After the WWI Armistice Lloyd Hart goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett becomes a cab driver. Eddie builds a fleet of cabs through delivery of bootleg liquor and hires Lloyd as his lawyer. George becomes Eddie’s partner and the rackets flourish until love and rivalry interfere.

Also Known As: Då lagen var maktlös!, Obracun u podzemvu, Kuohuva 20-luku, Ревущие двадцатые, или Судьба солдата в Америке Soviet, I ruggenti anni venti, Бурните двадесет години, Burne dvadesete, Les fantastiques années 20, Héroes olvidados, Los violentos años veinte, Zavijajuce dvadesete, Los alegres 20, The Roaring Twenties, În umbra prohibitiei, I poli tou aimatos, The World Moves On, De, der kom tilbage, Die wilden Zwanziger West, Schaduwen uit het verleden, Lait vailla valtaa, Az alvilág alkonya, Då lagen var maktlös, Heróis Esquecidos, Die stürmischen zwanziger Jahre, Burzliwe lata dwudzieste

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  • aristoteles-spasopoulos
    aristoteles spasopoulos

    The movie was great because it depicted a time in the U.S. extremely accurately, and gave it plenty of heart. The actors and actresses did their parts very well, and the tough guys acted tough. Of particular interest to me was Gladys George, who radiated a sympathetic beauty, that no one could pass up. She deserved more parts in the movies. The story line was exciting and well mounted. James Cagney and Humphry Bogart, as usual, gave it their very best. It is a must-see movie that all Americans should experience, though it came out over sixty years ago. The Roaring Twenties will remain a classic of gangland adventure and romance as well. Rent or buy it at your earliest convenience.

  • alexandria-nicolas
    alexandria nicolas

    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.

  • zoey-webb
    zoey webb

    Masterpiece gangster action drama showcasing the 1920’s/1930’s U.S. Prohibition battles and dramas.Very good all around production and cast.Great music too.Very under rated film even though repeatedly imitated later on by countless films.This is due to much negative propaganda for this film coming from producers from later decades in an effort to hide this highly imitated masterpiece.Many more people should see this great film so they may see where Scorsase and Leone and countless other later gangster directors ripped their ideas from.Only for gangster action drama fans and big fans of the lead actors……

  • bayan-sevketfeza-nejdet-arsoy-akar
    bayan sevketfeza nejdet arsoy akar

    (Some Spoilers) With the First World War over and peace breaking out all over the world many returning GI’s were in for a big surprise when the parades and partying stopped. It was just about then that the Volstade Act, the 18th Amendment, was put into effect which opened the door to a new and very dangerous criminal element; The bootlegger and the mob who controlled him.Getting involved in the bootlegging business were ex-GI’s Eddie Bartlett & George Hally, James Cagney & Humphrey Bogart, together with Llyod Heart,Jeffrey Lynn, who being that he’s collage educated turned out to be the brains of the trio. Llyod in the end not only survived the Prohibition years but, after being a Mafia-type mouth-piece for his friend Eddie, became an assistance D.A in NY District Attorney’s Tom Dewey’s office.Eddie who really wanted to go legit in running a taxi garage, the job he left when he was drafted into the Army, found when he came marching home from the war that he wasn’t needed there anymore. Slowly drifting from one meager job to another Eddie ended up being busted for delivering, while driving a cab, a bottle or illegal gin to this nightclub singer Panama Smith, Gladys George. It was then that Eddie had his eyes opened to what the real world was all about and went full-tilt into the bootlegging business becoming one of the top moonshine operator in NYC. It was also then that Eddie met his pen-pal from the war Jean Sherman, Priscilla Lane, whom he, when she reached maturity, fell crazily in love with. It was just too bad for Eddie that Jean didn’t feel the same way about him.Things were going pretty good for Eddie as he was making big bucks delivering booze to nightclubs and speakeasy’s all over town. Eddie even got his girlfriend the very talented Jean Sherman a job as a nightclub singer at one of his customers, in receiving his booze, establishments Pete Henderson’s, Edward Keane, “The Panama Club”. It was when Eddie got hooked up with his old army buddy George Hally that things turned sour for him. Taking on Hally’s boss, known as the notorious “Spaghetti Man”, big time bootlegger Nick Brown, Paul Kelly, Eddie ended up having an outraged Brown and a couple of his hoods crash into Henderson’s nightclub, right in the middle of Jane singing “Melancholy Baby”, where both fists and gunfire was exchanged between the two! Later when Eddie’s friend Danny Green, Frank McHugh, was murdered by Brown in retaliation Eddie decided to pay him a visit at his restaurant “The Spaghetti Joint” on the East Side that lead to Brown having his last meal on earth; you guessed it a bowl of spaghetti. Unknown to Eddie it was his “friend” Hally who tipped off Brown that he was coming over but, having too much spaghetti on the brain, Brown couldn’t react fast enough to stop Eddie and his boys from plugging him and his fellow hoods.It wasn’t long that the stock market crashed and the “Roaring Twenties”, with the both partying and boozing it up, came to an abrupt end together with all the money that Eddie made during those years. The final nail on the coffin, for bootleggers like Eddie, came when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president in 1932. Roosevelt keeping a campaign promise that he’ll repeal the 18th Amendment finally had Eddie & Co. looking for a decent job but in the middle of the Great Depression jobs, decent or otherwise, were hard to find.It’s was almost by accident that Eddie, driving a cab, ran into Jean and found out to both his surprise and shock that she married his friend Llyod Hart. ***SPOILERS*** Broken hearted over the loss of Jean, to Llyod, Eddie gets a chance to redeem himself form his life of crime in later saving Llyod from being rubbed out by the Hally Mob. Eddie through Jean finds out from a couple of Hally’s, who took over the late “Spaghetti Man” Nick Brown’s operations, hoods that they got a contract out on Llyod who was about to indite their boss on murder and racketeering charges. Eddie goes to see the “Big Man”, George Hally, in order to try to talk him out of getting Llyod knocked off and prevent Jane from becoming a widow and her and Llyod’s son little Bobby, Don Thaddeus Kerr, and orphan.Spectacular conclusion with Eddie going into the lions den, Hally’s headquarters, and having it out with him and his henchmen knowing that the odds are that he wouldn’t get out alive. This after trying to talk Hally out of whacking Llyod but to no avail. Final ending on the steps of the Community Church has by now become folklore in movie history with Eddie finally finding peace in the violent world that he lived in all of his adult life.

