver
Cyril Ring
as Charlie the Clerk
Sam Harris
as Man in Club
John Deering
as Commentator
John Harron
as Soldier
Milt Kibbee
as Taxi Driver
Robert Dobson
as Lieutenant
Stuart Holmes
as Man for Turkish Bath
Philip Morris
as Policeman
Lee Phelps
as Bailiff
John Ridgely
as Cabdriver
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Roaring Twenties

Critic Reviews for The Roaring Twenties

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 28, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

If Raoul Walsh didn't invent the Warners style, then he certainly brought it to its electric apex

Full Review… | April 14, 2013

A powerful story of wartime bonds and their staying power through the most adverse of circumstances.

Full Review… | April 8, 2011
Film and Felt

Dynamic, quintessential gangster film, wonderfully stylized by director Raoul Walsh,

Full Review… | July 17, 2009
Classic Film and Television

Audience Reviews for The Roaring Twenties

The Roaring Twenties charts the rise and fall of prohibition racketeer James Cagney from the trenches of the great war to the stock market crash of 1929. It's amazing that only 8 short years separate The Roaring Twenties and the simplistic moralizing and two dimensional characterisation of The Public Enemy. It is probably the blueprint for the modern gangster movie and is the equivalent of the likes of The Godfather or Goodfellas for its time. Cagney is at his very best as the morally "grey" but inherently decent mobster who finds himself caught up in the booze hungry fervor of the prohibiton years after returning from fighting for his country as part of a forgotten generation, unable to find any other way to earn a living. Things take a sinister turn when he makes an uneasy partnership with a brilliant Humphrey Bogart who makes such a fantastic asshole you end up wishing he played the bad guy a bit more often. A rather bland Priscilla Lane aside the cast are all spot on, and with the addition of some energetic shoot outs and a brilliant climax when Cagney finally has it out with a sneering Bogie, all set in historical context of the America at the time, you have a timeless crime classic.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Not my favorite Cagney, Bogart or Walsh, but still a solid gangster flick.Worth seeing for the historical narrative montages.

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

This is a good movie about the 1920s, and a good gangster movie, with a good cast. I liked this movie.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

The Roaring Twenties Quotes

Eddie Bartlett: He can't be more than fifteen.
George Hally: He'll never be sixteen. [after shooting a young German soldier]
– Submitted by monsieur r (4 years ago)
Policeman: What did he do?
Panama Smith: He used to be a big shot.
– Submitted by Peter P (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Roaring Twenties on our Movie forum!