White Heat
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In later years, James Cagney regarded White Heat with a combination of pride and regret; while satisfied with his own performance, he tended to dismiss the picture as a "cheap melodrama." Seen today, White Heat stands as one of the classic crime films of the 1940s, containing perhaps Cagney's best bad-guy portrayal. The star plays criminal mastermind Cody Jarrett, a mother-dominated psychotic who dreams of being on "top of the world." Inadvertently leaving clues behind after a railroad heist, Jarrett becomes the target of the feds, who send an undercover agent (played… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Brilliantly directed by Raoul Walsh, an old master of cinema hoodlumism, it returns a more subtle James Cagney to the kind of thug role that made him famous."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Despite chronology (deranged by the censor's influence on the studios), this is really the fitting climax of the '30s gangster movie."
‑ , Time Out
"Cagney supercharges the entire film with frenetic energy."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
"Raoul Walsh's Freudian film is one of the fastest and toughest crime-gangster films ever made, boasting a bravura performance from James Cagney as a misogynist mama boy ("top of the world, Ma")."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"White Heat is vigorous and uncompromising. Cagney is all kinetic energy and raw nerve."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"Cagney has an excellent supporting cast."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The simple fact is that Mr. Cagney has made his return to a gangster role in one of the most explosive pictures that he or anyone has ever played."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Its archetypal influence on later films like Goodfellas and the Al Pacino Scarface is striking, even if we can never again experience how new and bold it was back in its day...."
‑ Mark Bourne, DVDJournal.com
"Film noir masterpiece, with brilliant direction and visual style"
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"If you're looking for Cagney's best gangster role ever, you got it right here, on the top of the world."
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"Raoul Walsh's heroes had a knack for going too far, but none went further than James Cagney in this roaring 1949 gangster piece."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Magnificent examination of the criminal mind and Cagney's finest moment."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"Cagney, intenso como de hábito, cria um personagem que, apesar de sua óbvia instabilidade psicológica e de sua crueldade patológica, conquista o espectador com sua carência emocional."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"Cagney gives an utterly ferocious performance, arguably his finest, as Cody Jarrett, a psychotic gangster with an unholy mother fixation."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"White Heat's ultimate message: love's a *****...even crypto-incestuous love."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
More reviews for White Heat on Rotten Tomatoes

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Public Enemies
Scarface (1932)