  • meri-egoryan
    meri egoryan

    Most of the famous gangster films were made in the early part of the decade, before the infamous Production Code took all the sex and violence out of the movies, and before they figured out how to make decent movies with sound. The landmark films of the genre like “Little Caesar” and “Public Enemy” are actually kind of poorly made, by modern standards.Not so this entertaining film, it’s full of life and energy and great fun to watch. James Cagney gives a wonderful performance as a dynamic and ambitious man who goes from a barely-eating taxi driver to a gang lord, and back again. Humphrey Bogart gives one of his best pre-Casablanca villain performances, and even generic leading lady Priscilla Land is fresh and likeable.The only quibble I have with this film is it lacks the immediacy of the earlier “ripped from the headlines” films. It’s made about days that had since gone by, and owes more to earlier films than the reality of the day (post-modernism in the thirties?). Still, it’s great fun, do see it.

  • yvonne-thomas
    yvonne thomas

    “Roaring Twenties” is a very good piece. I have nothing to add to the comments posted so far. Except… I’d like to point out the “Warner Night at the Movies” part on the DVD.If you’re like me, you probably navigate to “Play Movie”, or what it’s called, in the DVD menu right away. In the case of the WB DVD of “Roaring Twenties”, you’re in for a treat if you navigate to “Warner Night at the Movies – Play all” instead. (You might want an extra fistful of popcorn :^) That somehow recreates the experience of cinema-going in 1940. You get to see a trailer for the next attraction (Each Dawn I Die), newsreel, three shorts (mini-musical All Girl Revue, mini-comedy The Great Library Misery, Tex Avery cartoon in Technicolor: Thugs with Dirty Mugs, 8/12/8 minutes) and then the real movie, all in a row. Lovely and lovingly done.The shorts are nothing very exceptional, but all listed on IMDb. What thrilled me in this approach is that you don’t just watch and think about one movie, as usual, but get a handful of assorted (but incoherent) period material. All in all, I at least felt much more “being there”.Googling tells me that Leonard Maltin has hosted more such “Warner Night at the Movies” compositions. This is the first I saw, but I’m already looking forward for more…

  • hilde-aas
    hilde aas

    After “The Great War” ends, G.I. James Cagney (as Eddie Bartlett) returns home from France. He expects to return to his old job as an automobile mechanic; however, the boss breaks a promise, and turns Mr. Cagney away. In fact, the United States is descending into economic turmoil, which will end with “The Great Depression”. Unable to make an honest living, Cagney drifts into profitable “Prohibition”-era bootlegging. Valiant speakeasy hostess Gladys George (as Panama Smith) pines for Cagney, but he only has eyes for sweet Priscilla Lane (as Jean Sherman). As the years roll along, Cagney’s trusted lawyer Jeffrey Lynn (as Lloyd Hart) falls in love with pretty Ms. Lane… Warner Brothers seems to have pulled out all the stops for “The Roaring Twenties”. Cagney, who had reached an extraordinary peak with the recently released gem “Angels with Dirty Faces”, is a marvel to watch, from beginning to end. Interestingly, after this film, Cagney sought to stop to his “gangster” image, until “White Heat” (another gem, from 1949). But, here, Cagney is still the victim of circumstances; note, he does not become a criminal due to his nature. In this film, Cagney is another “Angel”, with a environmentally influenced “dirty face”… “The Roaring Twenties” is, also, about relationships; or, to be more specific, it’s about unexciting relationships. The only believable passion Cagney’s character has is for best pal Frank McHugh (as Danny Green), who needed some more expository scenes. The one that got away, Ms. George makes the most of a poorly scripted relationship between her character and “Eddie” – this is the pairing the film really serves up short shrift.The production is “top of the line,”, but the story is neither as strong, nor as artfully told as its studio’s other “gangster” movies. Still, a star like Cagney, supporting players like Humphrey Bogart, and bit players down to Maurice Costello, make “The Roaring Twenties” purr.******* The Roaring Twenties (10/23/39) Raoul Walsh ~ James Cagney, Gladys George, Humphrey Bogart

  • ing-emilia-mielcarek-b-eng
    ing emilia mielcarek b eng

    Terrific, involving gangster film by director Raoul Walsh featuring top-notch performances led by the usual good as gold James Cagney. JC plays a good man who comes home from WWI realizing the world has changed and there is nothing there for him compared to before he went overseas. Though his introduction to the underworld is set-up without him knowing, Cags takes to the lifestyle since the best he can do is make a living as a cabbie. He fly’s to the top during prohibition falling for Priscilla Lane, the girl he brought into his nightclub to sing and who doesn’t return his affection, as well as taking Humphrey Bogart on as a partner. Lane falls for JC’s good guy lawyer Jeffrey Lynn who she eventually marries and has a child with. Along the way, Lynn has been made an assistant district attorney. With the repeal of prohibition, Cags falls on hard times and is forced back to the cabbie ranks while ex-partner Bogart rises to the top. This sets up a memorable confrontation between the two as JC tries to prevent Bogie from knocking off Lane’s lawyer husband.Some folks found this film to be slow moving but I didn’t. Sure, it doesn’t crackle with an over-abundance of energy like some of Cagney’s other gangster films but I thought it was well paced and exciting enough. Lot’s of great dialog and a nice semi-documentary style employed by the great Walsh. The performances are excellent all around and as usual, Cagney stands out but the one performance I do want to mention is that of Gladys George as Panama Smith. Her friendship and chemistry with Cagney bursts on the screen as soon as they meet and the saucy George is also tough as nails and at the ready with a great one-liner. Her toughness is at times just a mask for a soft heart and an obvious boatload of affection for Cagney’s Eddie Bartlett. It really is a memorable performance.

