Angels With Dirty Faces

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Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 26th November 1938

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: First National Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 20

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew



Starring: as Rocky Sullivan, Pat O'Brien as Jerry Connolly, as James Frazier, as Laury Ferguson, as Mac Keefer, The 'Dead End' Kids as The 'Dead End' Kids, as Soapy, as Swing, Leo Gorcey as Bim, Gabriel Dell as Pasty, Huntz Hall as Crab, Bernard Punsly as Hunky, Joe Downing as Steve, Edward Pawley as Edwards, Adrian Morris as Blackie

Angels With Dirty Faces Review

Casablanca director Michael Curtiz turned in this pioneering entry in 1938 -- part of the budding street urchin genre that posed the question of what society would do with its troubled kids. Starring the Dead End Kids (a group of hooligans akin to the Litle Rascals, only meaner), their story is filtered through the eyes of two men. Rocky (James Cagney in another career-defining gangster performance) is fresh out of jail and back on the streets where he hopes to make some cash. Father Jerry (Pat O'Brien) is a priest and boyhood friend of Rocky's, who's managed to turn toward the path of good. Oh, and Humphrey Bogart makes an appearance as a scheming attorney through into the mix.

How these three men interrelate is the main story line, while the hijinks of the kids stands as a continuous backdrop to the action. Sometimes it's fierce, but just as often it's plodding and uninspiring. The underlying social commentary -- how children can turn good or bad depending on how they are raised, a controversial idea in the 1930s -- doesn't get much of a chance to shine, which may be a problem of too many stars, too many precocious child actors, and not enough legroom for all of them to stretch.

The DVD includes countless extras, including a historical commentary, a radio play, and a Leonard Maltin-hosted collection of archival media.

Time to wash up.


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Angels With Dirty Faces Rating

" Good "