Release dateDecember 1, 1957 (1957-12-01) (United States) WriterDaniel Mainwaring (screenplay), Irving Shulman (screenplay), Irving Shulman (story) Story byDaniel Mainwaring, Irving Shulman CastMickey Rooney (Lester M. 'Baby Face Nelson' Gillis), Carolyn Jones (Sue Nelson), Cedric Hardwicke (Doc Saunders (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)), Leo Gordon (John Dillinger), Anthony Caruso (John Hamilton), Jack Elam (Fatso Nagel) Similar moviesDesperate, The Big Sleep, Goodfellas, The Night of the Hunter, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Asphalt Jungle
Taglinethe baby-face punk who became the FBI's PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1!
Baby face nelson 1957 mickey rooney
Baby Face Nelson is a 1957 film noir crime film based on the real-life 1930s gangster, directed by Don Siegel, co-written by Daniel Mainwaring—who also wrote the screenplay for Siegel's 1956 sci-fi thriller Invasion of the Body Snatchers—and starring Mickey Rooney, Carolyn Jones, Cedric Hardwicke, Leo Gordon, Anthony Caruso, Jack Elam and John Hoyt.
Chicago mob boss Rocca manages to get Lester Gillis sprung from jail in Joliet. His motive is to have Gillis kill a labor organizer, but Gillis refuses, preferring to work with Rocca's gang on robberies instead. He meets mob moll Sue Nelson and they start a relationship. He is relaxing, alone in his hotel room, when cops burst in, finding a gun Rocca has planted to frame Gillis for the labor leader's murder. Gillis vows revenge, escapes from the cops with Sue's help, then guns down Rocca and two henchmen. He adopts Sue's surname as an alias.
In a holdup at a pharmacy, Gillis is winged by a gunshot. He goes to Doc Saunders, whose patients include America's most wanted criminal, John Dillinger (portrayed by Leo Gordon). Acquiring a nickname, "Baby Face Nelson", a grateful Gillis joins up with Dillinger and quickly becomes the FBI's second most wanted man.
The ruthless Baby Face goes on a shooting spree, even killing innocent motorists just to steal a car. He doesn't like playing second fiddle to Dillinger, but after the arch-criminal is shot in Chicago, it becomes Baby Face's turn to be public enemy number one. He commits multiple murders, even killing Doc in a fit of anger, and frightens Sue by placing a rifle sight on children.
Trapped by a roadblock, Baby Face flees on foot and is shot several times. Stumbling to a graveyard, he pleads with Sue at first, then taunts her, to put him out of his misery, and she does.
Mickey Rooney as Lester M. 'Baby Face Nelson' Gillis
Carolyn Jones as Sue Nelson
Cedric Hardwicke as Doc Saunders
Leo Gordon as John Dillinger
Anthony Caruso as John Hamilton
Jack Elam as Fatso Nagel
John Hoyt as Samuel Parker
Ted de Corsia as Rocca
Elisha Cook, Jr. as Homer Van Meter
Robert Osterloh as FBI Agent Johnson
Thayer David as Connelly
Dabbs Greer as FBI Agent Charles Bonner
George E. Stone as Mr. Hall - Bank Manager
Lisa Davis as Ann Saper - the Lady in Red
Emile Meyer as Mac - Detective
Dan Terranova as Miller
Murray Alper as Alex - Bank Guard
Harry Antrim as Pharmacist
Tom Fadden as Postman Harkins
Duke Mitchell as Solly - Pool Hall Attendant
When the film was released film critic Bosley Crowther panned the film writing, "Baby Face Nelson, heading the double bill on the Loew's circuit, is a thoroughly standard, pointless and even old-fashioned gangster picture, the kind that began going out along with the oldtime sedans. As a matter of fact, one of the few absorbing sights in this United Artists release, starring Mickey Rooney, is a continual procession of vintage jaloppys, chugging in and out of the proceedings ... The other distinction, also mild, is Sir Cedric Hardwicke's professional portrait of a seedy, lecherous and alcoholic physician who consorts with criminals."