--> [[UnintentionalPeriodPiece Today]], [[WorldWarII while the earth shakes beneath the heels of marching troop]]s, while a great portion of the world trembles before the threats of [[NaziGermany acquisitive power-mad men]], we of America have little time to remember an astounding era in our own recent history. An [[TheRoaringTwenties era]] which will grow more and more incredible [[SocietyMarchesOn with each passing generation]] until someday people will say [[TheGreatestStoryNeverTold it never could have happened at all]].
--> --''Opening narration''
1939 Warner Brothers gangster movie starring JamesCagney and HumphreyBogart.
It opens during 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.]]
* 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.
* 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.
* FauxAffablyEvil: George pretends to be on Eddie's side the whole time, even though [[spoiler: he tries to have him killed.]]
* 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.]]
* 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.]]
* 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.
* WorldWarOne: It starts out with Eddie fighting the Germans in France.