The Public Enemy Review

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Two Irish boys, Tom and Matt, grow up on the wrong side of Chicago and end up the meanest, baddest gansters around. Women, money and fear are their's but rejection by his brother and mother hits Tom hard.


"I'll bring you the toughest, most violent picture you ever did see." So ran the pitch director William Wellman put to Hollywood mogul Darryl Zanuck of this classic gangster chronicle. And he was right. By showing kids growing into brutal hoodlums during prohibition America, Public Enemy broke all the rules.

Its feral, amoral depiction of crime is still a benchmark in the gangster genre. And when swaggering James Cagney squashes that grapefruit in Mae Clarke's nose, you have one of the iconic images of American cinema.

Still a classic of the gangster genre, showing neither glorifying the life nor pulling it's punches.