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The best gangster movie ever made!
Kind of a must-see for film fans - with classic casting. One wonders though, how did James Cagney break-out as a Hollywood star? But it happened. Priscilla Lane was one not seen before. Nice, as the nice girl. "Roaring ..." is a good compendium of the films of the era being depicted - before, during, and after Prohibition, and the lot of returning WW1 vets. Good show. | - Norm de Guerre
The Roaring Twenties is a rise-and-fall gangster saga in the mold of Goodfellas. If Goodfellas had been made in 1939 and stared James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart.
The Roaring Twenties has one thing going for it that most gangster films don't have, it starts the story far enough back that we can see the main character before his life of crime and start out with a baseline of liking him and rooting for him. This is rare in the genre, and it helps us see how someone so nice and innocent could turn to a dishonest life when faced with adversity. Aside from that opening sequence, this film was fairly flat and by-the-numbers. I was never surprised, shocked, or even all that emotionally involved. As with any gangster film, I started to lose all interest in the protagonist's plight and stopped rooting for him because he lived a despicable life. I've said before these films do not resonate with me and, despite the background that originally had me on Eddie's side, eventually I fell into the same kind of apathy. The acting performances were all quite good, and I can never complain about a good performance from Humphrey Bogart, but I just like him better as a hero rather than a villain. I also wasn't particularly entertained by the news reel format of transition from one scene to the next. Overall I thought The Roaring Twenties was just an average film that didn't do much to impress or disappoint me. Not exactly the most ringing endorsement.
Now this one was better than The Public Enemy and just underneath White Heat. Good character collaboration, development, and evolution (or opposite of evolution).
I was really impressed and entertained by Walsh's fine gangster film, starring both Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney. It's one of the best of the fine run of gangster films Warner Brothers made in the 30's. Priscilla Lane and Gladys George were particularly good as the gangster molls Cagney wanted and ended up with, respectively. Hugely recommended for fans either of the genre or the two huge stars.
Perfectly encapsulates the struggle of the average man in the great depression era, providing impressive gangster action stringed along the way.
WB revisits the gangster genre from that magical year, 1939.
Gangster films were all the rage in the 1930s, and 'The Roaring Twenties (1939)' is another excellent Warner Brothers addition.While there were a lot of gangster films made by Warner Brothers in the 30s and very early 40s, this stands out as perhaps one of the very best. Part of this is due to the pairing of Cagney AND Bogart, as there is so much energy and excellent "thuggish" acting that it's hard to get bored watching it. About the only negative at all is that as Humphrey Bogart was not yet a breakout star, it's rather predictable what will happen in a showdown with Cagney. But despite this, watch the movie. It's got all the ingredients of a fine gangster flick--excellent acting, writing, a breezy pace and the Warner Brother's trademark of both quality and action designed for the common man. "The Roaring Twenties", though fictional in its story, is very much a historical document, inasmuch as real events drive the script's overarching themes, and steer characters into choices and situations they find themselves in. Regrettably, this film is not in the National Film Registry. It should be.