-> ''"Today, while the earth shakes beneath the heels of marching troops, while a great portion of the world trembles before the threats of acquisitive power-mad men, we of America have little time to remember an astounding era in our own recent history. An era which will grow more and more incredible with each passing generation until someday people will say it never could have happened at all."''
1939 Warner Brothers gangster movie starring Creator/JamesCagney and Creator/HumphreyBogart. Directed by Creator/RaoulWalsh.
It opens during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, where three very different soldiers meet in a foxhole. One of them is Eddie Bartlett, a simple mechanic from a city that is [[BigApplesauce probably New York.]] He returns home only to find that [[DudeWheresMyRespect his job has been given away.]] As he struggles to earn money as a cab driver, [[MiscarriageOfJustice a mix up results in his arrest.]] To thank him for keeping his mouth shut, speakeasy owner [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed Panama Smith]] bails him out of jail, and the two go into business with each other.
Considered by many to be ''the'' definitive gangster picture. Not to be confused with the [[TheRoaringTwenties era]] of the same name (in which he is mostly set though).
!! This film contains examples of the following tropes:
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: Panama is in love with Eddie, Eddie is in love with Jean, Jean is in love with [[spoiler: Lloyd]]
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: [[spoiler: Subverted.]]
* AntiHero: Eddie is one the more sympathetic crooks that Creator/JamesCagney played.
* BadassInANiceSuit: This being a gangster film, Eddie sports one.
* DeadpanSnarker: Panama Smith
* DisproportionateRetribution: [[spoiler: George kills the guard after he realizes that he was the drill sergeant who gave him so much trouble during the war.]]
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Invoked. Even though he fought in the war, no one will give him a job, not even the guy who promised him one when he got back.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: [spoiler:Eddie goes out in a blaze of glory having taken on George's gang]].
* FauxAffablyEvil: George pretends to be on Eddie's side the whole time, even though [[spoiler: he tries to have him killed.]]
* FreudianTrio: In the traditional sense. The characters of [[TheEgo Eddie]], [[TheSuperego Lloyd]], and [[TheId George]] were constructed to this way, according to WordOfGod. Lloyd is upright and rational, George is rash and violent, and Eddie is stuck between the two.
* JailbaitWait: During the war, Eddie got letters from Jean, so he decided to meet her when he shipped back. [[spoiler: She was still in high school. He half-jokingly said he'd come back in a few years, but they do eventually end up together.]]
* LoveTriangle: Eddie, Jean and Lloyd. [[spoiler:Jean and Lloyd end up getting married during a TimeSkip.]]
* MiscarriageOfJustice: Eddie gets in trouble for delivering a package full of booze, even though he didn't know what was in it.
* MissKitty: Panama is an urban version. She runs the speakeasy.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Panama Smith is based on RealLife famous nightclub owner Texas Guinan.
* PietaPlagiarism: [[spoiler: Eddie dies in Panama's arms.]]
* PresentDayPast: The film came out in the late 30s. They didn't even try. Literally, it was a conscious decision not to recreate the actual look of the actual 20s. The two female leads sport some fashion elements of the '20s, but overall still look like they're from the '30s.
* ReturningWarVet: Eddie has trouble adjusting to life back home.
* TheRoaringTwenties: [[CaptainObvious Well]], [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin yeah]].
* SelfMadeMan: Eddie builds himself a criminal empire. [[spoiler: Eventually subverted, because he loses everything.]]
* TheTeetotaler: Eddie, even though he sells alcohol. [[spoiler: He starts drinking after he loses all his money, though.]]
* ThatNostalgiaShow: One of the earliest examples.
* TimeSkip: A few. The film takes place in 1919, 1921, 1922, 1924, and finally 1929.
* TragicHero: Eddie is determined to go straight but fate says otherwise.
* WorldWarOne: It starts out with Eddie fighting the Germans in France.