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Dillinger Is Dead (1969)
"Dillinger è morto" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  23 January 1969 (Italy)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,353 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 22 critic

Back home, Glauco, an industrial designer, finds his wife in bed with a serious headache. She has left him dinner but it is cold and Glauco decides to prepare himself a gourmet meal. While ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview:
Gino Lavagetto ...
Marinaio (as Gigi Lavagetto)
Mario Jannilli ...
Proprietaria del battello
Adriano Aprà ...
Cinema critic
Carla Petrillo


Back home, Glauco, an industrial designer, finds his wife in bed with a serious headache. She has left him dinner but it is cold and Glauco decides to prepare himself a gourmet meal. While looking for some kitchenware, he discovers a revolver wrapped in a newspaper dating from 1934 announcing the death of famed mobster John Dillinger. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 January 1969 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Dillinger Is Dead  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Italian censorship visa # 52905 delivered on 17-12-1968. See more »


Referenced in The Seed of Man (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

Mesmerizingly original
25 July 2013 | by (Poland) – See all my reviews

A well-off industrial designer, Glauco, comes back home and sees his wife who allegedly has a headache and rests in bed. She leaves him a cold dinner, lest Glauco should feel hungry. Nevertheless, Glauco chooses to prepare the meal on his own. While cooking, he discloses a gun wrapped in a newspaper which recounts events regarding a famous mobster Dillinger's demise…

Whilst reading this paragraph, one is likely to scratch his head and reassure this is what the movie is genuinely about. This is no mistake – Dillinger is Dead is precisely a product of its time. A bold, weird and mesmerizingly original film which has more in common with existentialism and fantasy than Dillinger himself. The concept of merging reality with surrealism and transmuting it into an artistic manifestation is indubitably exquisite. Straightforwardly speaking, the story by Ferreri is an infant of sheer uniqueness and it stimulates one's senses. Despite the fact that the whole motion picture is virtually filmed solely in Glauco's apartment, Ferreri aptly lunges the plot and it consequently never drags or feels rushed. The characters existent in the flick sporadically encounter one another and the action generally revolves around Glauco. Neither does one get to know his past, nor his views on the outer world. Yet, his mental state is absolutely precise and visible inasmuch his soul is diaphanous owing to Ferreri's fantastic mise-en-scène which visualises Glauco's existential ennui by exposing his disparate acts in his home which serve totally nothing. The protagonist seems nearly a phantom creeping through ensuing chambers of his apartment. He desperately endeavours to do something, satisfy himself anyhow, still he is at a loss for options. His behaviour perpetuated on the celluloid consists of most probably his everyday activities. This enchantingly articulates the meaninglessness and pointlessness of his life. What is new in his life is the weapon wrapped in the mysterious newspaper which inscrutably appears in his apartment. Once he finds the gun, he gradually embarks on altering his life and this is the onset of his transformation which leads to the abrupt and outré denouement.

Mario Vulpiani's cinematography captures the infertility of Glauco's actions in an eye-pleasing manner and it's occasionally ravishing and co-operates with the soundtrack by Teo Usuelli duly. The performance by Michel Piccoli is very good, resembling his appearances in Bunuel movies in which he plays analogous roles. His minimalistic attitude is very appropriate and renders the character plausible.

While portraying existential ennui wasn't something ground-breaking and refreshing in 1969, what strikes in case of Dillinger is Dead is Ferreri's atypical execution of the material. Apart from being structurally quite precisely delineated and recounted, it's far from being a film reminiscent of Edward Munch's painting The Scream or Antonioni flicks. What one might behold here is a huge irony, enormous portions of dark humour and hilarious wickedness. Given that Ferreri was a leftist, it may be analysed as criticism of bourgeois class – filled with money, yet incapable of spending it on laudable aims or developing their interests since there are not such for them. Hence, the movie works well as a wicked depiction of pointlessness of human in modern society as well as a political and satirical manifesto. No matter how sophisticatedly one approaches Dillinger is Dead, it is a highly riveting piece of cinematographic extravaganza which ought to appeal to those seeking for something else and lovers of the sixties or art-house cinema, whereas all others should make allowances for the possibility that this slow-paced, somewhat plot less quirk might be emotionally insufficient and boring as well as possibly exasperating for some.

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