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The Best James Cagney Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated September 24, 2019 6.4k votes 1k voters 51.2k views 63 items

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List of the best James Cagney movies, ranked best to worst with movie trailers when available. James Cagney's highest grossing movies have received a lot of accolades over the years, earning millions upon millions around the world. The order of these top James Cagney movies is decided by how many votes they receive, so only highly rated James Cagney movies will be at the top of the list. James Cagney has been in a lot of films, so people often debate each other over what the greatest James Cagney movie of all time is. If you and a friend are arguing about this then use this list of the most entertaining James Cagney films to end the squabble once and for all.

If you think the best James Cagney role isn't at the top, then upvote it so it has the chance to become number one. The greatest James Cagney performances didn't necessarily come from the best movies, but in most cases they go hand in hand.

This list is made up of films like The Oklahoma Kid and Winner Take All.

"This list answers the questions, "What are the best James Cagney movies?" and "What are the greatest James Cagney roles of all time?"

If James Cagney movies are your thing, then check out the greatest movies by Edward G. Robinson and Rod Steiger too.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
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James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Dorothy Lamour

Released: 1933

Directed by: Busby Berkeley, Lloyd Bacon

Footlight Parade is a 1933 American musical film starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell and featuring Frank McHugh, Guy Kibbee, Hugh Herbert and Ruth Donnelly. The ...more
2
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Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, James Cagney

Released: 1955

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, John Ford, Joshua Logan

Mister Roberts is a 1955 American Warnercolor in CinemaScope comedy-drama film directed by John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy and features an all-star cast including Henry Fonda as Mister Roberts, James ...more

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#127 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #37 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
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James Cagney, Edmond O'Brien, Virginia Mayo

Released: 1949

Directed by: Raoul Walsh

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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#42 of 109 The Best Mafia Films #103 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made #24 of 36 The Greatest Classic Noir Movies, Ranked

4
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James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston

Released: 1942

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 American biographical musical film about George M. Cohan, known as "The Man Who Owned Broadway". It stars James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and ...more

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#80 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #90 of 195 The Best Movies About Musiclisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
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Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Ann Sheridan

Released: 1938

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

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

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#241 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #65 of 142 The Best Film Noir Movies #137 of 530 The Greatest Crime Movies Ever Made

6
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James Cagney, Ward Bond, Broderick Crawford

Released: 1948

Directed by: H. C. Potter

The Time of Your Life is a 1948 film starring James Cagney adapted from the 1939 William Saroyan play of the same title. A Cagney Production, The Time of Your Life was produced by Cagney's ...more
7
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Jean Harlow, James Cagney, Joan Blondell

Released: 1931

Directed by: William A. Wellman

The Public Enemy is a 1931 American all-talking pre-code crime film produced and distributed by Warner Brothers. The film was directed by William A. Wellman and stars James Cagney, Jean Harlow, ...more

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#32 of 109 The Best Mafia Films #96 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made #11 of 138 The Best Pre-Code Movies

8
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James Cagney, William Frawley, Gene Lockhart

Released: 1937

Directed by: Victor Schertzinger

Something to Sing About, re-released in 1947 as Battling Hoofer, is the second and final film James Cagney made for Grand National Pictures – the first being Great Guy – before mending relations ...more
9
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James Cagney, Joan Blondell

Released: 1932

Directed by: Howard Hawks

The Crowd Roars is a 1932 film directed by Howard Hawks starring James Cagney and featuring Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak, Eric Linden, Guy Kibbee, and Frank McHugh. The driver in the film's auto ...more
10
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Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Frank McHugh

Released: 1939

Directed by: Raoul Walsh

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
11
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James Cagney, Joan Blondell

Released: 1931

Directed by: Roy Del Ruth

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
12
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James Cagney, George Reeves, Joseph Crehan

Released: 1940

Directed by: William Keighley

The Fighting 69th is an American war film starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, and George Brent. The plot is based upon the actual exploits of New York City's 69th Infantry Regiment during World ...more
13
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Rita Hayworth, Olivia de Havilland, James Cagney

Released: 1941

Directed by: Raoul Walsh

Strawberry Blonde is a 1941 Warner Bros. feature film directed by Raoul Walsh, starring James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland, and featuring Rita Hayworth, Alan Hale, Jack Carson and George ...more
14
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James Cagney, George Raft, Maxie Rosenbloom

Released: 1939

Directed by: William Keighley

Each Dawn I Die is a 1939 gangster film featuring James Cagney and George Raft in their only movie together as leads, although Raft had made an unbilled appearance in a 1932 Cagney vehicle ...more

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#418 of 529 The Greatest Crime Movies Ever Made #120 of 136 The Best Prison Movies #44 of 50 The Best '30s Thriller Movies

15
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James Cagney, Red Buttons, Pamela Tiffin

Released: 1961

Directed by: Billy Wilder

One, Two, Three is a 1961 American comedy film directed by Billy Wilder and written by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond. It is based on the 1929 Hungarian one-act play Egy, kettő, három by ...more

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#950 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #491 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #207 of 313 The Best Political Films Ever Made

16
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James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Barton MacLane

Released: 1935

Directed by: William Keighley

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
17
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Doris Day, James Cagney, Cameron Mitchell

Released: 1955

Directed by: Charles Vidor

Love Me or Leave Me is a 1955 biographical romantic musical drama film which tells the life story of Ruth Etting, a singer who rose from dancer to movie star. It stars Doris Day as Etting, James ...more
18
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James Cagney, Anthony Quinn, Ann Sheridan

Released: 1940

Directed by: Jean Negulesco, Anatole Litvak

City for Conquest is a 1940 American drama film directed by Anatole Litvak, starring James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, and Arthur Kennedy. The picture is based on the novel of the same name by Aben
19
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James Cagney, Karl Malden, E. G. Marshall

Released: 1947

Directed by: Henry Hathaway

13 Rue Madeleine is a 1947 World War II spy film starring James Cagney, Annabella and Richard Conte. The title refers to the Le Havre address where a Gestapo headquarters is located.
20
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Bette Davis, James Cagney, William Frawley

Released: 1941

Directed by: William Keighley

The Bride Came C.O.D. is a 1941 Warner Bros. screwball romantic comedy starring James Cagney as a pilot and Bette Davis as a runaway heiress, and directed by William Keighley. Although the film ...more
21
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James Cagney, Jim Backus, Jane Greer

Released: 1957

Directed by: Joseph Pevney

Man of a Thousand Faces is a film detailing the life of silent movie actor Lon Chaney, in which the title role is played by James Cagney. Directed by Joseph Pevney, the film's cast included ...more
22
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Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Stuart Holmes

Released: 1939

Directed by: Lloyd Bacon

The Oklahoma Kid is a 1939 western film starring James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. The movie was directed for Warner Bros. by Lloyd Bacon. Cagney plays an adventurous gunslinger in a ...more
23
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James Cagney, Sylvia Sidney, Frank Puglia

Released: 1945

Directed by: Frank Lloyd

Blood on the Sun is a film starring James Cagney and Sylvia Sidney. The film is based on a fictional history behind the Tanaka Memorial document. The film won the Academy Award for Best Art ...more
24
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James Cagney, Ward Bond, Barbara Payton

Released: 1950

Directed by: Gordon Douglas

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a 1950 film noir starring James Cagney, directed by Gordon Douglas, produced by William Cagney and based on the novel by Horace McCoy. The film was banned in Ohio as ...more
25
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James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Raymond Hatton

Released: 1933

Directed by: Roy Del Ruth

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