[[caption-width-right:259:''"All right, fellas... let's go and say a prayer for a boy who couldn't run as fast as I could."'']]
''Angels with Dirty Faces'' is a 1938 Creator/WarnerBros gangster film directed by Creator/MichaelCurtiz and starring Creator/JamesCagney, Pat O'Brien, the Dead End Kids and Creator/HumphreyBogart, along with Creator/AnnSheridan and George Bancroft. The film was written by Rowland Brown, John Wexley and Warren Duff with uncredited assistance from Ben Hecht and Charles [=MacArthur=].
The story starts out with two inner-city kids who were caught stealing fountain pens, Rocky Sullivan and Jerry Connolly. Rocky Sullivan was captured by the police and sent into reform school while his friend Jerry Connolly escaped, being able to run faster. Rocky grew up to be a notorious gangster, while Jerry grew up to be a priest. When Rocky returns to live in his old neighborhood after being discharged from prison, Jerry tries to prevent the local kids from idolizing Rocky, who befriends them whilst continuing his criminal ways.
Not to be confused with ''[[Film/HomeAlone Angels with Filthy Souls]]'' or the dragon-dating VisualNovel ''VisualNovel/AngelsWithScalyWings.'' And besides also starring The Dead End Kids, is unrelated to the later film ''The Angels Wash Their Faces''.
!!Contains examples of:
* AmbiguousSituation: [[spoiler:Did Rocky really turn yellow, or was it just an act?]]
* AntiHero: Rocky.
* BadassPreacher: Connolly can be one. It's especially shown at the end of the scene in which Connolly fails to convince the Dead End Kids to stop gambling at a pool hall and come play basketball. As he leaves a man snidely remarks "What's the matter, Father? Can't get them to come to heaven with ya?" Connolly turns around and socks him square in the jaw.
* CatchPhrase: "What do ya know? What do ya say?"
* CentralTheme: Suffering for the good of others.
* CoolGuns: Rocky's revolver.
* DirtyCoward: What Father Jerry wants [[spoiler:Rocky to appear as when he goes to the chair.]]
** Creator/HumphreyBogart as the crooked lawyer, Frazier, is a more straight example.
* ExtraExtraReadAllAboutIt: Rocky picks up a newspaper from a kid selling them this way.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: How Rocky wants to go out. Father Jerry has other ideas...
* FatalFlaw: Rocky is loyal to a fault.
* FormerTeenRebel: Father Jerry was a juvenile delinquent before he became a priest.
* FreeRangeChildren: The Dead End Kids, who live in the streets and don't even appear to have parents. Granted, it's the same in basically every movie they appear in, including ''Dead End''.
* GoodShepherd: Connolly.
* HadToComeToPrisonToBeACrook: Rocky Sullivan grows up into a notorious gangster after having been thrown into a reform school as a kid for stealing pens, and ends up going in and out of prison well into adulthood due to being corrupted. His friend, Jerry Connolly, escaped being thrown into the reform school by the police, and grew up to become a priest.
* HaveAGayOldTime: The line "If anyone ever pulled a boner, you did!" Boner at one time meant 'mistake'.
* HesitantSacrifice: A ''possible'' subversion.
* HumanShield: [[spoiler: Rocky ends up using Jerry as one. We find out later that the gun Rocky used was empty.]]
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Rocky Sullivan, he shows it several times.
* LiteralAssKicking: Sullivan gives the Dead End Kids a beating reminiscent of [[Film/TheThreeStooges Moe Howard]] during their basketball game.
* LittleBrotherIsWatching: Ending spoiler! [[spoiler: Jerry tells Rocky that the boys in Jerry's care look up to Rocky and stand a chance of becoming criminals themselves because they idolize Rocky so. When Rocky is finally taken to the electric chair, instead of acting tough like he bragged about, he screamed, cried, begged for his life and "died yellow". It's ambiguous whether he truly panicked or just acted that way to discourage the kids from thinking he was cool. (Perhaps a bit of column A, a bit of column B?) ]]
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: Some hitmen who are after Rocky also want Jerry dead, but they want that death to look like an accident.
* MisterSandmanSequence: The beginning of the film features the camera lingering on a newspaper with a period-distinguishing headline, before panning out at the beginning of a scene. They do this not once but ''twice'', although it's probably less to establish the period itself and more to show how much time Rocky spends in prison. The first time they do it we see the city streets filled with horses pulling carriages, the second time we see the same street crammed with 30's-era automobiles.
* MusicStories: Only a partial example. The fact that the boys are in the church choir is secondary to the plot, but it still evokes the concept of mentor figure trying to use musical activities as a good influence on troubled kids.
* ShesAllGrownUp: Ann Sheridan's character when Rocky first sees her.
* SocialServicesDoesNotExist: The Dead End Kids, in this film and just about every other film they appeared in. They're just homeless kids who live in the streets without any supervision, causing mischief. They were often used in gangster movies to symbolize the kinds of kids gangsters were before they grew up and became criminals.
* SoundOnlyDeath: [[spoiler:Rock's execution]].
* SpinningPaper: A must for all classic gangster movies.
* StockFootage: A montage features a shot of gangsters bombing a storefront. This shot is actually an alternate angle of the bombing of a store in ''Film/ThePublicEnemy''.
* ThrowAwayGuns: Near the end, Rocky is out of bullets, so he throws his gun at his pursuers in desperation.
* [[TragicHero Tragic]] AntiHero: Rocky's a decent enough guy whose life changes when he takes the fall first for his friend then to the slimy lawyer Frazier.
* WhatYouAreInTheDark: No one on Earth except Father Jerry will ever know that [[spoiler:Rocky (probably) only pretended to be a coward in the death chair so that the Dead End Kids won't follow his example.]]