  • charles-maynard
    charles maynard

    The story starts from the World War I.There these guys, Eddie Bartlett, George Hally and Lloyd Hart get to know each other.After the war Lloyd goes back to practise law, former saloon keeper George turns to bootlegging and out-of-work Eddie becomes a cab driver, with the help of his cabbie friend Danny Green.Eddie pays a visit to Jean Sherman, a sweet girl who had corresponded with him during the war.The only problem is, she is just a teenager and he can’t have nothing to do with her now- but in a couple of years, sure.Then Eddie meets the owner of a speakeasy, Panama Smith.They become close friends and she introduces him in bootlegging of liquor.His war buddy George becomes his partner and Lloyd becomes his lawyer.His girl Jean and Lloyd have something going on with each other, and later they get married.Eddie’s business is blooming, until 19 October 1929- the Black Tuesday ruins everything.Eddie loses all his fame and fortune.He starts driving the cab again, and turns to booze.Raoul Walsh’ The Roaring Twenties (1939) has got a social message.It tells realistically how these men without work would turn to bootlegging during the prohibition and later lose everything they had.James Cagney, a true tough guy does a memorable job playing Eddie.He was one of the kind, and no one could do it like him.The other tough guy, Humphrey Bogart is really great as George.Bogie was on his way to big stardom, receiving only second billing then.He was known as a bad guy during those times, the hero parts came next decade.Priscilla Lane is brilliant as Jean Sherman, and she could also sing.Gladys George is terrific as Panama Smith.Jeffrey Lynn is really good as Lloyd Hart.The role of Danny Green, one of my favorites, is played by magnificent Frank McHugh.George Meeker plays Masters.John Deering is the narrator.The Roaring Twenties is a really great gangster movie, and the narration brings a documentary feel to it.The ending is highly memorable- highly tragic.The drunken Eddie kills George and gets killed himself by the gangsters on the street.Panama rushes to him and the cop comes to the scene.When the cop asks “Do You know this guy?” she replies: “Yeah, he used to be a big shot”.

  • larisa-shtepa
    larisa shtepa

    What a great old movie. A fictional story set against the backdrop of real-life America from 1918 into the 1930s Great Depression, this film exudes a wonderful nostalgic mood that recaptures that era, with its bootlegging, speakeasy, and gangster elements. Although the plot is fine for the most part, it’s the characters, the music, and the overall tone that renders the film high quality.James Cagney plays the central character, Eddie Bartlett, a young soldier returning to the States from Europe, at the end of WWI. Eddie is basically a decent guy, with a good heart. But he can’t find a job. He expresses his frustration to a friend: “I am tired Danny, tired of being pushed around, tired of having doors slammed in my face …” But recently-enacted prohibition laws create money opportunities in the illegal manufacture and selling of alcohol. Into this seedy underworld Eddie drifts, a result of circumstances and poor choices.Eddie’s change thus mirrors the country’s change, in its fixation on illegal booze, which attracts gangsters, using their guns, fists, and smarts to build wealth, en route to the stock market crash of 1929. Along the way, Eddie reunites, improbably, with two former soldier buddies, one good (played by Jeffrey Lynn), and one bad (played by Humphrey Bogart), thus completing a trinity of characters that spans the gamut of human morality.The first twenty minutes sets up the story, but it’s talky and somewhat tedious. Once we get to Henderson’s Club, the plot picks up. Indeed, the nightclub sequences are the most memorable plot elements. Enter wonderful Panama Smith (Gladys George), a kind of high-class speakeasy dame with soul, who lords over these places with style. She and Eddie develop a platonic relationship, inasmuch as Eddie is drawn to a younger woman, a singer named Jean Sherman (Priscilla Lane).The film’s overall tone is nostalgic, with its newsreel, march-of-time frame of reference, and its era songs, principally the moody “Melancholy Baby”, sung twice by Priscilla Lane. B&W lighting adds dark menace in the gangster sequences. And acting is terrific. There’s not a weak performance in the bunch.”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.

  • geronimo-valladares-mesa
    geronimo valladares mesa

    This is a great cast doing a classic gangster genre film. Director Raoul Walsh was over shadowed in 1939, but when you watch this film it is as good as any film made in this genre. James Cagney & Humphrey Bogart play bootleggers & hoods and make their portrayals very realistic.The original material this film is based on was written by a contemporary of Walter Winchell who did some excellent writing in this field. This is not you standard gangster film either. Walsh’s film departs from glorifying the gangsters by killing all the big shots by the end of the movie.A clip of Cagney from this film was used in Elton John’s Classic Diet Coke Commercial in 1992. Walsh balances the lead characters roles very well and even gets a couple of good songs from women singing in speak easy’s flowed into the story.

