Eddie Bartlett (Cagney), Lloyd Hart (Lynn) and George Hally (Bogart) are three doughboys who meet in a trench during the First World War. Returning to the States with the armistice, Eddie soon drifts into lucrative underworld commerce brought on by prohibition, eventually teaming with his old foxhole buddies in a vast bootlegging operation. But with greed rearing its ugly head, the whole enterprise is ill-fated.
A breakthrough for director Walsh, this classic boasts electric performances from both Cagney and soon-to-be-star Bogie. Consistent with most Bogart portrayals from the thirties, his George Hally is a low double-crosser who puts the screws to the honorable (in his way) Eddie. Consistent with most Cagney roles, Eddie gets his revenge. "Twenties" is a worthy swan song to the glory days of the gangster picture — and just wait for that immortal closing line of dialogue.