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White Heat

Released Sep 2, 1949 1h 54m Crime Drama Action List
94% Tomatometer 80 Reviews 93% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings Gang leader Cody Jarrett (James Cagney) lives for his mother, planning heists between horrible headaches. During a train robbery that goes wrong, Cody shoots an investigator. Realizing Cody will never be stopped if he knows he's being pursued, authorities plant undercover agent Hank (Edmond O'Brien) in Cody's cell. When his mother dies, a distraught Cody breaks out of jail, bringing Hank along to join his gang. With Hank in communication with the police, Cody plans a payroll heist. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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White Heat

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Critics Consensus

Raoul Walsh's crime drama goes further into the psychology of a gangster than most fear to tread and James Cagney's portrayal of the tragic anti-hero is constantly volatile.

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Critics Reviews

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Marjory Adams Boston Globe James Cagney gives an astounding, realistic, terrific portrayal of a gangster as menacing and as ruthless as any ever played on the screen as the star of White Heat. Apr 23, 2024 Full Review Kate Cameron New York Daily News White Heat, made by Warners, under Raoul Walsh's direction and suggested by a Virginia Kellogg story, is a highly exciting cops and robbers melodrama. One scene of violence follows another, until the thrilling climax. Rated: 3.5/4 Apr 23, 2024 Full Review Mae Tinee Chicago Tribune Here's a taut crime melodrama, with punch and pace, which is very, likely to start a whole new cycle of such pictures... it looks like Director Raoul Walsh and the practiced Mr. Cagney have put the public enemy back in business again. Apr 23, 2024 Full Review Jay Carmody Washington Star It has a cast worthy of a super-criminal, with such supporting players as Virginia Mayo, Edmond O’Brien and Margaret Wycherly. What these and the others are up to is undeniably alive with action. Apr 23, 2024 Full Review Jane Corby Brooklyn Daily Eagle Cagney is the whole works in this show, although the story is excellent and the supporting cast is fine. But it’s Cagney who keeps the audience cowed... This Cagney picture is a gangster picture to end all gangster pictures. Apr 23, 2024 Full Review George Bourke Miami Herald This is taut, high-powered drama, with trigger-quick action following an adroitly drawn, if melodramatic, suspense pattern. Apr 23, 2024 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Josh D Cagney is GREAT! Top Of The World Rated 5 out of 5 stars 05/28/24 Full Review Isaiah Y James Cagney’s greatest performance in one of the greatest crime films ever made Rated 4 out of 5 stars 04/26/24 Full Review Steve D Hard not to enjoy for Cagney alone. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 04/01/24 Full Review MercersLaw Having never see a James Cagney movie I decided to start with this. He clearly was a great actor even in today's standards. It is pretty comical in parts, there is a bit where he one punches about 4 officers in a row in the prison. A decent plot and great support round up this movie. Definitely one to watch before you die, it only took me 40 years to watch. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/28/24 Full Review Alec B A masterclass in pacing. Not a second of this movie is wasted, each scene only adds intriguing complications to the plot. Cagney is exactly the kind of terrifying energy the movie needed. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/05/24 Full Review Georgan G One of the classics! The plot shows how psychological criminal behavior can run in the DNA. This parent may even be worse than Cagney's character, as who knows how much is DNA & how much is poor parenting. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 10/02/23 Full Review Read all reviews
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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Gang leader Cody Jarrett (James Cagney) lives for his mother, planning heists between horrible headaches. During a train robbery that goes wrong, Cody shoots an investigator. Realizing Cody will never be stopped if he knows he's being pursued, authorities plant undercover agent Hank (Edmond O'Brien) in Cody's cell. When his mother dies, a distraught Cody breaks out of jail, bringing Hank along to join his gang. With Hank in communication with the police, Cody plans a payroll heist.
Director
Raoul Walsh
Producer
Louis F. Edelman
Screenwriter
Virginia Kellogg, Ivan Goff
Distributor
Warner Bros. Pictures, Key Video
Production Co
Warner Brothers
Genre
Crime, Drama, Action
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Sep 2, 1949, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Nov 1, 2009
Runtime
1h 54m
Sound Mix
Mono
Aspect Ratio
Flat (1.37:1)
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