The Public Enemy Reviews

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December 11, 2020
Cagney is so good here, in fact, that the picture would still be worth a look even if it were otherwise awful.
July 30, 2020
It's clear that in 1930's Hollywood, villainous activities must have strict repercussions, but the blaring disclaimer at the close only lessens the impact.
July 30, 2019
The approach is direct and unpretentious, the pace is brisk, the whole thing lasts eighty-four minutes and it has more in it than a half-dozen of those lethargic three-hour-plus epics we get nowadays.
April 19, 2019
If there are to be gangster pictures, let them be like The Public Enemy, hard-boiled and vindictive almost to the point of burlesque.
September 21, 2017
1931's The Public Enemy is still at this stage one of the best gangster films ever made.
January 14, 2016
In spite of woodenness, creakiness in plot, and unintentional humor in printed piety, ' The Public Enemy,' a film of its time, was a sensation at that time, and is still not to be missed today.
August 12, 2011
This early sound film, which made a star of James Cagney, remains one of the most influential crime-gangster films ever made, establishing the basic narrative format of the popular genre.
July 5, 2009
Crime may not pay, but The Public Enemy was one of the first pictures to recognize that it sure can be exciting to watch.
May 10, 2008
March 2, 2008
Top notch Cagney gangster flick with memorable final scene.
December 15, 2007
The film's juiciest scene has the misogynist Tom squeeze a half a grapefruit in his nagging girlfriend Kitty's (Mae Clarke) kisser.
October 30, 2007
Still a classic of the gangster genre, showing neither glorifying the life nor pulling its punches.
October 30, 2007
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.
April 9, 2006
Its success proved, if by then there was any doubt, that audiences will go for a charismatic lowlife over a dull hero any day of the week, a lesson Hollywood never forgot.
February 20, 2006
The implication is that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of guys like Tom Powers, little criminals living fast and dying hard.
February 9, 2006
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.
January 20, 2006
The film set the template for the likes of "Scarface" and "GoodFellas."
August 11, 2005
February 11, 2005
Contrary to popular opinion, the best moment in the film isn't when Jimmy Cagney shoves a grapefruit in his girlfriend's face.
January 30, 2005
...it was Cagney's film from beginning to end, to win or to lose, and he came out one of the biggest winners in Hollywood.
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