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The Lawless Years: First Complete Season
The Lawless Years First Complete Season
Actors: James Gregory, Robert Karnes, Burt Reynolds, Martin Landau, Robert Fuller
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2006     12hr 0min

This 1959-61 police series starred James Gregory in an authentic, action-packed re-creation of the incredible exploits of New York City Police Detective Sergeant Barney Ruditsky. This is the complete first season!


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Movie Details

Actors: James Gregory, Robert Karnes, Burt Reynolds, Martin Landau, Robert Fuller
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Classic TV, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Timeless Media Group
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 03/07/2006
Original Release Date: 04/16/1959
Theatrical Release Date: 04/16/1959
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 12hr 0min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Untouchables in New York
Raymond Lyman | Bowling Green, OH | 03/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The late 50s and early 60s were crowded with Prohibition gangster films and television shows. The most famous televison series of this type was THE UNTOUCHABLES with Robert Stack, but other TV shows included such lost gems as THE ROARING 20s and THE LAWLESS YEARS, starring James Gregory (Matt Helm's boss in three Dean Martin movies) as real life New York police lieutenant Barney Rudensky. As in the Robert Stack series taking place in Frank Nitti's Chicago, James Gregory confronted many historic New York mobsters, including Dutch Schultz, Legs Diamond and Charlie "Lucky" Luciano. These shows are filled with guest stars from that era and packed with blazing tommy gun action, sadistic extortion, loose women, mob rubouts and justice triumphant at the end of the episode. In one episode from the first season Robert Stack as Elliot Ness even makes a guest appearance. While THE UNTOUCHABLES this is not, it is the best substitute you will find until that classic is finally released. THE LAWLESS YEARS is far better than most of the police shows currrently released from the 1970s, 80s and 90s and deserves more attention than Amazon is currently giving it, without even an image or description. James Gregory is one of the finest character actors in the business and his Barney Rudensky is the kind of deadpan role he excelled at. If you miss Prohibition, bathtub gin, burley queens and tough cops who never heard of Miranda, then you can't miss this great show. And 27 hour-long episodes is a bargain you can't refuse."
Untouchables Lite
Marvella | United States | 06/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For those who are waiting for The Untouchables to come out on DVD (don't hold your breath!)here is something almost as satisfying--The Lawless Years. It's only a half hour show, and there's less 'violence', but this show definitely has the same flavor of the times as The Untouchables and James Gregory is superb as Gangster Squad detective, Barney Ruditsky. In fact, many of the best character actors of the early 60s who have appeared on The Untouchables also guest star on The Lawless Years. However, Robert Stack does NOT make an appearance as Eliot Ness. That would have been perfect since James Gregory has guest starred on The Untouchables, but the person who wrote that is mistaken.

I hope the second season of this show will soon be released, it's well worth it. You won't be disappointed with this one, they cover all the gangsters of the era, though some names have been changed, but you will be able to guess who they are.

Don't let the garish sepia tone (more burnt orange than sepia) keep you away from viewing this show. Perhaps they tinted it to distinguish it from the crisp black and white noir of The Untouchables. But you will get so absorbed in the show you will soon get used to the unusual color tint."
Enjoyable James Gregory crime series comes to DVD
Robert Huggins | Suburban Philadelphia, PA United States | 03/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"During the mid-1950s to early 1960s, California National Productions was the NBC television network's in-house production arm. According to, California National was responsible for the production of about a dozen television series, most of which lasted a season or two at best, and are now largely forgotten. Among those was "The Lawless Years," a crime series set in New York City during the prohibition years. James Gregory stars as real-life cop Barney Ruditsky, with the real Ruditsky serving as the series' technical adviser. Each episode (produced for a 30 minute time slot) featured the story of a different gangster. There are plenty of up and coming actors and familiar faces in the weekly stories. For example, the first episode features Vic Morrow, Jan Merlin, and Harry Dean Stanton. In addition to Gregory, Robert Karnes, as Ruditsky's associate Max Fields, is the only other regular in the series. Interestingly, this series debuted about six months prior to the similarly themed, but better known and more popular crime series "The Untouchables," which told the story of Eliot Ness' exploits in Chicago.

It's difficult to give this DVD release from the Timeless Media Group a full five star rating, but one has to give them credit for taking a chance on releasing this relatively obscure show that's been little seen since its original broadcasts. There are some issues with the visual quality of the presentation, chief of which is a yellow/sepia tint that was apparently added at some point after the series' prime-time run (in black & white). I can only assume that the producers must have felt that the tinting of the shows would help it later on in syndication as television transitioned from black & white to color in the mid-1960s. Regardless, the tinting is distracting but can easily be removed by adjusting the color on your television set. What you're left with are relatively clean and defect-free prints, though they are a little "soft" looking and don't have the crisp resolution often found on shows from the same era released by the major studios. But once you correct the tinting issue, the episodes are very watchable.

