Two boyhood pals, now a parish priest and a hardened criminal, find themselves at odds when the thug returns to his old neighborhood. O’Brien already has his hands full keeping the Dead End Kids out of trouble and now that they idolize Cagney his good works may come to nothing.
The New York Mirror called it “A rousing, bloody, brutal melodrama.” whilst Leslie Halliwell considered it “a shrewd, slick entertainment package and a seminal movie for all kinds of reasons. It combined gangster action with fashionable social conscience; it confirmed the Dead End Kids as stars; it provided archetypal roles for its three leading players and catapulted the female lead into stardom. It also showed the Warner style of film-making. all cheap sets and shadows, at its most effective.”
Comedian Lenny Bruce parodied Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) and the characters played by Pat O’Brien and James Cagney with his famous Father Flotsky “routine.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Actor: James Cagney; Best Director; Best Original Story.
Cast: James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, Humphrey Bogart, The Dead Fnd Kids, Ann Sheridan. George Bancroft, Edward Pawley,
Director: Michael Curtiz
Producer: Samuel Bischoff
Original Story: Roland Brown
Director of Photography: Sol Polito
Editor: Owen Marks
Composer: Max Steiner
Screenwriters: Warren Duff, John Wexley
Production Designer: Robert M. Haas
USA / Warner Bros. / 99 minutes / 1938