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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.

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1 win & 14 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Turnkey
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Michael Vieau ...
Ed Shouse
John Kishline ...
Guard Dainard
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Carol Slayman
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Walter Dietrich
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Jim Leslie
John Scherp ...
Earl Adams
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

America's Most Wanted


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enemigos públicos  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,271,675, 5 July 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$97,104,620, 28 July 2012

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$214,104,620, 28 July 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Dillinger's lawyer at Crown Point, Louis Piquett (pronounced "pick it"), never went to law school. He passed the bar on his fourth attempt, receiving his license to practice in 1920. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence, John Dillinger appears at the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City and helps his pals in the escape. Dillinger was actually in the Montgomery County Jail in Dayton, Ohio, the day the escape occurred and transferred to Lima the following day. See more »

Quotes

Last Title Card: Melvin Purvis quit the FBI a year later and died by his own hand in 1960. Billie Frechette was released in 1936 and lived the rest of her life in Wisconsin.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Tavis Smiley: Episode dated 20 January 2010 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

After the Shooting
(2007)
Written by Gustavo Santaolalla, Johan Söderqvist
From the Original Motion Picture Things We Lost in the Fire (2007)
Courtesy of DW Studios L.L.C.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Well-Made Cinematically, But Shallow
3 July 2009 | by See all my reviews

Who was John Dillinger? We all know he was a flamboyant criminal who robbed banks, but who WAS he? The question of who Dillinger WAS is far more interesting than the question of what Dillinger DID, but this film, sadly, chose only to concentrate seriously on the latter and gave up almost immediately on the former.

This film goes out of its way--with a poor grasp of history's time-line, by the way--to show us what Dillinger did and who he hung around with, but it does next to nothing to explore who Dillinger was as a person or even as a criminal. It hints that Dillinger might be a passionate lover and loyal friend, but shows us little evidence aside from a few thrown-together seduction scenes (which make his girlfriend/heroine look like a dim-witted pushover) and an awkward love scene.

Even Dillinger's foil, Melvin Purvis, is a mystery in Mann's hands. Did he care about justice at all, or was he just a fascist on a personal crusade? Was he competent in the least or was he just a bumbling idiot? Squinty-eyed stares can only convey so much, after all.

Michael Mann seems to be in a terrible hurry to tell this story, as he is stuck between the rock of having to relate a relatively complete "crime-ography" of a notorious American gangster and the hard place of keeping the movie shorter than 2 1/2 hours.

As a result, a beautifully shot and edited movie that had a lot of promise ends up little more than a dumb, shoot-'em-up action movie wearing the fedora of "historical romance." Good for a date, but not a serious film.

Grade: C+. Things to look for: Mann's ham-handed and laughably obvious political commentary on the use of torture about 2/3 of the way through the movie; psychotically trigger-happy Baby Face Nelson well-played by Stephen Graham; cool old products (Zenth radio); great fashion sense.


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