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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 »
1,767 ( 94)
1 win & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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


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 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


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although Billie Frechette was never given a "third degree" interrogation by the FBI, as shown in the movie, the FBI Agents did, in fact, perform similar tactics on Helen Nelson (the wife of Baby Face Nelson), Alvin Carpis, and a John Dillinger associate in Chicago, named James Probasco. In the instance of Probasco, he ended up falling to his death from a upper-floor window. Offically, it is believed he committed suicide in order to avoid further interrogation. However, some historians believe that the FBI Agents interrogating Probasco attempted to make him talk, by hanging him out of a window, and that the Agents lost their grip on him. See more »


While at the race track, the characters sit on molded green plastic seats which did not exist in the 1930s. See more »


[Dillinger, Pierpont and Makley walk up the stairs into a bank lobby; Makley walks over to one of the guards]
Charles Makley: How are you today?
[whips the guard, who falls to the floor]
Charles Makley: On the floor now! Now! Do it! Do it!
[Dillinger heads for a marble railing]
Charles Makley: On the floor! Down! Now!
[Dillinger leaps over the railing, Thompson in his right hand, and grabs the manager]
John Dillinger: Let's play a game, Mr. President. It's called Spin the Dial.
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Crazy Credits

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


Features Gold Diggers of '49 (1935) See more »


Love Me or Leave Me
Music by Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Performed by Billie Holiday featuring Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not one of Mann's best, but still...
13 August 2009 | by See all my reviews

Whenever a Michael Mann movie comes out, I am besieged by expectations. This is one director whose style I seem to consistently like. The Insider, Heat, Collateral, The Last of the Mohicans, and yes.. I LOVED Miami Vice the movie (despite the many negative reviews it seemed to have got). So, when Public Enemies came out, and seeing Mann team up with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, I knew I could not miss this. However, probably because of the high standards he has set for himself, I was a little disappointed with this.

The story is about a gangster bank robber, John Dillinger(Johnny Depp), back in the '30's, who pulled off a couple of daring heists and prison breaks. He was generally considered a hero among the public, as this was during the years of the great depression and Dillinger was seen as someone who steals from the rich man. A fledging FBI, led by the peerless J. Edgar Hoover, decide to hunt him down so that they can grow the organization, and name him Public Enemy Number 1. Melvin Purvis(Christian Bale) is assigned the task of leading this group of agents.

Johnny Depp is as usual great, but you get a feeling he would have been even better if the script had given enough scope to explore the character of Dillinger. The same goes with his love interest, played by Marillon Cotillard. Again, a wonderful actress, but at times the love story seemed forced into the story. Despite this, they have great chemistry.

Which brings me to Christian Bale. This is an actor who has so much more to offer than the half baked roles he has been getting this year. You get a feeling this year that he is being offered big movies which don't give him a character he can bite his teeth into. First there was Terminator Salvation, and now this. In both, his character never really seemed into the movie as compared to the others. I'm waiting to see a movie again where he will assert himself.

Despite the flaws, this is still a good movie from Mann. Just don't go in expecting it to out do his best.

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