  • liza-le-matelot
    liza le matelot

    Sometimes I come to a film because it looks like it can directly fulfill, sometimes because it can provide precious background to other things that matter, letting them stand. It’s watchable in itself, this one; a misfit’s rise and fall played against the passing of times. Released on the cusp of WWII, it opened a portal back to more careless times, taking us on a journey from WWI trenches through the highs of Prohibition to the lows of Depression, so we could have this clear moral stance: in the new world there’s no room for scoundrels. Right.Interesting here is that only a year or two before Citizen Kane we have a similar saga about the passing of the times, but one that asks no fundamental question of us, casts no doubt on its testimony. It’s as lurid and constructed as newspaper headlines of the time, a main contrast in Welles’ film about its world-creating newspaperman. It’s machinegun history written in the staccato sounds of a newspaperman’s typewriter.What I really wanted to see though was Cagney. I am in the middle of a film noir quest looking for its machinery, and as an aside I was brought to explore its roots in 1930’s crime stuff. Cagney is a force in this niche. He had so much energy that he could turn into presence. He is not just amused, he doesn’t coast on pushing things back like Bogart; he throws himself on the encounter, bitterly cutting himself on the edges. Not so here. He was asked to play a basically decent guy led astray by the prospect of easy money, meaning to reflect the broader American endeavor that ended on Black Tuesday. Usually in a Cagney film he lets loose in the end. They asked of him here the precise opposite; he sleepwalks, numbed by failure, a human ruin clawing at redemption. He looks like he gives it his all, but it’s just not who he is. It’s as if you asked Welles to strut like Wayne. If you want to see Cagney in top form, look him up in Footlight Parade fully in command of a show, White Heat to see him face real demons.

  • michael-brooks
    michael brooks

    I got a kick out of this flick having seen in on TCM. In fact I get a kick out of all TCM movies because there are no commercials so whether you like or dislike Ted Turner, I gotta thank the man for giving us that channel and that format. It’s just like sitting in the Bijou after buying a ticket for a quarter and a box of popcorn for a dime. Those were the days. When we hear the names Cagney and Bogart,what’s taken for granted? Both were legends. Hollywood immortals whom as long as film is preserved, will never really be dead and “The Roaring Twenties” showcased the dynamic duo to the Nth degree. Bogie did not get top billing as did Jimmy however shining throughout that entire movie was unmistakable greatness yet to come from the guy with the impressive speech impediment. His villainous,conniving rotten gangster disposition was there to exploit in how many more films with him? And Cagney too was contemptible but in a nicer way-if indeed that makes any sense whatsoever. I guess I mean to write that if Cagney would shoot someone, he’d first apologize and then perhaps pay for the funeral.But when Bogie shot, his followup would be two or three more right to the gut. Regarding the story line of the film, it’s quite straightfoward. Bogie and Cagney meet as Doughboys in France in W.W.I. The war ends, a few years later the Volstead Act becomes law which gives birth to bootlegging, rival murder etc. Jimmy, who’s nuts about a gal who sings and is just out of high school is warned by his pal in booze,Bogie,that the gal is two-timing him for their lawyer and so forth and so on. A one time rock solid friendship between Cagney and Bogart disintegrate and why go on? See the film. It’s classic gangster stuff and highly enjoyable.

  • carminho-silva
    carminho silva

    This was directed by Raoul Walsh and included many of the Warner Brothers stalwarts. You’ll recognize many familiar faces if you’re an aficionado of the genre. Rip-roaring, no-nonsense stuff, it’s basically organized around three stories: (1) Cagney’s rise from unemployed ex-soldier to the top of the bootlegger heap and back again; (2) the love quadrangle involving Cagney, Gladys George as the soft-hearted blowzy Panama Smith, Priscilla Lane as the “good girl”, and Jeffrey Lynn as the lawyer; and (3) the friendship of Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and Jeffrey Lynn in the trenches, turning into a wary partnership, the eventual defection of Lynn, the ruination of Cagney, and the death by natural causes (three bullets) of treacherous, greedy, petty Bogart. According to Mark Hellinger’s story, the end of prohibition by Franklin Delano Roosevelt put an end to the gangsters. Zealous moralists, take note. The answer CAN be found in the bottom of a glass.As far as the movie is concerned, there’s nothing much not to like. You may have seen it before, sections of it, in one guise or another. Citizen Kane boosted his girl friend’s opera career, didn’t he? And as a matter of fact Cagney himself boosted Ruth Etting (Doris Day) in “Love Me or Leave Me.” And this was far from the first shootout Cagney had with treacherous ex-colleagues — or the last, for that matter. But they’re all stitched neatly together here. It should be seen if for no other reason than that it’s an almost perfect exemplar of Warner’s 1930s gangster movies. And it has a famous last line too — “He used to be a big shot,” says Panama Smith over Cagney’s corpse. Granted, it’s not, “Good-night, sweet prince, flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” It’s a classic line only because Walsh’s direction and Gladys George’s reading make it so.I rather enjoyed it. There is Priscilla Lane’s plain vanilla ice-cream beauty, Bogart’s horrifying overacting when he’s shot, Gladys George’s softly knowing brittleness, Jeffrey Lynn’s unimaginative, bourgeois impulses, and above all, James Cagney’s acting. He’s pretty good. And good at whatever emotional state he’s projecting, from doomed resignation to cocky superiority. And he’s outstanding after he falls from grace and winds up a seedy bum, haunting saloons and living in hovels that offer rooms for 15 cents a night. He realizes that his time has run out just as he’s leaving Flannagan’s Saloon, drunk, and for some reason he pauses at the piano on his way out, stares down at a half-empty glass of beer, and smiles to himself, both with sadness and relief. The shot is held for a while too. And it’s not strictly functional — a small but masterly gloss on Cagney’s character development.Well worth seeing.

  • julie-berntsen
    julie berntsen

    I think that Cagney gives one of his best performances here, as the fairly hapless Eddie, being defined by, while mirroring the times he lived through, from First World War to New Deal. The thing that sets his performance apart is the way we see him constantly struggling with the morality of his actions – especially in contrast to the psychopathic Bogart who has no such problems with inner struggles. We see this at the very beginning in the war scenes, we see it again in his rise up the bootlegger ranks, and his acceptance of the loss of the love of his life to his best friend. Finally, of course, we see it in his actions to protect the lives and life of those who have hurt him most. Cagney gives this fairly typical gangster character depth and pathos that make a very good film into a great one.

