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Public Enemies (1996)

Video  -  Drama | Thriller | Crime  -  19 April 1996 (USA)
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Glorified and glamourized fact-based tale of Ma Barker and her boys who robbed banks and generally terrorized the Midwest in the 1930's and was eventually gunned down by g-man, Melvin ... See full summary »


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Title: Public Enemies (Video 1996)

Public Enemies (Video 1996) on IMDb 3/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leah Best ...
Young Kate Clarke
Chip Heller ...
Mr. Clarke
Tom Ward ...
Brent O'Plotnik ...
Trevor Meeks ...
Lloyd Barker at 10 years
Joseph Lindsey ...
Joe Dain ...
Lloyd Barker (as Joseph Dain)
Terry D. Seago ...
Tall Sheriff


Glorified and glamourized fact-based tale of Ma Barker and her boys who robbed banks and generally terrorized the Midwest in the 1930's and was eventually gunned down by g-man, Melvin Purvis. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bank | 1930s | hideout | shotgun | raid | See more »


No one could stop them.


Drama | Thriller | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, some sex scenes, drug use and language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 April 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Public Enemy No. 1  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Kathy Bates was originally cast in Theresa Russell's role. See more »


The final shootout between Ma Barker and Melvin Purvis is captioned to have occurred in Lake "Wier" when in fact the location is near Lake Weir. See more »


Kate "Ma" Barker: You said, "Dead by Christmas." Is that the kind of chance you're talking about?
Melvin Purvis: You can't believe everything you read in the papers. I'm the F.B.I., not a bounty hunter.
Herman Barker: No difference.
See more »

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User Reviews

Pleased with what i saw
14 June 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Now, i was up late one night flipping thourhg the HBOs, Cinemaxs, what have you when I came upon Public enemy No.1. It starred Theresa Russel and other actors I've never heard (except for Frank Stallone and that name does not really spell greatness) so I was expecting something along the lines of a low rent Impulse only with more nudity, sex and all the good stuff and less of everything else. However as I read the little synopsis given, listed as a biography, it said tels the the story of Ma barker and her boys robbing banks in the 1930s. So now I did not know what to expect and what I got was rather enjoyable. The production did a rather nice job of recreating early 1900s America which is interesting in and of itself. Not knowing of Ma Barker before seeing this, I cannot really comment on the accuracy of Theresa Randle's portrayal of her but it appeared that all the actors and director were going for a more pure fun approach rather an authentic one. Also, as is the case with all movies about gangsters from the 1930s, it is, at time's over romanticized and it is trying too hard to make you like these people even though, in reality, you would really want nothing to do with them. What really surprised me was the amount of action that was in it. It has a slow beginning, as it kinda should since its developing the Ma Barker character and her kids but once they decide to rob banks, its like almost every ten minutes guns are being fired. These shoot-outs are well-done too and seem to adhere to the thinking of the 1930 gangsters (who had no real professional training in firearms) with some of the strategies taken by the Barker family. These scenes are also rather violent (another nice surprise).

I wouldn't go as far to say it was gratuitous or gory but the gunshot impacts are realistically graphic and the carmae rarely, if at all, shys away from them. What also made this film fun to watch was the portrayal of the early FBI. Again, I don't know if its accurate or not but it was very entertaining to watch the FBI guys do their thing because they were treating there job like a game (albiet a very serious one): the FBI vs. The various gangsters (The main FBi guy got a cigar for every one he either brought in or killed). All in all it is a very entertaining movie that does deal with a real family of robbers and killers that has god quality (and a good amount) of action. Speaking of action, you also get to see Alyssa Milano as a whore for a nice chunk of the film and she is always easy on the eyes and she does the part well.

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