The Public Enemy

Synopsis: Tom Powers and Matt Doyle are best friends and fellow gangsters, their lives frowned upon by Tom's straight laced brother, Mike, and Matt's straight laced sister, Molly. From their teen-aged years into young adulthood, Tom and Matt have an increasingly lucrative life, bootlegging during the Prohibition era. But Tom in particular becomes more and more brazen in what he is willing to do, and becomes more obstinate and violent against those who either disagree with him or cross him. When one of their colleagues dies in a freak accident, a rival bootlegging faction senses weakness among Tom and Matt's gang, which is led by Paddy Ryan. A gang war ensues, resulting in Paddy suggesting that Tom and Matt lay low. But because of Tom's basic nature, he decides instead to take matters into his own hands.
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director(s): William A. Wellman
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
83 min

Larry, give me one of those empty jars.

Fill them up, will you?

Extra !

Read all about it!

Give us a swig.

-Hello, Tommy.


Can grease?

Come on, Matt. We got business.

Give us a little kiss.

That's what you get

for fooling with women.

Hey, little boy, stop.

Stop, l say! Stop that!

Officer, get those boys.

Don't let them escape!

lf l get a hold of you....

Matt, look.

That ain't fair, Tom.

-What do you care? lt's only a girl.

-She's my sister, ain't she?

What difference does that make?

Help me up, Matt.

Leave her alone. She's doing fine.

That's the way to learn.

That's just like you, Tom Powers.

You're the meanest boy in town.

He is not.

He give you his skates, didn't he?

l believe he did it

just so he could play that trick on me.

-l'm gonna tell your brother Mike.

-Go ahead and tell him.

Here he comes now.

You'll help me, won't you, Mike?

-Where'd you get the skates, Molly?

-Tom gave them to me.

Tom did? Where'd you get them, Tom?

He got them from a kid

who owed him some money.

l'll bet you stole them, Tom.

Give them back, Molly.

Why don't you mind your own business?

Nobody asked you

to put your two cents in.

Here, Tom.

l don't want them if you stole them.

-So you're getting like sissy Mike, too.

-Take them, Tom.

You ain't so darn good.

Your old man swipes pigeons.

Tom Powers, he does not!

You're a big liar.

He's in jail.

They don't put people there for nothing.

Everybody who belongs there, ain't there.

That's where you'll be someday,

Tom Powers.

l ain't there yet.

lf l do go, it won't be for swiping pigeons.

Tell him you were only kidding, Tom.

How do you want them this time:

up or down?

Three for me, too. Three skins.

-Hello there.

-How's it going?

How are you?

Hit you. There you are.

-Hit me again.

-Hit you. There's one.

Hit you again. There you go.

Hey, Putty Nose.

All right. l'll be back in a minute, boys.

Hello, boys. What's up?

-We've got something.


Fine. l'll bet you a nickel.

-Where'd you get them?

-Wentworth Avenue.

How much are they worth?

Not much. Just cheap watches.

-Cheap watches? $1 apiece.

-Yeah, and there's six of them, too.

l don't know what l can do with them.

They're hot.

Come on. Quit stalling, Putty Nose.

You know how to sell them.

You're too smart.

-l'll see what l can do with them.

-How much do we get?

What do you say to 50 cents

for each of them?

-50 cents?

-l ain't cheating you. That's a good price.

l have to take all the risk,

and maybe l can't sell them at all.

Give us the 50 cents.

You know old Putty Nose always

plays on the square with you, don't you?

-This is only two bits.

-Yeah, and this is only a nickel.

-My mistake.


All right.

You both owe me a month's dues

to the club, don't you?

-That's right, Tom.

-So we're calling that square, see?

-That's all right, isn't it?


You've done a good stroke of business.

And if you find anything more...

you'll just remember old Putty Nose,

won't you?

Okay. Let's scram.

What do we want with

a couple of young squirts like them for?

They ain't gonna be so bad.

They won't expect much of a cut.

-Hey there, Tom.

-Hello, Putty Nose.

Hello, boys.

Are you alone?

l'm always alone when l'm with Matt.

You looking for a sock on the button?

l was afraid you might have

brought Mike with you.

That sucker.

He's too busy going to school.

He's learning how to be poor.

Ain't he working

on the streetcars anymore?

Sure. He's a ding-ding in the daytime,

goes to school at night.

What do you want us for, Putty?

Something sweet.

Remember how l always said...

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Kubec Glasmon

Kubec Glasmon (August 12, 1897 – March 13, 1938) was an American screenwriter from Poland, who was nominated for the now defunct category of Best Story at the 4th Academy Awards. He was nominated for Best Story with John Bright for The Public Enemy. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Public Enemy" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 23 Oct. 2021. <>.

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