Little Caesar (film)

1931 film by Mervyn LeRoy

Little Caesar is a 1931 film about a hoodlum who ascends the ranks of organized crime until he reaches its upper echelons.

Edward G. Robinson as Rico Bandello, "Little Caesar".
Money's okay, but it ain't everything. Be somebody. Look hard at a bunch of guys and know they'll do anything you tell them. Have your own way or nothing. Be somebody. ~ Rico Bandello in Little Caesar
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Written by Francis Edward Faragoh, Robert N. Lee, Robert Lord and Darryl F. Zanuck (uncredited), based on the novel of the same name by William R. Burnett.

Rico Bandello

  • You see, Otero. There's no use in being scared of any of these big guys. The bigger they come, the harder they fall. Yeah, I ain't doin' so bad in this business so far.
  • [reading a newspaper] Little Caesar has never been found. According to the statement of Thomas Flaherty of the homicide squad, Little Caesar, the once-swaggering braggart of the underworld, wilted in the face of real danger and showed the world his cowardice. [he growls] Flaherty stated further that Little Caesar has contradicted his oft-repeated boast that he could dish it out and take it too. [he snarls again] When a real crisis arose, Rico couldn't take it. Flaherty ended his interview by remarking: 'Me-te-or-ic was Rico's rise from the gutter. It was in-ev-i-ta-ble that he should return there.' [calls Sgt. Flaherty] This is Rico speaking. Rico! R-I-C-O! Rico! Little Caesar, that's who! Listen, you crummy, flat-footed copper, I'll show you whether I've lost my nerve and my brains!
  • [looking at himself in the mirror, wearing his first tuxedo] Aaahhhh....all I need is a napkin over my arm!


Rico Bandello: [reading newspaper] "Underworld pays respects to Diamond Pete Montana."
Joe Massara: Ah, what's that gotta do with the price of eggs?
Rico Bandello: Plenty. Diamond Pete Montana. He doesn't have to waste his time on cheap gas stations. He's somebody. He's in the big town, doing things in a big way. And look at us, just a couple of nobodies, nothin'.
Joe Massara: Is that what you want, Rico? A party like that for you? "Caesar Enrico Bandello. Honored by his friends."
Rico Bandello: I could do all the things that fella does, and more, only I never got my chance. Why, what's there to be afraid of? And when I get in a tight spot, I shoot my way out of it. Why sure. Shoot first and argue afterwards. You know, this game ain't for guys that's soft!
Joe Massara: Yeah, there's money in the big town, all right. And the women. Good times, something doing all the time. Exciting things, you know. The clothes I could wear. And then I'd quit, Rico. I'd go back to dancing, like I used to before I met you. I don't know. I ain't made for this sort of thing. Dancing. That's what I wanna do.
Rico Bandello: Dancing? Women? And where do they get you? I don't want no dancing. I'm figuring on making other people dance. Oh, I ain't forgetting about the money. Money's okay, but it ain't everything. Be somebody. Look hard at a bunch of guys and know they'll do anything you tell them. Have your own way or nothing. Be somebody.
Joe Massara: You'll get there, Rico.
Rico Bandello: Yeah.
Joe Massara: You'll show them.
Rico Bandello: You know, this was our last stand in this burg. We're pulling out.
Joe Massara: Where are we going?
Rico Bandello: East. [gestures to the newspaper] Where things break big.

Joe Massara: [after Olga sees his gun] Once in the gang, you know the rest.
Olga Stassoff: I don't want to know. Only maybe, maybe it could be different this time, if we try.
Joe Massara: I've never seen a guy that could get away with it yet.

Pete Montana: Now, listen, boys. Watch this guy McClure, what's head of the new crime commission. He's putting the screws on, and make no mistake about him. Now, the Big Boy wants me to tell you guys to put the chains on your gorillas for the next few months. Because if any of them go too far, it'll be just too bad.
Sam Vettori: I've never seen nobody the Big Boy couldn't get to. He can fix anything. That's why he's the Big Boy. This bird McClure will be pie for him. He'll twist him around his little finger.
Pete Montana: Don't kid yourself. Nobody's squaring nothing with McClure. Not even the Big Boy. Small jobs, that's different. We could spring guys for them. But shooting? No, sir. It's guys like this torpedo of yours that cause all the trouble.
Sam Vettori: Who, Rico? He's all right. He's a little quick on the trigger, but that's because he's new.
Pete Montana: Yeah? Well, it's us that'll swing for him if he shoots at the wrong time.

