Well this is kind of hard because you had some great crime dramas over the years. Where you have James Cagney in White Heat from 1949; Bogart opposite Edward G Robinson. what would be their last screen appearance together in Key Largo. Bogart again in High Sierra in the early 1940’s sending him finally to stardom. I can go on and on. I believe deep down the last true great gangster film was.
Raoul Walsh directed Bogart in High Sierra and Cagney In White Heat
Raoul Walsh’s The Roaring Twenties from 1939; Starring James Cagney Humphrey Bogart, and Gladys George with Priscilla Lane, and Jeffery Lynn. This also marks the last time Humphrey Bogart, and James Cagney appear in a gangster, and or any film over all together again. Although they co starred in 1939’s The Oklahoma Kids. The Roaring Twenties was to be released last of that year.
James Cagney was born in New York City
The Roaring Twenties Chronicles the rise and fall of Cagney’s character Eddie Bartlett, from his stint in the Army during WW l and his rise to New York crime lord to his ultimate demise. Very good screen play by up and coming director Robert Rossen. Who directed Paul Newman years later in The Hustler.
I’m sure by the late 1930’s Cagney was sick and tired of playing gangsters, and opted for more lighter roles, comedies, non gangster dramas, such as The Fighting 69th, City For Conquest probably the first noir film released in 1940; Then we have The Strawberry Blonde, and a reuniting with Bette Davis in the Bride Came C.O.D
Humphrey Bogart’s last film was the Harder They Fall from 1956
James Cagney would return as the psychopathic Cody Jarrett in one last great crime drama in White Heat. Their is no way it holds a candle to his performance as Eddie Bartlett in 1939’s The Roaring Twenties.