Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Public Enemy
  • Alternative view 1 of The Public Enemy
  • Alternative view 2 of The Public Enemy

The Public Enemy

5.0 1
Director: William Wellman

Cast: James Cagney, Edward Woods, Donald Cook


See All Formats & Editions

Warner Home Video has scored big with this DVD release of The Public Enemy. For starters, the 1931 movie has been newly transferred from an archival print that contains three scenes that were deleted from all showings subsequent to the year of release -- thus, just watching the disc will be a new experience for virtually any fan of the movie or of James


Warner Home Video has scored big with this DVD release of The Public Enemy. For starters, the 1931 movie has been newly transferred from an archival print that contains three scenes that were deleted from all showings subsequent to the year of release -- thus, just watching the disc will be a new experience for virtually any fan of the movie or of James Cagney's work. The 85-minute movie has been given a generous 23 chapters, and the full-screen (1.33:1) image puts even the late '80s laserdisc edition to shame. Additionally, it comes with a commentary track by Robert Sklar that's a thorough, enjoyable, and informative account of the movie's production and background, and its influence on Hollywood and popular culture. The documentary featurette "Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public," which includes extensive commentary by Martin Scorsese, among others, makes a perfect companion to the commentary track. And the disc has been filled out with chronologically and thematically related short subjects, cartoons (the very Disney-like "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile"), and newsreels from the Warner Bros. library, all of which -- including the trailer for the Cagney vehicle Blonde Crazy -- are more entertaining than the usual filler of this sort. The disc opens automatically on an easy-to-use multi-layer menu, with the "play" option for the movie in the default position.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Matthew Johnson
America's love affair with the cowboys and desperadoes of the Old West -- fodder of so many hits in the silent era -- is transferred to the urban environment for the 1931 classic The Public Enemy. We meet Tom Power (James Cagney) and his pal Matt Doyle (Edward Woods) as Chicago street urchins who grow from young hoodlums to mob enforcers during prohibition. Raised in the school of hard knocks by a fence known as Putty Nose (Murray Kinnell), Matt and Tom hit the big time with bootlegger Paddy Ryan (Robert Emmett O'Connor). Swinging into the high society of the criminal element, Tom falls for a beautiful girl named Kitty (Mae Clarke) but can't stay put and quickly moves on to the even greater temptation of Gwen Allen (Jean Harlow). Tom's doting Ma (Beryl Mercer) turns a blind eye to his career, but his war-hero brother Mike (Donald Cook) is furious and sees that nothing good can come of Tom's life. The Public Enemy, directed by William Wellman (The Ox-Bow Incident), is perhaps the best of Hollywood's early celebrations of the criminal entrepreneurial spirit -- and, of course, Mike is there as a one-man banner for American truism. For, ultimately, crime does not pay, but boy all that opulence and gunplay sure is fun for a while!
All Movie Guide
One of the great pre-Production Code gangster films, William Wellman's The Public Enemy made James Cagney a star, providing him with his defining role: Tom Powers, a bitter Chicago gangster driven to a tragic end. Like its contemporaries Little Caesar and Scarface, The Public Enemy was surprisingly ambitious in its examination of the social causes that drive young men into a life of crime, closely examining the allure of street gangs to working-class youths. Although the film goes to great lengths to claim that it does not glamorize criminal activity -- providing a moralistic introduction and conclusion designed to ward off censorship -- many powerful people felt otherwise, and the film's notoriety helped install the more draconian Production Code of 1934. The film's mixed message occurs largely because Cagney is so charismatic an antihero, especially compared to his straight-arrow brother, played woodenly by Donald Cook. Though the film is sometimes visually static, a common problem given the constraints of early sound cinema, it remains bracing and brutal, filled with an air of menace and hopelessness. It features talented newcomers Jean Harlow and Joan Blondell, but its most (in)famous scene -- a shocking episode in which Cagney smashes a grapefruit into his moll's face -- features the little-known Mae Clarke.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Full Frame]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1931 with newsreel, comedy short "The Eyes Have It," cartoon "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile," and theatrical trailers; New featurette "Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public"; Commentary by film historian Robert Sklar; 1954 rerelease forward

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Cagney Tom Powers
Edward Woods Matt Doyle
Donald Cook Mike Powers
Joan Blondell Mamie
Jean Harlow Gwen Allen
Beryl Mercer Ma Powers
Robert E. O'Connor Paddy Ryan
Leslie Fenton Nails Nathan
Murray Kinnell Putty Nose
Russell Powell Bartender
Landers Stevens Doctor
Buddy Burroughs Dutch
Nanci Price Little Girl
Mae Clarke Kitty
Mia Marvin Jane
Snitz Edwards Hack Miller
Rita Flynn Molly Doyle
Frank Coghlan Tom As A Boy
Frankie Darro Matt as a Boy
Sam McDaniel Black Headwaiter
Helen Parrish Little Girl
Purnell Pratt Officer Powers
George Daly Machine Gunner
Douglas Gerrard Assistant tailor
Dorothy Gray Little Girl
Ben Hendricks Bugs Moran
Eddie Kane Joe, the Headwaiter
Lee Phelps Steve, the Bartender
William Strauss Pawnbroker
Charles Sullivan Mug
Adele Watson Mrs. Doyle
Robert E. Homans Officer Pat Burke

Technical Credits
William Wellman Director
Harry Barris Songwriter
John Bright Original Story,Screenwriter
Gordon Clifford Songwriter
Kubec Glasmon Original Story,Screenwriter
Devereaux Jennings Cinematographer
John W. Kellette Songwriter
Jean Kenbrovin Songwriter
Earl Luick Costumes/Costume Designer
Ed McCormick Editor
Edward McDermott Editor
David Mendoza Musical Direction/Supervision
Max Parker Art Director
Edward Stevenson Costumes/Costume Designer
Harvey Thew Screenwriter
Perc Westmore Makeup
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits. [1:55]
2. Two Young Toughs. [3:10]
3. Strap to Swag. [4:47]
4. Big Job. [3:10]
5. Bad Company. [3:56]
6. Friends of Paddy. [3:06]
7. Brothers at Odds. [3:49]
8. Prohibition Partners. [5:05]
9. Lady Killers. [4:13]
10. Nails Nathan's Crew. [5:18]
11. Beer and Blood. [5:26]
12. Grapefruit at Breakfast. [2:31]
13. Gwen Allen. [3:06]
14. The Nose Is Familiar. [3:38]
15. Payback. [3:19]
16. Blood Money. [2:10]
17. Love You to Death. [4:12]
18. Gangland Wars. [5:34]
19. Coal and Lead. [3:59]
20. I Ain't So Tough. [3:27]
21. Hospital Reunion. [3:18]
22. Kidnapped. [2:09]
23. Homecoming. [2:26]


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was the best movie ever. When you see this movie for the first time you will be BLOWN away! I highly recommend this to anyone who loves ganster classics or just classic movies peiod.