The speakeasy era never roared louder than in this gangland chronicle that packs a wallop under action master Raoul Walsh's direction. Against a backdrop of newsreel-like montages and narration, it follows the life of jobless war vetran Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney) who turns bootlegger, dealing in 'bottles instead of battles'. Battles await eddie within and without his growing empire. Outside are territorial feuds and gangland bloodlettings. Inside is the treachery of double-dealing associate (Humphrey Bogart). It would be 10 years before Cagney played another gangster (in White Heat), a time in which gangster movies themselves became rare. 'He used to be a big shot'. Panama Smith (Gladys Goerge) says at the finale, marking Bartlett's demise... and signalling the end of Hollywood's focus on the gangster era.