"You dirty, yellow-bellied rat!"
Description - The legendary insult spoken by film actor James Cagney in the motion picture Taxi! (1932).
In the film, cab driver Matt Nolan, whose brother, Danny (Ray Cooke) is knifed in the back at a club by Buck Gerard (David Landau), a taxi syndicate’s hit man who meant to kill Matt, but Danny got in the way.
Later, when Matt corners his brother’s murderer in a locked room, he yells, “Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I’ll give it to you through the door.”
At first, Buck's girlfriend tries to stop Matt from killing her lover, but Matt tosses her aside. Then Sue Riley (Loretta Young), Matt's wife tries to prevent Matt from killing Buck, and Matt says, "Why you dirty double crossing little tramp, you sold me out.”
Sue tells the police Matt has a gun hidden in the mattress, so she can prevent him from exacting revenge on Buck, but Matt grabs the gun, and shoots through the door despite Sue’s interference.
When he finishes, he tells the cops, "Now you can have him.” The police tear open the locked closet and Matt rush inside to discover that Buck jumped from a window and died on the sidewalk below.
Note: When Matt first met Sue, he said of her, “I wouldn't go with that dame if she was the last woman on earth, and I just got out of the Navy.”
In the film Blonde Crazy (1931) James Cagney as cocky con man Bert Harris says, “Mmm, that dirty, double-crossin’ rat!” Additionally, Cagney starred in Each Dawn I Die (1939) as a reporter framed for manslaughter, but it was actor Ed Pawley as a convict named Dale who shouts, “Listen, you dirty rats in there!”
The phrase “You dirty rat!” phrase has been a staple of Cagney impressionists for years, especially the phrase, “You dirty rat! You're the guy that killed my brother.”