Films The Best 1930s Gangster Movies  

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189 votes 77 voters 3.1k views 29 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite gangster films that were released in the 1930s.

Thirteen years of Prohibition had an unexpected result; the creation of a new film genre, the gangster movie. The films on this list of 30s gangster movies tell the stories of hoodlums and rum-runners who make and lose fortunes based on selling illegal alcohol.

Among the best 30s gangster movies are: Little Caeser, Scarface, and Angels with Dirty Faces. During this period the genre was dominated by three stars, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, each of whom is well-represented on this list of good 30s gangster movies. After you take a look, let us know who you like better Cagney or Bogart or Robinson? And, which are your favorites on this 1930s gangster film list? Vote up the top gangster movies from the 30s or add any that we might have missed.

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Scarface Jean Harlow, Boris Karloff, Paul Muni Scarface is a 1932 American gangster film starring Paul Muni, produced by Howard Hughes and Howard Hawks, directed by Hawks and Richard Rosson, and based on Armitage Trail's 1929 novel of the ...more

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Little Caesar Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Little Caesar is a 1931 Warner Bros. Pre-Code crime film that tells the story of a hoodlum who ascends the ranks of organized crime until he reaches its upper echelons. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy ...more

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White Heat is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 1930s Gangster Movies
horseplayer added White Heat James Cagney, Edmond O'Brien, Virginia Mayo White Heat is a 1949 film noir starring James Cagney, Virginia Mayo and Edmond O'Brien and featuring Margaret Wycherly and Steve Cochran. Directed by Raoul Walsh from the Ivan Goff and Ben ...more

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Angels with Dirty Faces Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Ann Sheridan Angels with Dirty Faces is a 1938 American gangster film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, the Dead End Kids and Humphrey Bogart, along with Ann Sheridan and ...more

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The Roaring Twenties Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Frank McHugh The Roaring Twenties is a 1939 crime thriller starring James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart and Gladys George. The epic movie, spanning the periods between 1919 and 1933, was directed ...more

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Blonde Crazy James Cagney, Joan Blondell Blonde Crazy is a 1931 film by Roy Del Ruth, starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Louis Calhern, Ray Milland, and Guy Kibbee famous for Cagney's line, "That dirty, double-crossin' ...more

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Lady Killer James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Raymond Hatton Lady Killer is a 1933 film starring James Cagney, Mae Clarke, and Margaret Lindsay, based on the story "The Finger Man" by Rosalind Keating Shaffer. The picture was directed by Roy Del

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G Men James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Barton MacLane G Men is a 1935 Warner Bros. crime film starring James Cagney, Ann Dvorak, and Margaret Lindsay, and presenting Lloyd Nolan's film debut. According to Variety Magazine, the movie was one of the ...more

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The Little Giant Edward G. Robinson, Mary Astor, Shirley Grey The Little Giant is a 1933 film directed by Roy Del Ruth.

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City Streets Gary Cooper, Sylvia Sidney, Paul Lukas City Streets is a 1931 American crime film noir directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Gary Cooper, Sylvia Sidney and Paul Lukas. Based on a story by Dashiell Hammett, this Pre-Code crime ...more

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Broadway to Cheyenne John Elliott, Harry Semels, Marceline Day Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Broadway to Cheyenne is a 1932 American Western film directed by Harry L. Fraser. The film is also known as From Broadway to Cheyenne. The film successfully combines the Western with the ...more

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I Am a Fugitive from a Chain G... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 1930s Gangster Movies
David Herman added I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Preston Foster I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is an American Pre-Code crime/drama film starring Paul Muni as a wrongfully convicted convict on a chain gang who escapes to Chicago. The film was written by ...more

35 Famous Movie Stars of the 1930s

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The Last Gangster James Stewart, Edward G. Robinson The Last Gangster is a 1937 crime drama film, directed by Edward Ludwig and starring Edward G. Robinson, James Stewart and Rose Stradner.

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They Drive by Night is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 1930s Gangster Movies
horseplayer added They Drive by Night Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino They Drive by Night is a 1940 black-and-white film noir starring George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, and Humphrey Bogart, and directed by Raoul Walsh. The picture involves a pair of embattled ...more

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Dead End Humphrey Bogart, Sylvia Sidney, Claire Trevor Dead End is a 1937 crime drama film. It is an adaptation of the Sidney Kingsley 1935 Broadway play of the same name. It stars Humphrey Bogart, Joel McCrea, and Sylvia Sidney. It is notable as ...more

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The Mayor of Hell James Cagney, Frankie Darro, Madge Evans The Mayor of Hell is a Warner Brothers film starring James Cagney. The film was remade in 1938 as Crime School with Humphrey Bogart taking over James Cagney's role and Hell's Kitchen with Ronald ...more

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Pépé le Moko Jean Gabin, Marcel Dalio, Gaston Modot Pépé le Moko is a 1937 French film directed by Julien Duvivier and starring Jean Gabin. The film depicts an infamous gangster, nicknamed Pépé le Moko. The film is ...more

The Best Biopics About Real Comedians

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Show Them No Mercy! Cesar Romero, Rochelle Hudson Show Them No Mercy! is a 1935 film directed by George Marshall.

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Born Reckless John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Edmund Lowe Born Reckless is an American crime comedy directed by Andrew Bennison and John Ford, from a screenplay written by Donald Henderson Clarke based on his novel Louis Beretti. The film starred ...more

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Strike Me Pink Eddie Cantor Strike Me Pink is a 1936 film directed by Norman Taurog.

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Dragnet Girl Kinuyo Tanaka, Sumiko Mizukubo Dragnet Girl is a 1933 Japanese Gangster film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. The film tells the story of a gangster and his girlfriend finding redemption through the actions of an innocent girl and ...more

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Algiers Hedy Lamarr, Charles Boyer, Gene Lockhart Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Algiers is a 1938 American drama film directed by John Cromwell and starring Charles Boyer, Sigrid Gurie, and Hedy Lamarr. Written by John Howard Lawson, the film is about a notorious French ...more

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The Doorway to Hell James Cagney, Lew Ayres, Dwight Frye The Doorway to Hell is a 1930 all-talking Pre-Code crime film directed by Archie Mayo and starring Lew Ayres and James Cagney, in his second film role. The film was based on the story A Handful ...more

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Smashing the Rackets Paul Fix, Bruce Cabot, Chester Morris Smashing the Rackets is a 1938 crime drama film written by Lionel Houser, based from the story by Forrest Davis and directed by Lew Landers.

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The Criminal Code Boris Karloff, Walter Huston, Constance Cummings The Criminal Code is a Hollywood crime film, directed by Howard Hawks starring Walter Huston and Phillips Holmes. The film is the first of three Columbia Pictures film adaptations of the stage ...more

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Invisible Stripes Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, George Raft Invisible Stripes is a 1939 Warner Bros. crime film starring George Raft as a gangster unable to go straight after returning home from prison. The movie was directed by Lloyd Bacon and also ...more

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The Gay Bride Carole Lombard, ZaSu Pitts, Chester Morris The Gay Bride is a 1934 black-and-white gangster screwball comedy starring Carole Lombard as a wisecracking gold-digger and Chester Morris as the poor man she despises. It was directed by Jack ...more

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Smart Money James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Charles Lane Smart Money is an all-talking pre-code drama film produced and distributed by Warner Brothers, directed by Alfred E. Green, and starring Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney, the only time ...more

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Let 'em Have It Virginia Bruce, Richard Arlen, Alice Brady Let 'em Have It is a 1935 film directed by Sam Wood.