This series will very likely appeal to fans of "The Untouchables" (still "missing in action" on DVD as of this writing), as well as anyone interested in period crime dramas. My rating is closer to *** & 1/2 due to the good, but not great, visual presentation.
This box contains BOTH seasons #1 and #2
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 03/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD set actually contains all the episodes of THE LAWLESS YEARS that aired during its initial TWO season network run: nineteen episodes of season #1 and the eight that comprised season #2, which was suspended halfway through, probably due to poor ratings. Eighteen months after this enforced hiatus, "The Lawless Years" returned for a second go-round-- this time lasting 20 weeks, most of those during the summer of 1961.

THE LAWLESS YEARS was broadcast on the NBC-TV network at 8 pm, starting in April of 1959. Based on the memoirs of detective Barney Ruditsky (who was also the program's consultant), "The Lawless Years" is set in Prohibition-era America. Starring as Ruditsky is James Gregory with co-star Robert Karnes as Max Fields.

Just like ONE STEP BEYOND, which was surpassed by THE TWILIGHT ZONE (even though the former was first on the air), "The Lawless Years" was unable to turn a six-month head start on the similarly-themed Roaring Twenties crime show "The Untouchables" into anything more than a 47 episode TV stay.

THE LAWLESS YEARS: The Third Season completes your collection of this gangland/cops television series.


The Nick Joseph Story (4/16/59) - Vic Morrow/Harry Dean Stanton/Stanley Adams
The Immigrant (4/23/59) - Clu Gulager/Virginia Christine/Shepherd Sanders
The Jane Cooper Story (4/30/59) - Rebecca Welles/Henry Corden/Paul Clarke
The Story of Cutie Jaffe (5/7/59) - Robert Fuller/Bobs Watson/Bill Giorgio
The Dutch Schultz Story (5/14/59) - John Dennis/Ken Lynch/Jack Kruschen
The Lion and The Mouse (5/21/59) - Richard Bakalyan/Katherine Squire/Norman Alden
No Fare (5/28/59) - Joan Vohs/Al Ruscio/Irene Seidner/Steve Peck
The Payoff (6/11/59) - Burt Reynolds/Ruta Lee/Paul Corni/Robert Bice
The Marie Walters Story (6/18/59) - Barbara Stuart/Alex Gerry/Marc Towers
The Maxie Gorman Story (6/25/59) - Robert H. Harris/Terence de Marney/Barbara Stuart
The Muddy Kasoff Story (7/2/59) - Jerry Oddo/Nita Talbot/Bill Giorgio
Framed (7/16/59) - Milton Frome/Paul George/Caroline Hughes/Norman Alden
Four The Hard Way (7/23/59) - John Vivyan/Jack Kruschen/Lou Herbert
The Tony Morelli Story (7/30/59) - Tige Andrews/Ken Lynch/Toni Gerry
The Ray Baker Story (8/6/59) - Stanley Adams/Robert Carricart/Theodore Newton
The Story of Lucky Silva (8/13/59) - Martin Landau/Al Ruscio/Charles Cooper
The Morrison Story (8/20/59) - Phillip Coolidge/Rebecca Welles/George Mitchell
The Poison Ivy Story (8/27/59) - Frank DeKova/Harry Dean Stanton/Selette Cole
The Prantera Story (9/3/59) - Robert Strauss/Ann Carroll/Bartlett Robinson


The Al Brown Story (10/1/59) - Jack Weston/Robert Ellenstein/Wally Campo
The Big Greeny Story (10/8/59) - Jack Kruschen/John Vivyan/Peter Hornsby
The Art Harris Story (10/15/59) - Barry Kelley/John Beradino/John Eldridge
The Billy Boy Creel Story (11/5/59) - Johnny Seven/Val Avery/Barbara Stuart (uncredited: Jerry Paris)
The Big Man (11/12/59) - John Vivyan/Robert Osterloh/Harry Swoger
The Joe Angelo Story (11/19/59) - Arthur Batanides/Harry Brandon/Edward Platt
The Billy Grimes Story (12/3/59) - Walter Sande/Clancy Cooper/Harry Dean Stanton
The Sonny Rosen Story (12/17/59) - Peter Brocco/Dorothy Adams/John Gabriel"