  • paula-esperanza-ricart-guerrero
    paula esperanza ricart guerrero

    Gangster films had run their course in Hollywood by the end of the 1930s. Not long after, the sub genre of the “Film Noir” would dominate the 1940s. From “Warner Bros,” “The Roaring Twenties” is one of the best films from 1939. It has Cagney and Bogart together, some catchy tunes, very good action scenes, great direction and the dialogue is just right. James Cagney plays a veteran of the First World War who struggles to secure himself a job after returning home from Europe. By a sheer accident, he becomes innocently involved in bootlegging after prohibition is in place. He soon assembles an entire empire before the stock market crash takes effect. Cagney was at the peak of his popularity and had much more of a say in his choice of films at “Warner Bros.” Bogart was still struggling to find stardom but his hard efforts were about to pay off and rather unexpectedly. As Eddie Bartlett, Cagney doesn’t deliberately turn to a life of crime by becoming a gangster or a hoodlum, he just wanted to survive after he couldn’t find a job. As a person, Eddie is rather likable and certainly more of a human being than Bogart. Gladys George does very well as the dame who gets Cagney involved with bootlegging in the first place. When times are lean for him, she sticks by him always. Frank McHugh is a welcome addition to the cast and I felt a bit sorry for him when fate came beckoning for him. I shall always enjoy this classic.

  • becky-spence
    becky spence

    Two of the most famous actors of their day – James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart – are featured here, along with two very interesting women (Priscilla Lane and Gladys George). That foursome would be fun to join anywhere.Lane is the wholesome pretty girl and George is the tough female bar owner. The latter may not look as good but she delivers the best film noir lines in the movie near the end. In addition, Jefferey Lynn is good as the clean-cut, nice-guy attorney and Frank McHugh draws laughs as Cagney’s buddy (as in real life). Paul Kelly is convincing as a hood.With this cast, you know you are going to get a well-acted movie. It moves at a good pace, too, with few lulls. The gangster language of the period was fun to hear.The first time I saw this film I was disappointed. Maybe I expected too much. On the second viewing, I throughly enjoyed it. Having a great DVD transfer on the second viewing didn’t hurt, either. It’s a nice sharp picture.

  • dorothea-jakel
    dorothea jakel

    In 1919, in the end of the World War I, the G.I. Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney) meets George Hally (Humphrey Bogart) and the student of Law School Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn) in a trench and sooner the war ends. Back in USA, Eddie is not able to find a job and is sustained by his great friend Danny Green (Frank McHugh), who offers Eddie to share his cab and make some money working as cab driver. Eddie decides to visit Jean Sherman (Priscilla Lane), who had corresponded with him during the war and is crazy about him, and for his surprise, she is a teenager. In 1920, with the 18th Amendment, the Volstead Act is in force, beginning the period of the unpopular Prohibition. Eddie accidentally meets the owner of a speakeasy Panama Smith (Gladys George), they become close friends and she introduces him in bootlegging of liquor. Eddie becomes rich, meets Jean Sherman again and falls for her. He also raises a profitable partnership with George and Lloyd is hired as his lawyer. In 1924, bootlegging has a grown from individual effort to a big business associated with corruption, violence and murder, and the light machine-gun Tommy becomes an important tool in this business. Lloyd and Jean fall in love for each other, and Eddie has a great deception. Later, on 19 October 1929 with the Black Tuesday, Eddie looses all his fortune, and when the Prohibition falls after thirteen years in force, he returns to the activity of cab driver. On the Christmas Eve, when he meets Jean again as a client of his cab, his life is leaded to a tragic end.”The Roaring Twenties” is certainly the best gangster movies I have seen together with “Once Upon a Time in America”. I have just included this stunning movie in my list of favorite films ever. It is impressive the capacity of the screenplay writers and director Raoul Walsh in developing a complex and magnificent dramatic story of crime and romance, supported by historic events and wonderful songs, in 104 minutes running time only. The cast, with James Cagney, the lovely Priscilla Lane, Gladys George and Humphrey Bogart among others, seems to be in state of grace with perfect interpretations, particularly Priscilla Lane, singing magnificent classic songs with a wonderful voice. My vote is ten.Title (Brazil): “Heróis Esquecidos” (“Forgotten Heroes”)

  • marianne-nilsson
    marianne nilsson

    “The Roaring Twenties” more or less marked the end of Warner Bros. gangster films popular during the 1930s. For the next few years WWII would form the backdrop of their action films.This one is full of action and memorable characters due largely to the presence of legendary director Raoul Walsh and its stellar cast.Three soldiers meet on the WWI battlefield in 1918. One is the all good lawyer Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn), one the thoroughly bad George Hally (Humphrey Bogart) and the third, an everyman named Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney). Eddie is smitten with a girl, Jean Sherman (Priscilla Lane) who has been corresponding with him from home.When the war ends Eddie returns to New York and hooks up with buddy Danny Green (Frank McHugh) who is a Gabie. Eddie goes to meet Jean but is disappointed to learn that she is just a teenager. Unable to find work, Eddie is forced to share the driving of Danny’s cab. In the meantime, prohibition takes effect and Eddie discovers that bootlegging is the way to get rich. At the onset he meets saloon girl Panama Smith (Gladys George) who turns out to be his only friend.Fast forward to 1924 and Eddie re-discovers Jean in a chorus line and decides to take a hand in her career. Eddie is now hopelessly in love with Jean much to the dismay of Panama. Jean however, is in love with Lloyd who has turned up as Eddie’s lawyer. One night while hijacking a load of booze from rival gangster Nick Brown (Paul Kelly), Eddie meets up with George Hally (what are the chances of that?) who works for Brown. Hally decides to double cross Brown and throw in with Eddie. All the while Eddie is buying up taxis until he has immersed a fleet of 2,000 cabs.Everything is running smoothly until Hally begins to get his own ambitions and sets up Brown to Murder Eddie. The plot fails. Meanwhile Jean leaves Eddie and runs off with Lloyd and Eddie begins to drink. At the same time come the stock market crash of 1929 and Eddie is ruined. Hally however, didn’t play the stocks and buys out Eddie’s cab business for a small figure and leaves Eddie with but one cab for himself.Eddie hits the skids along with the ever faithful Panama until Hally threatens Jean and Lloyd and………….Cagney as usual dominates the picture. He is his usual cocky Irish tough guy but with character flaws. His love for Jean ultimately is what destroys him. Lane contributes a couple of classic songs (in her own voice) as Jean. Bogart as the thoroughly evil Hally gives us a preview of the Bogart tough guy image to come in the 40s. Gladys George almost steals the picture from Cagney as the tragic Panama and McHugh is sympathetic as Danny.Oddly enough, for a gangster picture, there are no major characters in respect of crusading cops or district attorneys. All of the action is between the gangsters.Cagney would not appear in another gangster film for ten years until “White Heat” (1949).

