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The Best James Cagney Movies

Updated September 24, 2019 7.9k votes 1.2k voters 52.6k views63 items

List RulesVote for your favorite movies, regardless of critic reviews or how big the role was.

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?"

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  • 1
    James Cagney, Joan Blondell
    391
    38

    Released1933

    Directed byBusby 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 movie...  more
  • 2
    Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon
    353
    29

    Released1955

    Directed byMervyn 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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  • 3
    James Cagney, Ward Bond
    358
    31

    Released1948

    Directed byH. 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 brother...  more
  • 4
    James Cagney, William Frawley
    341
    33

    Released1937

    Directed byVictor 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 with...  more
  • 5
    James Cagney, Joan Blondell
    253
    21

    Released1931

    Directed byRoy 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' rat!" In 2014 the...  more
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  • 6
    James Cagney, Joan Leslie
    267
    34

    Released1942

    Directed byMichael 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 Richard Whorf,...  more
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  • 7
    James Cagney, Joan Blondell
    511
    144

    Released1932

    Directed byHoward 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 racing...  more
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  • 8
    Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney
    203
    30

    Released1938

    Directed byMichael 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. The...  more
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  • 9
    Jean Harlow, James Cagney
    193
    35

    Released1931

    Directed byWilliam 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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    #2 of 26 The Best 1930s Gangster Movies#17 of 138 The Best Pre-Code Movies#12 of 23 The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked

  • 10
    Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney
    159
    66

    Released1939

    Directed byRaoul 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 by...  more
  • 11
    James Cagney, Edmond O'Brien
    214
    106

    Released1949

    Directed byRaoul 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 Roberts...  more
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    #46 of 130 The Best Mafia Films Of All Time#110 of 225 The Best Black And White Movies Ever Made#22 of 36 The Greatest Classic Noir Movies, Ranked

  • 12
    James Cagney, George Reeves
    132
    54

    Released1940

    Directed byWilliam 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 War...  more
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  • 13
    Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney
    69
    10

    Released1941

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  • 14
    Barbara Stanwyck, James Cagney
    68
    14

    Released1956

    Directed byRoy Rowland

    These Wilder Years is a 1956 drama film directed by Roy Rowland, and starring James Cagney and Barbara Stanwyck. It is the story of a businessman who tries to find the illegitimate son he gave up to...  more
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  • 15
    Mickey Rooney, Olivia de Havilland
    65
    19

    Released1935

    Directed byWilliam Dieterle, Max Reinhardt

    A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1935 American romance fantasy film of William Shakespeare's play, directed by Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle, and starring Ian Hunter, James Cagney, Mickey Rooney,...  more
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  • 16
    Rita Hayworth, Olivia de Havilland
    120
    78

    Released1941

    Directed byRaoul 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 Tobias....  more
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  • 17
    James Cagney, George Raft
    93
    56

    Released1939

    Directed byWilliam 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 called...  more
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  • 18
    James Cagney
    45
    11

    Released1933

    Directed byMervyn LeRoy

    Hard to Handle is a comedy film starring James Cagney as a breezily clowning con artist who organizes a Depression-era dance marathon. His character remarks at one point, "The mass is a cow. It must...  more
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  • 19
    James Cagney, Sylvia Sidney
    47
    16

    Released1945

    Directed byFrank 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 Direction...  more
  • 20
    Bette Davis, James Cagney
    53
    23

    Released1941

    Directed byWilliam 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 was...  more
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  • 21
    James Cagney, Ward Bond
    41
    13

    Released1950

    Directed byGordon 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 "a...  more
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  • 22
    Clark Gable, David Niven
    87
    60

    Released1935

    Directed byFrank Lloyd

    Mutiny on the Bounty is an American 1935 drama film starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, and directed by Frank Lloyd based on the Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall novel Mutiny on the...  more

    #1095 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#52 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture#206 of 566 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

  • 23
    Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney
    47
    19

    Released1939

    Directed byLloyd 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 broad-brimmed...  more
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  • 24
    James Cagney, Joan Blondell
    36
    10

    Released1930

    Directed byJohn G. Adolfi

    Sinners' Holiday is a 1930 all-talking crime drama film starring Grant Withers, Evalyn Knapp, James Cagney, Lucille La Verne, and Joan Blondell. It is based on the play Penny Arcade by Marie Baumer....  more
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  • 25
    Bette Davis, James Cagney
    38
    14

    Released1934

    Directed byMichael Curtiz

    Jimmy the Gent is a 1934 American comedy-crime film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring James Cagney and Bette Davis. It was the first pairing of Cagney and Davis, who would reunite for The Bride...  more
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