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The Time of Your Life


In this adaptation of William Saroyan's award-winning play The Time of Your Life, James Cagney plays a gentle barfly named Joe who settles in Nick's (William Bendix) Bar with various colorful characters like an imaginative old cowboy or a tap dancing comic who can't get laughs. His sister Jeanne plays Kitty Duval, a woman who claims to once have been in burlesque. She and her brother have some of the most touching scenes in the movie. The pace takes a while to get used to but if you're in the mood for something optimistically offbeat, The Time of Your Life should be up your alley.

The Time of Your Life is a 1948 film starring James Cagney adapted from the 1939 William Saroyan play The Time of Your Life. A Cagney Production, The Time of Your Life was produced by Cagney's brother William, adapted by Nathaniel Curtis, and directed by H. C. Potter. Cinematography was by James Wong Howe.

Plot and Production

Shot mostly on one set, the film follows the adventures of a group of regulars at Nick's 'Pacific Street Saloon, Restaurant and Entertainment Palace' in San Francisco. A sign outside tells people to come in as they are.
At the center is the wealthy Joe (James Cagney), who has given up working to hold court at William Bendix's bar. He desires to live "a civilized life" without hurting anyone and believes the real truth in people is found in their dreams of themselves, not the hard facts of their actual existence.A new action-packed climax was substituted with Cagney beating the daylights out of Blick and Nick throwing him out onto the street.
The film was a miserable failure at the box office. A Playhouse 90 The Time of Your Life (1958 TV drama) ten years later starring Jackie Gleason as Joe earned critical acclaim, with Jack Klugman as Nick, Dick York as Tom, Betsy Palmer as Kitty, and James Barton reprising his role as Kit Carson.


  • James Cagney ... Joseph T. (who observes people)
  • William Bendix ... Nick (saloon owner who loves horses)
  • Wayne Morris (American actor) ... Tom (Joe's stooge and friend)
  • Jeanne Cagney ... Kitty Duval (stage name of Katerina Koronovsky)
  • Broderick Crawford ... Krupp (a bewildered cop)
  • Ward Bond ... McCarthy (a blatherskite — a person who blathers a lot)
  • James Barton (vaudevillian) ... Kit Carson (a cowboy also called Murphy)
  • Paul Draper (dancer) ... Harry (the natural-born tap dancing comedian)
  • Gale Page ... Mary L. (a woman of quality)
  • Jimmy Lydon ... Dudley Raoul Bostwick (a young man in love) (billed as James Lydon)
  • Richard Erdman ... Willie (the pinball machine maniac)
  • Tom Powers ... Freddie Blick (a stool pigeon and frame up artist)
  • Pedro de Cordoba ... Arab philosopher
  • Reginald Beane ... Wesley (the pianist)
  • John 'Skins' Miller ... Drunk
  • Natalie Schafer....Bar patron


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