  • clara-carrera-bustamante
    clara carrera bustamante

    The cycle of gangster movies made at Warner Brothers in the 1930s, regardless of who was in them, who directed them or how their stories panned out, all had one thing in common. They came at their audiences at breakneck pace. While their ostensible aim was to condemn violence and lawlessness, their real agenda was one of thrills, danger and nonstop action.The odd thing about The Roaring Twenties, is that there is not really a lot of action or typical gangster business in it, at least not at the beginning. Bootlegging is seen as a relatively tame activity, and criminality as something any reasonable person could slide into. There aren’t even any scenes of gangland violence until 55 minutes in. However it still has that typical crime drama speed and punch. A lot of the impact comes from the regular background-info montages, a staple at Warner Brothers but rarely done better. Most of the shots are close-ups and almost all of them feature some sharp movement, like a kind of visual roller-coaster ride. A lot of thought has gone into how each shot will fit with the next. During the montage showing the effects of prohibition, we get one shot of a car crashing straight towards the camera, followed by a quick dolly in on a row of bottles, giving a dizzying push-pull effect.Director Raoul Walsh also gives a racy feel to even the more straightforward scenes. He gets the actors constantly moving as they talk, and the camera stays tight on the action, constantly back- and- forth with the players. The first half hour is like a whistle-stop tour as we are buffeted from one scene to the next, and the dialogue is snapped out like gunfire, making up for the lack of real shooting. Even in the relatively sedate scenes towards the middle, where Cagney gets together with Priscilla Lane, Walsh still keeps a sense of nervous edginess with extras milling about in the background, with only one or two genuinely tranquil moments here and there to highlight something of importance or emotional intensity.The Warner Brothers style had its ideal star in James Cagney, and here he is the usual bundle of shrugs, twitches and cracking delivery, albeit far from his best performance. He simply slots into the general pattern of punches and wisecracks, rather than commanding the screen as he did in Angels with Dirty Faces. His love interest Priscilla Lane makes a disappointingly dull leading lady, although she does have a lot of charm and character when singing. However the best turn of The Roaring Twenties is by alternate female lead Gladys George, billed lower but with comparable screen time and oodles more screen presence. George is the perfect moll, full of vibrant personality, and yet behind her eyes you can see the great weight of sadness. Her Panama Smith is the only truly real-looking character in this drama.And this emotional strand brought in by the Gladys George character is important to The Roaring Twenties. While every gangster movie of the time finished up with the hero’s ignoble demise, perhaps none before it had such a feeling of tragedy and nostalgia. It’s no coincidence that the movie’s signature tune is “Come to me, my melancholy baby”, for this is the most poignant of all the Warner’s gangster flicks. And yet this aspect is still underdeveloped, because this is still at its roots a standard genre movie, an uncomplicated action package. It’s actually shame that in those days a picture like this had to be a certain kind of thing, because with a little more reflection and credibility The Roaring Twenties could have been a truly moving experience.