Rico Bandello: Now, listen, Sam, Joe's all right. He's the best front man in the world. Why, he can go to a swell hotel and order a suite, a suite, and it's all right. Without Joe, we can't pull the job, and you know it.
Sam Vettori: What's that paper?
Rico Bandello: It's this layout I've been figuring out with Scabby.
Sam Vettori: What, this nightclub job?
Rico Bandello: Yeah.
Sam Vettori: Well, let me see it. And until I say different, nobody's gonna plan for this mob but me. You get me?

Joe Massara: Say, what's the big idea of the rush anyway?
Rico Bandello: It's a little job we need you for. A little job at the Bronze Peacock.
Joe Massara: What do you mean? Are you trying to kid me or something? How can I take the chance? They're all my friends, they all know me.
Rico Bandello: That's why, they'll never suspect you. Now, don't stall, Joe.
Joe Massara: I ain't stalling. You gotta get me out of this, Rico. You gotta. I don't want to...Well, don't you see, I'm working steady now, and...Can't a guy ever say he's through?
Rico Bandello: You're gonna be in on this, and you'll like it.

Olga Stassoff: Why, Joe...Joey.
Joe Massara: What is it? What's the matter?
Olga Stassoff: Nothing. It's all right. The joint's been held up, that's all.
Joe Massara: Held up?
Olga Stassoff: They...They shot McClure. Joe.
Joe Massara: Now you know.
Olga Stassoff: It was you.
Joe Massara: No. No, it's a lie! I...
Olga Stassoff: You shot McClure.
Joe Massara: No, I didn't, I swear. It wasn't me that shot him. It was...I don't know who. But it's our hips for this job, all right.
Olga Stassoff: Maybe... Maybe everything will be all right, Joey. Maybe he wasn't hurt badly. But you're through with that bunch. You don't belong, Joe. You're not that kind. You'll never go near them again.
Joe Massara: can't go back on the gang.

Sam Vettori: Well, everything come off all right? Tell me.
Rico Bandello: Everything was all right. Only I had to take care of a guy.
Sam Vettori: Who was it?
Rico Bandello: McClure.
Sam Vettori: McClure. You shot McClure. A million guys in this town, and you had to pick the crime commissioner. What did I tell you, Rico? Didn't I say to make it clean? Didn't I say no gunplay?
Rico Bandello: Think I'm going to let a guy pull a gat on me? Any more of these cracks, and this is my last job.
Sam Vettori: The head of the crime commission. The Big Boy can't do us no good this trip. They'll get us dead sure now. What am I gonna do?
Rico Bandello: Why don't you go and give yourself up? You're slipping, Sam.
Sam Vettori: And Tony, what about him? Where is he?
Otero: Getting rid of the car. Tony got nervous. He's just like a big baby.
Sam Vettori: What a fine pickle we're in. You and that rod of yours.

Rico Bandello: I've taken orders from you too long.
Sam Vettori: You'll keep on taking orders too or you'll get out of here so fast...
Rico Bandello: Maybe it won't be me that gets out.
Sam Vettori: No? Well, maybe the boys have got something to say about that. What about it? [No one moves or speaks up] So, that's it, huh?
Rico Bandello: Yeah, that's it, all right. You can dish it out, but you're getting so you can't take it no more. You're through. Well?
Sam Vettori: Well, the split's okay with me, Rico.
Rico Bandello: How about you boys? No hard feelings, Sam? We gotta stick together. [to the gang] There's a rope around my neck right now, and they only hang you once. If anybody turns yellow and squeals, my gun's gonna speak its piece.

