If there's one genre that's wildly popular, it's the crime genre. Men love it, women are turned off by it (not me).
Tom Powers (James Cagney) earns a living from bootlegging during Prohibition. But he finds out that bootlegging is a competitive and violent industry.
The Public Enemy is known for two things: kickstarting the gangster movie and Cagney giving Mae Clarke a grapefruit facial (the most ingenious ad-lib in my book). Cagney is just explosive as Powers (though I heard from another source he's better in White Heat). The Public Enemy, in my opinion, is the best introduction to Cagney and the gangster movie in general.
My Rating: *****