  • mariia-dakhno
    mariia dakhno

    We may just be able to chalk it all up to “Nostalgia”, but there’s no denying that the Gangster Era, Prohibition, Speak Easies and Thompson Sub-Machine guns all seem to have a place in the hearts of most Americans. Libraries and Book Stores, be they one of those big chain shops or a small, independent Out offprint dealer, all prosper if they have an ample sized shelf of those Crime related volumes on hand.So too it is with the motion picture with the Gangsters always seems to “pack ’em in.” Down through the years we’ve seen an evolution of the Gangster Genre; with the changes in both storyline and stark “realism” all coming along in direct corresponding degrees to the changes of the mores of the times. Hence we would see many different attitudes portrayed in LITTLE CEASAR with Edward G. Robinson (Warner Bros., 1931), THE PUBLIC ENEMY starring James Cagney (Warners, 1931) and Paul Muni in SCARFACE (Caddo Co./United Artists. 1932) than we would see represented in AL CAPONE with Rod Steiger (Allied Artists, 1959), THE BROTHERHOOD starring Kirk Douglas (Brotherhood Co./Paramount Pictures, 1968), Robert Mitchum in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (Paramount Pictures, 1973), just to name a few.When the great gangster pics are discussed and disgusted, it seems that Director Raoul Walsh’s THE ROARING TWENTIES (Warner Brothers, 1939) seems to get the also ran treatment of a “B” Picture or something. It is a rap that is undeserved and should have a “Mass Media Pardon”from any such a shoddy reputation.We watched it last night on Turner Classic Movies and got the pleasure of having the “kids” over, who were never exposed to it before. As for the wife and meself, it had been such a long time that it was almost like a brand new experience. The fact that TCM, like so many Cable/Satellite channels shows a picture start to finish, no commercials or interruptions whatsoever. And that alone proves to be most helpful in screening a picture.It wasn’t so long ago that the best we could do was to see a movie like this on the nightly movie. That meant our tolerating umpteen commercial breaks and many a film sans some of its footage, left out in order to fit the movie into a particular time slot and still being able to get in all those “Messages of Interest and Importance.” We recall that our local Channel, WGN TV had presented THE ROARING 20’s by starting the story with Cagney and Frank McHugh’s ride out to Mineola, Long Island, New York to visit the young girl who corresponded during the World War, Jean Shepherd (Priscilla Lane). This meant that the scenes of battle in the trenches with James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Jeffrey Lynn and their nasty Sergeant, Joe Sawyer were never seen, that night. Bogie doesn’t appear until about the halfway point. The conversations between the men made no sense without having benefit of seeing the prior encounters.And now, it’s Time for our Feature Review! OUR STORY……..THE ROARING TWENTIES is the film principally written by New York Broadway Columnist, Mark Hellinger. Like so many successful writers of great fiction, he took real people and situations and adapted them to a story, with fictitious names and made up places in New York City. Mr. Hellinger was well known as a writer about crime and was fascinated with those Damon Runyonesque Con Men, Hoods, High and Low ranking Gangsters, Hangers-on and Wannabees. He was also an incurable apologist for The Great White Way, Bagdad on the Trolley, the Big Apple, etc.The story is one of real significance to countless thousands of our “Doughboys” of the American Expeditionary Force (or A.E.F.) to war weary Europe in 1917-18. You see, this was to be “a War to end all Wars”, or a “War to make the World safe for Democracy.” Those who survived combat in the trenches returned home to a short lived Hero’s Welcome only to find out that the Country had voted itself dry in their absence. A popular song of the times asked, “How you gonna keep ’em down on the Farm now that they’ve seen Paris? (Pronounced Pair-ee!).Lost jobs, an almost universal contempt for Prohibition and the general let down over the Wars failed mission ushered in “the Jazz Age”, Flappers, Hip Flasks, Speak Easies and “Bath Tub Gin.” The otherwise Law Abiding were corrupted with a giant case of “When in Rome…” or “Everybody’s doing it” logic. As time passed, what had started out as a seemingly harmless participation in a highly unpopular, unfair and even Un-Constitutional Prohibition Law in the Volstead Act, became an Urban Civil War over sales and control of Booze in the various designated territories.Some fortunes were made and some were lost as the decade came to nearing its end with the Great Stock Market Crash, on “Black Tuesday”, October 29, 1929. The trumpeting herald had sounded as the signal of the beginning of some years of Economic Hardship of the Grerat Depression.Mr. Hellinger’s characters vividly portray the convulsions that the Country faced. Those, who once again were based on real life Bootleggers, Rum Runners, etc. were handily portrayed by the Warner Brothers stock company of players headed up by Mr. Cagney, Bogie, Jeffrey Lynn, Priscilla Lane, Gladys George, Frank McHugh, Elizabeth Risdon, Joe Sawyer, Dick Wessel, Ben Welden, Paul Kelly, John Hamilton, Abner Biberman and a cast of thousands! Mark Hellinger’s story served as a fictionalized kaleidoscope of the bizarre events of American History during a 13 year period of time sandwiched into those years between the two great World Wars. By way of the drama, Hellinger tries his best to offer us perhaps not any excuses for the bad behaviour, but rather the reasons.

  • danny-galvan
    danny galvan

    Not as well remembered as “Little Caesar” or “Public Enemy,” “The Roaring Twenties” is the culmination of a decade’s worth of Warner Brothers gangster films. It was also James Cagney’s last tough guy role at the studio for almost a decade.Cagney is criticized by some in this one for not packing the cinematic punch he did in “Public Enemy” or “White Heat.” But this film was the brain child of former Broadway columnist Mark Hellinger and was written as almost an ode to the Damon Runion-like characters Hellinger knew when he prowled the great white way during the 20s. Hellinger was a regular at the famous El Fey club and friend of Texas Guinan, the wild saloon hostess who personified the twenties. Cagney’s good/bad guy character, Eddie Bartlett, was in fact based on Larry Fay, the cab driver turned bootlegger who opened the El Fey and hired Guinan as his hostess. Fay is also believed to have been one of the inspirations for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Bartlett is meant to symbolize,not a psychotic criminal, but more the social confusion that resultedfrom the passage of a highly unpopular law meant to regulate character,which wound up having the absolute opposite effect, spawning an era of lawlessness.Although Cagney dominates every scene he is in, the more ominous gangster in the film is played by Humphrey Bogart in one of his best performances prior to assuming character roles in the late 40s. His trigger happy hood was probably fashioned after Owen “Ownie the Killer” Madden, the bootlegger who bought into Harlem’s Cotton Club and formed a loose alliance with Fay.Strong supporting work comes from Gladys George, who plays Panama Smith, the Texas Guinan character.This picture is slick, well produced, uniformly well acted under the direction of action specialist Raoul Walsh and features some great Cagney stick. When he exploded on screen, there was no one like him.

