Rent Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

3.9 of 5 from 135 ratings
1h 33min
Rent Angels with Dirty Faces Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Off-screen pals James Cagney and Pat O'Brien teamed for the sixth time in this enduring gangster classic. Cagney's Rocky Sullivan is a charismatic ghetto tough whose underworld rise makes him a hero to a gang of slum punks. O'Brien is Father Connolly, the boyhood chum-turned-priest who vows to end Rocky's influence. Other ace talents join them: Humphrey Bogart as a scheming lawyer, Ann Sheridan as Rocky's hard-edged girlfriend and the Dead End Kids as worshipful street urchins, all ably directed by Michael Curtiz.
, , , , , The 'Dead End' Kids, , , , , , , , , , , , , , Harris Berger
John Wexley, Warren Duff
Rowland Brown
Release Date:
Run Time:
93 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, French Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
Arabic, Bulgarian, Dutch, English, English Hard of Hearing, French, Italian, Italian Hard of Hearing, Romanian
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
B & W
  • Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1938 with Newsreel, Musical Short Out Where the Stars Begin, Cartoon Porky and Daffy
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • New Featurette Angels with Dirty Faces: Whaddya Hear? Whaddya Say
  • Commentary by Film Historian Dana Polan

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Reviews (2) of Angels with Dirty Faces

Stupendous Cagney - Angels with Dirty Faces review by PT

Spoiler Alert

Cagney and O'Brien are childhood friends on the wrong side of the law, rumbled on a crime the youngsters flee, only for the slower of the wrongdoers (Cagney) to be caught and sent to juvenile detention.

Fast forward to the pair as adults and their chosen paths. Rocky is a major criminal and Jerry is a priest, namely father Connely. The father has a bunch of wanna be kid gangsters under his wing, who he is trying to guide onto life's right road. The trouble is they hero worship his old friend Rocky for all the wrong reasons.

Rocky tries to help the father a with his good causes by throwing money around like confetti, which of course the father rejects on moral grounds. But, is there a way that a reluctant Rocky could help in a bigger way? An absolute classic.

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Classic Gangster - A Must See - Angels with Dirty Faces review by GI

Spoiler Alert

One of the great classic gangster movies of the 1930s and which caused such a furore over the 'hero' status given to criminals resulting in the Production Code insisting such films didn't give the main character a good ending. Indeed this film takes the hero worship theme and uses it as the centre of the story. James Cagney, an actor forever associated with the gangster genre although he strongly regretted it (he was in fact a very accomplished song & dance performer), plays Rocky Sullivan, a violent racketeer. The narrative follows the lives of him and his best friend Jerry (Pat O'Brien - he made nine films with Cagney). As boys Rocky is caught pilfering whilst Jerry manages to escape resulting in their lives going in two opposing directions. Jerry becomes a community priest while Rocky rises through the ranks of the underworld. Years later when Rocky returns to his old neighbourhood Jerry hopes to turn him away from crime but the local street kids begin to look up to Rocky and Jerry is forced to turn against him. This is quite a hard edged film, violent for its time and looking critically at the issue of glorifying criminals in American society. It's also a story of friendship, community and corruption with a deeply moral ending that even today raises questions about whether Rocky finds redemption or is revealed as a born coward. Either way this is a superb film, a real classic and very entertaining, exciting and with a brilliant reconstruction of New York in the 1920s. With Ann Sheridan, Humphrey Bogart and George Bancroft in supporting roles. A film every film fan should see at least once.

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