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Public Enemies (2009)

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The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1,298 ( 104)
1 win & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Judd ...
Michael Vieau ...
John Kishline ...
Carol Slayman
John Scherp ...


This is the story of the last few years of the notorious bank robber John Dillinger. He loved what he did and could imagine little else that would make him happier. Living openly in 1930s Chicago, he had the run of the city with little fear of reprisals from the authorities. It's there that he meets Billie Frechette with whom he falls deeply in love. In parallel we meet Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent who would eventually track Dillinger down. The FBI was is in its early days and Director J. Edgar Hoover was keen to promote the clean cut image that so dominated the organization through his lifetime. Purvis realizes that if he is going to get Dillinger, he will have to use street tactics and imports appropriate men with police training. Dillinger is eventually betrayed by an acquaintance who tells the authorities just where to find him on a given night. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


America's Most Wanted

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for gangster violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enemigos públicos  »

Box Office


$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$25,271,675 (USA) (3 July 2009)


$97,030,725 (USA) (28 August 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While filming on location in Oshkosh, WI a boy aged 11 told Johnny Depp he loved his fedora hat and would like to have one like it. Depp told the boy he would see what he could do about that. After filming finished, Depp sent the boy the hat in the mail. See more »


John Dillinger arrived at Midway Airport, Chicago, at six p.m. January 30, 1934, after a grueling plane trip that started from Tucson. In the film, it's raining quite heavily upon his arrival at Midway. There was no precipitation at all that evening in Chicago. This is confirmed by the old newsreels. See more »


John Dillinger: The public don't like kidnapping.
Alvin Karpis: Who gives a damn what the public likes?
John Dillinger: I do. I hide out among them. We gotta care what they think.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title of the movie is not shown until the end credits. See more »


Written and Performed by John Powell
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
From the Original Motion Picture The Thin Red Line (1998)
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

1930's Chicago Revisited in Style
3 July 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Eighty years after the events, Michael Mann takes on the Period Chicago Gangster genre, and wins, with this entertaining story. Do not be put off by some churlish carping from the critics, much of which is generated by the very high standards that Mann's films are now judged. The lengthy 140 minute running time flies by leaving the audience wondering about what could have been added to the story, not what should have been omitted.

Essentially this is the story of the life, in his heyday, and death of Gangster John Dillinger. It bounces along, leaving little room for back story or leisurely character development, like Dillinger,it lives for the moment. Johhny Depp is superb as Dillinger, Christian Bale a thoroughly convincing Melvin Purvis, his taciturn but determined G-Man nemesis.

A plot curio is that some time is given over to J Edgar Hoover's fight to establish an FBI with Purvis operating as his local enforcer.But the role is under developed, it could be dropped with no impact on the plot, making you wonder how much extra footage was left on the cutting room floor, hopefully set for an appearance on the DVD.

Marion Cotillard, a native Frenchwoman, plays the part of the leading lady, and Dillingers love interest, well enough. In a role which offers infrequent appearances, she conforms to the genre requirements of being easily bedded, hit, and cries on demand.

Critics have queried the way that the digital film is shot.There is none of the lushness of "last of the Mohicans", nor the grittiness of "Collateral", but the compelling plot leaves little time to worry about that.Review audiences also complained of poor sound quality and mumbled dialogue, not faults that I could identify with on this showing.

The "showdown" between Dillinger and Purvis happens early on, in a scene which is played straight and without lingering fanfare, it is certainly no re-run of De Niro v Pacino in "Heat".If the film lacks anything it is a sense of Tragedy, so wonderfully apparent in De Palma's "Carlitos Way". Depp and Purvis are played so ruthlessly and efficiently by Depp and Bale that pathos and emotional attachment are on pretty short display.

The period is lovingly recreated by Mann and the action sequences, unsurprisingly, never fail to disappoint, indeed when Dillinger is first shown robbing a bank his vault over the counter is seen in graceful slow motion. Diana Krall has a pleasing cameo as a nightclub torch singer performing "Bye Bye Blackbird" and the costumes are a consistent delight.

Punchy, light on its feet and offering weighty roles for Depp and Bale, this will be enjoyed by ardent fans and the curious alike.

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Worst cinematography in recent memory. backofthemind
I hated Dillinger and wanted him to die. What did I miss? iamdoingthat
Why was Carey Mulligan in this movie? rediguana
So incredibly factually wrong read the book. alphaboo
Melvin Purvis played by Christian Bale ending incorrect did not suicide worriedresident
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