Oscar Movies: Little Caesar (1930-1931)–Classic Gangster Starring Edward G. Robinson

One of the best-known gangster films is director Mervyn LeRoy’s Little Caesar (1930), made by Warner.

its quintessential portrayal of an underworld character that rebelliously challenged traditional values.

Though it was not the first gangster film of the talkies era (that was Lights of New York (1928), it is considered by historians the prototype of future gangster films due to its critical reception and impact both in short and in the long run.

Taut, fast-moving, and well-acted by Edward G. Robinson in the title role, Little Caesar set the genre’s thematic and visual conventions, which were followed by other films of the era, specifically The Public Enemy, starring James Cagney, and Scarface with Paul Muni.

Clearly modeled on Al Capone, the rich part saw Robinson as Caesar Enrico Bandello.  The film depicts his rise to fame and then decline and demise—on the steps of a church.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Adaptation: Francis Faragoh and Robert N. Lee

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Writing Oscar was Howard Estabrook for Cimarron, which also won Best Picture