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White Heat (1949)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  3 September 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 19,275 users  
Reviews: 149 user | 81 critic

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: White Heat (1949)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Margaret Wycherly ...
John Archer ...
Wally Cassell ...
Trader Winston


Cody Jarrett is the sadistic leader of a ruthless gang of thieves. Afflicted by terrible headaches and fiercely devoted to his 'Ma,' Cody is a volatile, violent, and eccentric leader. Cody's top henchman wants to lead the gang and attempts to have an 'accident' happen to Cody, while he is running the gang from in jail. But Cody is saved by an undercover cop, who thereby befriends him and infiltrates the gang. Finally, the stage is set for Cody's ultimate betrayal and downfall, during a big heist at a chemical plant. Written by Tad Dibbern <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Pick up the pieces folks, Jimmy's in action again! See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 September 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alma negra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The train robbery was filmed using the former Southern Pacific tunnel in Chatsworth, CA. The Line is now owned by Union Pacific and was the location of a tragic 2008 head-on collision that killed 25 people. See more »


In the opening railroad heist, there is a shot of a man jumping down from a tunnel portal onto the train. When he lands the mats used to break his fall can be clearly seen. See more »


Cody Jarrett: Big Ed, Great... Big... Ed. Know why they call him that? Because his ideas are big. Someday he's gonna get a really big one, about me. It'll be his last.
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Manhunt in Space (1992) See more »


Five O'Clock Whistle
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Josef Myrow, Kim Gannon & Gene Irwin
Played on a radio
See more »

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User Reviews

Made it Ma... Top of the world!
10 November 2004 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

They sure don't make them like this any more!

Blessed with a touch of genius...

Alfred Hitchcock once said that you need three things in order to make a good movie : good script, good script and good script! This is a perfect example of that statement. It is as simple as that! This movie is made in 1949 and today,almost 55 years later, it still holds up and is up there with the best gangster dramas of all time. Many would disagree but frankly who cares? None of the modern gangster flicks would be the same without existence of this movie, thats for sure. The script is just great,the score is excellent and dialog is amazing!!! (try comparing it with the standards of today) Every third sentence coming out of Cody Jarretts mouth is endlessly quotable, this movie is Scarface of its time. Cagneys character in this movie is larger than life, one of the greatest gangster characters of all time... James Cagney - perhaps his greatest performance ever! I see that some fools criticize his performance,saying that it isn't great at all. My question to you is : How many movies from '40s have you seen? How wooden was the acting in those days? The answer - extremely. There were few great actors in those days, whose genius could hold up against the acting giants of today and one of them is surely James Cagney!

One of top 10-15 gangster movies of all time!

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