- The Dead End kids terrorized the set during shooting. They threw other actors off with their add-libbing, and once cornered costar Humphrey Bogart and stole his trousers. But they didn't figure on James Cagney's street-bred toughness. The first time Leo Gorcey pulled an add-lib on Cagney, the star stiff-armed the young actor right above the nose. From then on, the gang behaved.
- Because of the controversy over gangster films, the film was banned outright in Denmark, China, Poland, Finland, and parts of Canada and Switzerland.
- To play Rocky, Cagney drew on his memories of growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen. His main inspiration was a drug-addicted pimp who stood on a street corner all day hitching his trousers, twitching his neck, and repeating, "Whadda ya hear! Whadda ya say!" Those mannerisms came back to haunt Cagney. He later wrote in his autobiography," I did those gestures maybe six times in the picture. That was over thirty years ago - and the impressionists have been doing me doing him ever since."
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