Rico Bandello: What does that bull want in here? I'll show him where he gets off... [To Flaherty] Who invited you here?
Sgt. Flaherty: You're getting up in the world, aren't you, Rico?
Rico Bandello: The downstairs is open to anybody, even cops, but the upstairs is private.
Sgt. Flaherty: Thanks, but I like to keep my eye on you, Rico. You see, I'm your friend. I like to see a young fellow getting up in the world. That's all. So long.

Sgt. Flaherty: [after Rico is shot] So somebody finally put one in you.
Rico Bandello: Yeah, but they just grazed me, though.
Sgt. Flaherty: The old man will be glad to hear it. He takes such an interest in you.
Rico Bandello: Are you telling me the cops couldn't get me no other way, so they hired a couple of gunmen?
Sgt. Flaherty: If I wasn't on the force, I'd have done the job cheap.
Rico Bandello: Did you ever stop to think what you'd look like with a lily in your hand?
Sgt. Flaherty: No, I never did. I've been in this game a good many years, and I put the cuffs on a lot of mugs. Some day, you and I are gonna take a ride, Rico. And when we do, I'll have the cuffs on you too.
Rico Bandello: No buzzard like you would ever put any cuffs on Rico.
Sgt. Flaherty: [after Rico departs] I'm gonna get that swell-headed mug if it's the last thing I ever do.

Rico Bandello: Yeah, dancing's all right for a sideline. It gives you a swell front. But it ain't my idea of a man's game.
Joe Massara: What's the difference Rico, as long as I ain't kickin', why should you kick?
Rico Bandello: Who's kicking? Why should a young guy like you be wasting his time? And I kinda took pride in ya, Joe. Brought you into the gang, pushed you ahead, but now you're gettin' to be a sissy.

Rico Bandello: We started off together, didn't we? Well, we gotta keep going along together. Who else have I got to give a hang about? I need ya, Joe. I got the biggest chance of my life. The Big Boy just handed me the whole North Side, but it's too much for one man to handle alone. I need somebody, somebody to work in with me, a guy like you. Somebody I can trust.
Joe Massara: It can't be me, Rico. I've quit.
Rico Bandello: You didn't quit. Nobody ever quit me. You're still in my gang. Do you get that? (grabbing his lapel) I don't care how many fancy skirts you got hangin' on to you. That Jane of yours can go hang. It's her that's made a softie out of you.
Joe Massara: You lay off Olga...
Rico Bandello: I ain't layin' off of her. I'm after her. One of us is gonna lose and it ain't gonna be me. There's ways of stoppin' that dame.
Joe Massara: You're crazy! Leave her out of this.
Rico Bandello: Aw, she's through. She's out of the way, that's what she is.
Joe Massara: You're lying. You wouldn't dare.
Rico Bandello: [brandishing his hand] I wouldn't, wouldn't I? I'll show ya.
Joe Massara: I love her. We're in love with one another. Doesn't that mean nothin' to ya?
Rico Bandello: Nothin'. Less than nothin'. Love! Soft stuff! When she's got you, you ain't no good for anything. We ain't out of this yet. Now we don't want no softies spilling things.
Joe Massara: I ain't gonna spill anything if that's what you're scared of.
Rico Bandello: You go back to that dame and it's suicide. Suicide for both of ya.

Sgt. Flaherty: You'd better give up, Rico. You haven't got a chance.
Rico Bandello: You want me, you'll have to come and get me.
Sgt. Flaherty: You'd better be a nice boy, Enrico, and come out.
Rico Bandello: You heard me. If you want me, you'll have to come and get me.
Sgt. Flaherty: I'll be with you in a minute...[Flaherty aims a large machine-gun at the billboard] This is your last chance, Rico. Are you coming out or do you want to be carried out?
[Flaherty shoots the machine gun at the billboard; Rico stumbles out and falls after being shot]
Sgt. Flaherty: Well, Rico, it looks like you and I are going to take that little ride together.
Rico Bandello: [snarling] No, no, we ain't. I told you, little buzzard like you will never put any cuffs on me.
Sgt. Flaherty: You should have come out when I told you to, Rico.
Rico Bandello: Mother of Mercy! Is this the end of Rico?


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