Fascinating and brutally realistic, THE PUBLIC ENEMY, along with LITTLE CAESAR, BAD COMPANY, and SCARFACE, set the pattern for the gangster films of the 1930s. It also made a star of its volatile leading man, James Cagney, and confirmed director William Wellman as a major force in
The film opens with two young Irish boys, Tom (Frank Coghlan) and Matt (Frankie Darro), growing up in the shantytown South Side of Chicago, circa 1909, and learning a life of crime from Putty Nose (Kinnell), a fence. As adults, Tom (now played by Cagney) and Matt (Woods) move into robbery but, on
a warehouse heist, a panicky Tom fires his gun needlessly and the police descend...