The american dream and the culture of appearances in Mervyn Leroy’s Little Caesar

Elder Kôei Itikawa Tanaka


Known as the precursor of the gangster sound films from this genre’s “classic” period, Little Caesar, directed by Mervyn LeRoy in 1930, narrates Rico Bandello’s (Edward G. Robinson) path from his rise as a gang leader to his death. Little Caesar established the parameters followed by the gangster films in the 1930s and also contributed to the image of the gangster as an American icon due to its dissemination through the cultural industry, mainly on films. Our objective with this present article is to verify through the analysis of some of the scenes how the culture of appearances and the ideology of the American Dream are configured throughout the narrative.


American Dream; Little Caesar; American Cinema; Organized Crime; Gangster


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