A small-time criminal moves to a big city to seek bigger fortune.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

W.R. Burnett (novel), Francis Edward Faragoh (as Francis Edwards Faragoh) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... Caesar Enrico 'Rico' Bandello / 'Little Caesar'
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Joe Massara
Glenda Farrell ... Olga Stassoff
William Collier Jr. ... Tony Passa
Sidney Blackmer ... Big Boy
Ralph Ince ... Pete Montana
Thomas E. Jackson ... Sgt. Flaherty (as Thomas Jackson)
Stanley Fields ... Sam Vettori
Maurice Black ... Little Arnie Lorch
George E. Stone ... Otero
Armand Kaliz ... De Voss
Nicholas Bela Nicholas Bela ... Ritz Colonna (as Nick Bela)
Edit

Storyline

Rico is a small-time hood who knocks off gas stations for whatever he can take. He heads east and signs up with Sam Vettori's mob. A New Year's Eve robbery at Little Arnie Lorch's casino results in the death of the new crime commissioner Alvin McClure. Rico's good friend Joe Massara, who works at the club as a professional dancer, works as the gang's lookout man and wants out of the gang. Rico is ambitious and eventually takes over Vettori's gang; he then moves up to the next echelon pushing out Diamond Pete Montana. When he orders Joe to dump his girlfriend Olga and re-join the gang, Olga decides there's only one way out for them. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Big boss of racketeerdom. Master of men until he defied a girl in love! (Print Ad-Youngstown Vindicator, ((Youngstown, Ohio)) 7 February 1931) See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Favorite film of director Richard Donner. See more »

Goofs

Another problem with the scene in which Rico is wounded in the arm: when Rico leaves the newsstand heading toward the scene of his ambush, he's walking from left to right (as seen by the audience, the point of view referred to here throughout). Then we cut to the truck, with its concealed gunman, and it's heading toward him from the opposite direction. The truck's starting point, therefore, must have been in front of Rico, or to his right. But the trail of bullet holes created by the moving gun begins behind Rico, that is, to his left. Or in other words, the bullets striking the plate glass window behind Rico should have moved from right to left, not left to right, as they do in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Sam Vettori: Boys! Come on, Tony. Wake up. I want you to meet a new guy what's gonna be with us. This is, eh, eh...
Caesar Enrico Bandello: Caesar Enrico Bandello.
Sam Vettori: Oh, Little Caesar, huh?
Caesar Enrico Bandello: Yeah, sure.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the 1954 re-release, a foreword crawl was added, warning that the "heroes" of Little Caesar and The Public Enemy represent "a problem that sooner or later we, the public, must solve." This version is often shown on cable channels. See more »

Connections

Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Edward G. Robinson (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

You, I Love But You
(uncredited)
Written by Walter O'Keefe and Robert Emmett Dolan
Played during the first Glenda Farrell-Douglas Fairbanks Jr. scene
See more »

User Reviews

 
It Gets Lonely at the Top
22 September 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Little Caesar which popularized both the gangster film and Edward G. Robinson is a great study in the criminal mindset and the ruthlessness it takes to get to the top of that world. After all in White Heat look at the epitaph James Cagney gave to his career.

We meet Robinson and a friend Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in some greasy spoon in the middle of nowhere. Fairbanks wants to go into dancing, but Robinson knows exactly what he wants. He wants to rise to the top of the criminal world. Not for riches or fame, but simply raw naked power. As he says to have a bunch of guys working for you who will do ANYTHING you say. The more men you have doing that, the more powerful you are.

And the film is a study in the rise and fall of Robinson in his chosen field. But the top is a lonely place.

It's been said there's an undercurrent of homosexuality running in Little Caesar between Robinson and Fairbanks by some critics. I've never subscribed to that point of view. In doing what he's doing Robinson essentially cuts himself off from all kind of human contact. His only other attachment is the fawning George E. Stone from his gang.

Robinson needs Fairbanks as a friend and confidante. We all need that, someone we can unbend with and show our true feelings, even if it's confiding our criminal ambitions.

But as the plot develops Fairbanks who's been on the fringe of Robinson's activities, meets Glenda Farrell and they fall in love. And through her partially Fairbanks develops a conscience about what he's seen.

How Robinson deals with it and what becomes of everyone involved is for those interested in viewing the film. But after over 70 years, Little Caesar holds up very well because of its universal theme.

Loneliness at the top is an occupational hazard for all ambitious people. It's never expressed in such raw terms as in the gangster film genre. But it's still used. Used in fact in both the Paul Muni version of Scarface and in Al Pacino's version as well.

Mervyn LeRoy did a fine job in directing this groundbreaking piece of entertainment. Robinson's portrayal once seen is never forgotten.


14 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 109 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 January 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Caesar See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone) (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed