City for Conquest (1940)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This filmization of Aben Kandel's novel City for Conquest stars James Cagney as a truck driver-turned-boxer. As Cagney rises to the top in the ring, his ex-girlfriend Ann Sheridan forms a dance act with Anthony Quinn. Blinded during a fight by acid-tinged boxing gloves, Cagney tries to exact revenge on the gangster who arranged the "accident," but is wounded in the melee. Now physically handicapped as well as visually challenged, Cagney becomes the manager of a New York newsstand through the kindness of his former manager Donald Crisp. Cagney uses his earnings to finance the musical education of his violinist brother Arthur Kennedy. Years later, a jilted Sheridan is reunited with Cagney at his newsstand, as both of them listen to the radio debut of Kennedy's first symphony. Upon its reissue in 1948, the film then ends abruptly (as do several preceding scenes) in order to fit a 98 minute running time; the original 1940 release ran 106 minutes.
Classics , Drama
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James Cagney
as Danny Kenny
Ann Sheridan
as Peggy Nash
Arthur Kennedy
as Eddie Kenny
Donald Crisp
as Scotty MacPherson
Frank Craven
as Old Timer
Blanche Yurka
as Mrs. Nash
Elia Kazan
as Googi
Anthony Quinn
as Murray Burns
Bob Steele
as Callahan
George Lloyd
as Goldie
Lee Patrick
as Gladys
Thurston Hall
as Max Leonard
Ben Welden
as Cobb
John Arledge
as Salesman
Joseph Crehan
as Doctor
Billy Wayne
as Henchman
Pat Flaherty
as Floor Guard
Ethelreda Leopold
as Dressing room blonde
Lee Phelps
as Ring Announcer
Charles C. Wilson
as Bill - Man Behind MacPherson at Fight
Edward Gargan
as Joe - Foreman
Murray Alper
as Taxi Driver
Dick Wessel
as Cab Driver by Fire
Bernice Pilot
as Della - Peggy's Maid
Charles Lane
as Al - Dance Team Manager
Margaret Hayes
as Sally - Irene's Friend
William Newell
as Max's Lyricist
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Critic Reviews for City for Conquest

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

Picture carries plenty of dramatic punch.

Full Review… | November 1, 2007
Top Critic

Uunevenly paced, mounts slowly to a sizzling prizefight sequence, which comes somewhere about the middle, then sags off to a long-drawn, agonized finish.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Litvak's careful poduction overcomes any flaws.

Full Review… | November 1, 2007
TV Guide

The heartwrenching tearjerker love story surfaces at the end as a winner by a narrow decision.

Full Review… | July 22, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Cagney's marvellous performance almost saves the mawkish ending.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Audience Reviews for City for Conquest

Ann Sheridan is on a quest for fame and fortune. Jimmy Cagney is on a quest for Ann Sheridan. A terrific little rags to riches to rags story replete with music and boxing and a dancing Anthony Quinn.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

I love these old boxer movies, Cagney is perfect for this part too. I loved this movie it's really dramatic and exciting. I highly recommend it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


When you think of James Cagney, your thoughts might gravitate towards some of his movies like Public Enemy, White Heat or Yankee Doodle Dandy, right? You never hear anyone gush over City for Conquest. Reason being its a flat, dull and dragged out tale of slum kids following their dreams and blah blah blah. Cagney plays the likable tough guy, Ann Sheridan plays his (asshole) girl and Arthur Kennedy plays Cagney's kid brother. Oddest thing is that City for Conquest is the kind of movie that's right up my alley but it was so unengaging and drab that by the time the tragedy hit I didn't care. Seeing a young Anthony Quinn and Elia Kazan was kind of amusing but once Cagney's character goes blind (I didn't blow anything the synopsis above didn't so don't get mad for the lack of spoiler alert...) he's just really creepy. And the whole ageless bum thing was just dumb.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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