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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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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John Judd ...
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John Kishline ...
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John Scherp ...
Elena Kenney ...
William Nero Jr. ...
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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

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America's Most Wanted


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Release Date:

1 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enemigos públicos  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It's true that John Dillinger enjoyed taking photographs of police officers when the opportunity presented itself, and even late in his career he would often attend Cubs games and frequent bars in Chicago, but he probably didn't enter the offices of the Dillinger Squad, as depicted in the film. Dillinger also tended to brag about his exploits. As with many other events in his life, he would have surely related such a fantastic thing to his family, his lawyer, or his lawyer's investigator, Art O'Leary, a man Dillinger often confided in. However, according to Bryan Burrough's book, he did enter the same building as the Chicago police department on a few occasions, and he did accompany Polly Hamilton into the building to get her waitress's license. See more »

Goofs

When Billie and John start dancing, she has a hand on his right shoulder, in the next shot she instantly has a hand on his left instead, where it remains for the rest of the dance. See more »

Quotes

J. Edgar Hoover: John Dillinger held up a bank for $74,000 while you failed to arrest Nelson.
Melvin Purvis: Sir, I take full responsibility. And I would like to make a request. That we transfer men with special qualifications to augment the staff here in Chicago. There are some former Texas and Oklahoma lawmen currently with the Bureau in Dallas.
J. Edgar Hoover: I thought you understood what I'm building. A modern force of professional young men of the best sort.
Melvin Purvis: I'm afraid our type cannot get the job done.
J. Edgar Hoover: Excuse me, I cannot hear you.
Melvin Purvis: Our...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground
(1927)
Written by Blind Willie Johnson (uncredited)
Performed by Blind Willie Johnson
Courtesy of Yazoo Records/Shanachie Entertainment Corp.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
John Dillinger- Public Enemy #1
1 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The year is 1933, it's the Great Depression. A time for the desperate to do the unthinkable. Crime was on the rise and people were suffering. For John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) it was a time of infinite possibilities and opportunities. To combat the sharp incline in rampant criminal activity, J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) forms the FBI, led by Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). Together they target Dillinger as public enemy number one. Relying on new methods of intelligence gathering (such as tracking the purchase location of a coat or recording phone conversations), the firepower of trained gunmen, and his own relentless nature, Purvis gets closer and closer to Dillinger and company.

"I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars... and you. What else do you need to know?" - John Dillinger. Johnny Depp IS John Dillinger. He's perfect for the role. The cool, confident and almost cocky nature of the character is really portrayed on screen (such as bragging to reporters about his bank jobs and teasing Purvis and agents who are after him). It's a look of how a man lived and succeeded in a hard time. Dillinger was a man that lived in the moment as only a man in the depression could. From the worlds on John Dillinger, "I'm to busy having fun today to even think about tomorrow." Who knows what tomorrow might bring? Bale also succeeds in his role and is a solid counterpart against Depp. It works well having two top, well known actors opposing each other on screen.

The film is directed by Michael Mann who brought us such films as Heat, The Insider, and Collateral and he adds another good film to his resume with this one. The action sequences, bank heists, and shootouts in this film are probably the biggest highlights. After all, this is from the same guy who gave us one of the most famous and arguably the best shootout of all time in Heat. The sequences are cool, slick, and gritty. Excellence at it's best. (I have to throw in a note of praise for the superb shootout at the Little Bohemia lodge, which was an extremely impressive scene)

The cat and mouse aspect makes it intriguing, but I think more could have been added to it. It just feels as if something was missing. Much of the film focuses on the love story between Dillinger and Billie Frechette (Marion Cottillard) It's also interesting to see the other gangsters of this time and how they relate to Dillinger and the criminal world.

Much has been made of Public Enemies being filmed on HD video, mostly complaints. I must say that at times, the picture looked amazing. The night sequences, especially looked beautifully slick and realistic. I loved the cinematography here. The cars, headlights, street lights, and everything looked fantastic. Other times, it doesn't look as good. It just felt as if something didn't look right. I'm not sure what to think about this.

One problem I had with this film would have to be the lack of character depth in many of the characters. At times, it seems as if we are expected to know and understand the characters before going to see the film because it is a real life story. But as a film, it could have developed the characters more to help us (and those who know nothing about Dillinger, his life, or Purvis and the FBI) understand them better. Another problem was some of the historical inaccuracies. Many things portrayed in the film, do not happen as they did in real life. Many sequences are just out of order. I know the filmmakers had to know about this and just tried to work it in as best as they could. It's not a documentary, it's a movie.

I really enjoyed Public Enemies. It's a solid crime drama and a good summer film. I understand expectations were through the roof, but that's a little hard to ask for. It's a really good film, but not quite a great one... The action is fun, the story is interesting. Maybe instead of being a very good film, it could have became a really great film if more was put into the characters? I'm not sure. It just felt as if something were missing. But who can knock a film for still being good?


274 of 449 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Worst cinematography in recent memory. backofthemind
Am I the only one who actually likes this movie? ritarams
Only the most ardent Mann fans will dispute this randywst16
I hated Dillinger and wanted him to die. What did I miss? iamdoingthat
Why was Carey Mulligan in this movie? rediguana
Are there any other good movies that involve tommy guns? mgrad784
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