  • belova-svetlana-ilinichna
    belova svetlana ilinichna

    After nearly a decade of concentrating on the gangster period of the twenties, it appeared that Warner Brothers had decided to make one, final glorified kiss-off to the genre in the spectacularly staged “The Roaring Twenties.” Director Raoul Walch was an odd choice for what turned out to be a first-rate action film, for Walsh was not normally a crime-film director… The film contained every possible cliché connected with the era… Bogart’s portrayal was interesting as we watched him coldly murder an ex-army sergeant who had given him a rough time in the service, and then set put to get rid of Jeffrey Lynn, now a successful lawyer working for the district attorney and intent on crushing Bogart’s empire… Cagney, whose energy gave him a panerotic sexual magnetism, was evident with his two relationships which both tend to increase our valuation of Cagney as a person as are the two ladies involved: Priscilla Lane, the innocent whom Cagney helps and loves, and the experienced Gladys George who is evidently devoted to him but never expresses her feelings to him… This basic relationship between Cagney and the two female characters does not take away the great merit of “The Roaring Twenties”—much more it proves the skill of Raoul Walsh and the writers in deploying conventional elements in an effective and meaningful way

  • belov-khariton-anufrievich
    belov khariton anufrievich

    It is not as centrally dynamic as THE PUBLIC ENEMY nor as Freudian as WHITE HEAT, but THE ROARING TWENTIES is a leading gangster film for Jimmy Cagney as it details the rise and fall of a gangster Eddie Bartlett. The product of World War I and Prohibition, Eddie rises to great power as the head of a gang, always trying to return to legitimate society, and then to fall again due to the Wall Street Crash and the machinations of his right-hand man George Hally (Humphrey Bogart). Both men’s characters are far more subtle as studies of success in criminal enterprise than the normal crime bosses of the 1930s. Eddie painstakingly builds up a taxicab corporation to gain legitimacy, as well as his stock acquisitions. Bogart, a bit more realistic on what types of businesses he understands, does not get involved in the stock market. But he enjoys the trappings of the upper class. Witness the scene when he is talking with his underling (Abner Biberman) and he is practicing his putting in his office. At the conclusion, Bogart is living in a townhouse (a sign of his financial success).There is a tradition in the films of the depression that some gangsters are not as bad as others. This is not to be taken seriously in real life, but the idea is that certain people are driven to crime by economic circumstances (Cagney returning to no job at the end of World War I) and some are driven by pure evil (the sadistic side of Bogart’s nature). Cagney, on his rise, gains the friendship of people like Gladys George (actually the unrequited love of Ms George) and tries to find room in his organization for people like Frank McHugh, a nice guy who really never fit in properly as a criminal – and dies as a result. Bogart gains the support of like villains (Bibberman, who shares Bogie’s fate at the end), and keeps showing a contempt for human life in most of the film (witness how he kills a cop on one of the rum runners he and Cagney are on, because the cop was once his sergeant in the army who punished him for breaking the rules when he did). But Cagney turns out to have more guts in him than Bogie. At the end of the film the latter, facing his own demise, turns into a total coward.The film has many touches to set the tone of the 21 years it covers (1918 – 1939). At the start newsreel footage takes the audience back to the end of World War I, showing Presidents and events up to Wilson (who, curiously enough, is shown by an actor playing the President, not as part of an old film). It has been noted that Gladys George’s Panama is based on Texas Guinan, the speakeasy hostess. The death of Cagney on the steps of a church is based on the death of Hymie Weiss, a Chicago gangster rival of Capone who was killed that way in 1927. It was too good a death to not use in a gangster film, as it seems more symbolic than it was in real life (it does remind us of how Cagney, for all his good intentions, came up short due to his profession in violence).I have not commented on the love triangles involving Cagney, Jeffrey Lynn, and Priscilla Lane (and Cagney, Lane, and Gladys George). The irony that Cagney never sees that George is more than just a good friend is rather poignant, for both of them. And it is George who cradles his dead body in the end and gives his epitaph. Perhaps today a director would allow Cagney to wise up and get away with George. But that would spoil the full effect of the film’s conclusion.

  • bruno-abramczuk
    bruno abramczuk

    It is hard to believe so many truly great films were made in 1939, and I can only guess that the sheer volume of excellent pix from that year is the only reason why THE ROARING TWENTIES does not have truly major classic status. 1939 seems to be cluttered with a plethora of cinematic riches, thus burying this astonishing and entertaining crime film. I also have been roaring (with laughter) at some of the astonishing silly comments also on this film’s viewer comments page: from: “Blondell’s haircut is worth the price of a ticket” (Joan Blondell is not in this film, sweetie, read the credits!) – to ‘”Another MGM gem”…hello? pal, the opening of the film has a great big shield with WB stamped on it followed by “Warner Bros Presents”. Almost everyone commenting then proceeds to tell the whole story, each one after each one as thought they are the only person writing a comment. Yeesh. I am the only person who firstly reads what is already there in order to NOT duplicate plot points or characters or the same old same old same old? For genuine long lasting flabbergastering I prefer the movie’s solid direction by Raoul Walsh the sensational crackling screenplay by Mark Hellinger and Jerry Wald and mostly the truly major performance by James Cagney. This role and it’s ride is possibly the best I have ever seen from him, especially in the latter scenes on skid-row. It’s a very mean cruel story with Bogart’s jawdropping viciousness several points above censorship rulings – all thankfully intact and now in crisp DVD clarity. The production values are equally solid well decorated nightclubs and houses and rooms and very believable and expansive sets and scenes – especially in the WW1 intro. Yes it even has a terrific Citizen Kane style march of time newsreel tone and urgency. This is a genuine gangster masterpiece and well worth finding and sharing with other vintage WB (not MGM) crime buffs. THE ROARING TWENTIES deserves to be one of the most famous gangster films for everyone of its plot, acting , character and production qualities – they are all there on show. I would love to know the budget and the box office. I know the film was a big hit but exactly how big? It deserved to be massive. Also, the best saddest role of a lifetime to the superb and endearing Gladys George as Panama. As if everything else wasn’t perfect enough! This film is a collectors must-have. If remade today, it would be exactly the same, such is it’s timeless tone and production. In fact it is had to believe it was made 20 years earlier than SOME LIKE IT HOT. Both films look identical. Don’t waste another day, put THE ROARING TWENTIES top of your must see list.