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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 August 2006
i adore this is without a doubt my favourite cagney movie ever.. James Cagney portrays his character in a way that always wants me to feel sorry for him. Rocky Sullivan may well be one of his most famous roles and you only have to watch this to see why. i have never ever seen an actor playing a gangster with such class as i have seen with cagney. i find him brilliant and unmatched even today in the world of a-list millionaire celebrities.i always reach for this film if i wake up around four thirty on a saturday morning and find i can't sleep, and after watching it i feel i can face the day fully. you will understand when you watch the film and maybe you too will fall in love with James Cagney just like me.
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on 25 January 2001
Cagney and O'Brien grow up together, rob a train - Cagney is caught, O'Brien escapes. Years later they meet up again, with Cagney now a hardened criminal, O'Brien a catholic priest. The priest aims to keep the local youths - the "dead end kids" out of trouble, but they worship Cagney's character "Rocky Sullivan". Eventually the father leads a press campaign against Sullivan, climaxing in a gunfight. Sullivan prepares to go to the electric chair when he old friend asks him to pretend to be afraid, so as to break the hero-worship of the kids, before they to end up like him.
Brilliant - superb scenes, classic Cagney. The end sequence is eternal and unforgettable. The recent "Sleepers" tried a similar theme but didn't even come close.
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on 5 November 2006
James Cagney was one of America's greatest actors, and this film is one of his best, building up to a climax which is unforgettable. I watched it on TV nearly three decades ago and this DVD edition brought it back, just as powerfully. A morality tale for the 1930s, it is still watchable today.

Highly recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 February 2011
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "ANGEL WITH DIRTY FACES" (1938) (95 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, George Bancroft, Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan & Leo Gorcey

Directed by Michael Curtiz

Childhood chums Rocky Sullivan (James Cagney) and Jerry Connelly (Pat O'Brien) grow up on opposite sides of the fence: Rocky matures into a prominent gangster, while Jerry becomes a priest, tending to the needs of his old tenement neighborhood. Rocky becomes a hero to a gang of teenaged boys (played by Dead End Kids Billy Halop, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, Bobby Jordan and Bernard Punsley). Father Jerry despairs at this, asking Rocky leave them alone so he can keep the kids on the straight and narrow. Then Rocky's crooked business associates Mac Keefer (George Bancroft) and James Frazier (Humphrey Bogart) attempt to end Father Jerry's radio campaign against the rackets by killing the priest. Rocky whose cynical outlook on life has been softened by his romance with true-blue Laury Ferguson (Anne Sheridan) decides its time to challenge his associates and safe-guard Jerry.

Oscar Nominations for Best Actor (Cagney), Best Director (Michael Curtiz) & Best Writing

Humphrey Bogart meets The Dead End Kids again, after a similar tough-guy role opposed to the boys in "Dead End" (1937)

1. Michael Curtiz [aka: Manó Kertész Kaminer] [Director]
Date of Birth: 24 December 1886 - Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)
Date of Death: 10 April 1962 - Hollywood, California

2. James Cagney [aka: James Francis Cagney]
Date of Birth: 17 July 1899 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 30 March 1986 - Stanfordville, New York

3. Pat O'Brien
Date of Birth: 11 November 1899 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Date of Death: 15 October 1983 - Santa Monica, California

4. Humphrey Bogart
Date of Birth: 25 December 1899 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 14 January 1957 - Los Angeles, California

5. Ann Sheridan
Date of Birth: 21 February 1915 - Denton, Texas
Date of Death: 21 January 1967 - Los Angeles, California

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 95 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (01/25/2005)
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VINE VOICEon 3 January 2006
James Cagney stars in one of the most memorable films of all time.Bringing his criminal character to life with fine acting.Pat O'Brien and the Dead End kids provide the perfect foil for Cagney.You couldn't watch this film without wanting to watch it again.Buy it and enjoy!
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on 13 November 2013
Has a message with in and a good educational tool for the teens of today James Cagney shows his acting skills to the full could do with being digitally reproduced as it is black and white with some evidence of grain, was expensive at around £10 but very entertaining would recommend
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on 30 March 2009
This bears the hallmarks of quite a lavish Warner Bros. production - in some of the scenes the extras are numbered in their hundreds, and there is somewhat more location shooting than the norm for the day - and the combination of a fine director (Michael Curtiz) and the sensational James Cagney can hardly go wrong.

It marries two film genres, the gangster movie and the social comment picture, and does it pretty well, though at times a touch of sentimentality, mostly to do with the priest (Pat O'Brien) detracts from the tough gangster element; I believe that films about boyhood pals who take a different turning in life were popular in the Thirties.

The film falls into three sections which to my mind succeed in varyinbg degrees. The opening section dealing with Rocky's adolescence and early criminal career are solidly scripted and played, but I felt that the succeeding section as Rocky emerges from prison and attempts to reassert himself was a little limp in comparison. The scenes involving Humphry Bogart and his associates fail to rise above standard cops-and-robbers fare, and the Dead End Kids were probably much more to the taste of thirties than contemporary audiences; their scenes in their Fagin-like dugout and the gym drag somewhat.

But then the film suddenly moves into top gear in the final third; it becomes taut, gripping and brilliantly directed in the grand Film Noir tradition. The shoot-out is violent but balletic as Cagney swoops from room to room and roof to roof, an angel of death, and filmed in great contrasts of light and shade. The culminating famous final moments are powerful and touching, and devoid of sentimentality.

Curtiz handles the crowd scenes throughout with wonderful skill. Ann Sheridan as Cagney's girl is convincingly acerbic but affectionate. Pat O'Brien as the priest is the weak link; here the script lacks bite, but even though O'Brien has the misfortunate to be paired with the electric Cagney in most of his scenes, he still lacks impact. Of Cagney what can one say, other than that for sheer burning energy, even when doing nothing, he stands apart from all but a handful of actors? I see that Orson Welles said of Cagney that he "was maybe the greatest actor to ever appear in front of a camera".
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on 7 February 2011
I looked this movie up after seeing it numerous times on Home Alone and got VERY curious about it.
Its a brilliant tale of repentance that has a wealth of charm and wit about it. I found it a little long in parts (but i did watch it late at night) but the technical aspects are very impressive for the time and the writing is superb. ((Watch out for the scene with the jar of pickels, i had to rewind a couple of times to figure out why it looks so cool.))
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on 25 June 2015
This was a Chinese version of the film. The cover was in Chinese and the film was also spoken in Chinese and had English sub titles. This also arrived late and I had to contact the seller after Christmas. This was supposed to be a Christmas present for my hubby but it was totally disappointing.

Also seems a cheap copy.
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By comparison with Dead End, the 'Dead End Kids' first feature, Angels with Dirty Faces seems much less visually imaginative when watched side by side despite the not too shabby combination of Michael Curtiz directing and Sol Polito lensing, but it's still great entertainment. It's crusading drama Warner Bros. style, which means more tough stuff alternating with more schmaltz to make it go down easier with the censors, but it's a tried-and-tested formula that works well. Bogart and the Dead End Kids may have crossed the street to the Warners lot, but it's Cagney's show all the way as the gangster with the devil on one shoulder and Pat O'Brien's boyhood friend turned priest on the other. Kudos to Frankie Burke, though, for his amazing performance as the young Cagney, one of the greatest pieces of inventive mimicry in the movies. And who can resist that last line?
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