MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 85 this week

Public Enemies (2009)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  1 July 2009 (USA)
7.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 186,719 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 569 user | 346 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 32 titles
created 28 Nov 2010
 
a list of 23 titles
created 27 Jul 2011
 
a list of 30 titles
created 02 Aug 2012
 
a list of 30 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Public Enemies" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Public Enemies (2009)

Public Enemies (2009) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Public Enemies.

User Polls

1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Donnie Brasco (1997)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An FBI undercover agent infilitrates the mob and finds himself identifying more with the mafia life to the expense of his regular one.

Director: Mike Newell
Stars: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen
Hollywoodland (2006)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A detective examines the mysterious death of George Reeves, TV's Superman.

Director: Allen Coulter
Stars: Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An Irish journalist is assassinated by drug dealers she wrote about in a series of stories.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Colin Farrell, Brenda Fricker
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Based on real life events, Assassination is set in 1974 and centers on a businessman who decides to take extreme measures to achieve his American dream.

Director: Niels Mueller
Stars: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle
Carlos the Jackal (TV Mini-Series 2010)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The story of Venezuelan revolutionary Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, who founded a worldwide terrorist organization and raided the 1975 OPEC meeting.

Stars: Édgar Ramírez, Alexander Scheer, Fadi Abi Samra
Catch a Fire (2006)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A drama about terrorism in Apartheid-era South Africa, revolving around a policeman and a young man who carries out solo attacks against the regime.

Director: Phillip Noyce
Stars: Derek Luke, Tim Robbins, Bonnie Henna
Zodiac (2007)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo
Action | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of french gangster Jacques Mesrine, before he was called Public Enemy N°1.

Director: Jean-François Richet
Stars: Vincent Cassel, Cécile De France, Gérard Depardieu
The Countess (2009)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A 17th century Hungarian countess embarks on a murderous undertaking, with the belief that bathing in the blood of virgins will preserve her beauty.

Director: Julie Delpy
Stars: Julie Delpy, Daniel Brühl, William Hurt
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Robert Ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader.

Director: Andrew Dominik
Stars: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson
JFK (1991)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A New Orleans DA discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon
Edit

Cast

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

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

Plot Keywords:

bank | fbi | 1930s | j. edgar hoover | gang | See more »

Taglines:

America's Most Wanted


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enemigos públicos  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,048,359 (UK) (10 July 2009)

Gross:

$97,030,725 (USA) (28 August 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

While at the horse track in Florida, Frank Nitti asks Phillip D'Andrea whether or not it's hot outside, saying "Ever since those pricks shot me, I can't stay warm." This is an allusion to a failed attempt on Nitti's life by a corrupt cop named Harry Lang who tried and failed to murder Nitti during a police raid. See more »

Goofs

When Dillinger is in the police station, the baseball game on the radio is actually the September 20, 1934 game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers from Navin Field in Detroit and announced by Ty Tyson. It's the oldest complete Major League Baseball game broadcast known to exist. The game is part of The Miley Collection which was added to the Library of Congress in 2011. See more »

Quotes

[Agents Baum and Purvis are briefing the Chicago field agents]
Agent Carter Baum: According to the bank teller Barbara Patzke, this is John Dillinger's coat. It's made by Shragge-Quality out of St. Louis. Price: $35 dollars. Windproof, 32 ounce wool. Top stitching.
Melvin Purvis: [nods approvingly] Thank you, Agent Baum.
[Baum steps aside]
Melvin Purvis: Agents in our offices across the country are identifying every store in the United States that sold this overcoat. Then, we will cross-reference every Dillinger associate, in locales where that ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Michael Mann: Making 'Public Enemies' (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The Man I Love
(1924)
(Live from Carnegie Hall)
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Billie Holiday
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The devil is in the details
5 July 2009 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

It's as hard to get a grip on Mann's impressive but vaguely off-putting new movie about John Dillinger's last thirteen months as it is to project yourself into the coldly beautiful digital images. The title itself provides a clue to the problem: it doesn't focus on the star criminal embodied by the charismatic and -- here -- coolly dashing Johnny Depp, whose quips and provocations in the trailer draw us into the theater to see him, only him, and his bold exploits. It points instead to the wider focus of Mann's book source -- 'Vanity Fair' writer Bryan Burroughs' 600 pages of meticulous research, 'Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34.' Relentless G-man Purvis (a convincing but bloodless Christian Bale) and his rising boss FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup, both droll and period) are part of another story as important as the bank robber's final wide ride, the story of the growing cruelty and relentlessness of the forces of American law.

Look at another title of a movie about a doomed but spectacular crime spree: Arthur Penn's 'Bonnie and Clyde.' That 1967 classic works so well because it's character-driven. Even in the sketchy but powerful scenes that outline John Dillinger's romance with French-Native American hatcheck girl Billie Frechette (Marion Cottillard, working wonders with limited material), character is subsidiary to function: "I rob banks," Johnny says. And then: "What else you need to know?" Well, quite a lot, actually, for a rounded character to emerge. Mann's movie is meticulous as to period look, to facade, but not to essence. Its street scenes are full of detail, its clothes immaculate and accurate. Taking place in 1933-34, however, it provides too few overt signs of the Great Depression. The film is also misleading in showing the Dillinger gang only robbing grand, marble-hall-and-column banks, when in fact they mostly robbed small and middling sized ones.

The overall result is a collection of contradictions. There is romance, but the effect isn't romantic. There's precise realism, but the overall effect isn't realistic. Perhaps the only unmitigated pleasure that remains is the images, the digital with its cold precision, its crisp edges even when many of the cameras are jiggly and hand-held, the depth of detail in darkness, the color that is neither bright nor faded, the sheer satisfying crispness of everything and everybody. And in this one aspect, a sublimely heightened vérité whose look is something quite new, 'Public Enemies' matches 'Bonnie and Clyde:' it makes us feel we're seeing period scenes with contemporary eyes. The best and most memorable images are the complex ones you won't see in stills where many actors are running back and forth in front of the camera, the gunshots are popping realistically in every direction, and there is no hint of the usual film chiaroscuro or highlighting, but the light is somehow beautiful. The cameras move too much, but they do rub your face in the action. What's gong on you may figure out later.

Maybe you can't avoid mythologizing when you shoot a movie about a famous Thirties bank robber and shouldn't try to, but Mann does. He's working, with great accomplishment, from that meticulous historical account, involving dozens of players on both the cop and the crook sides. Dillinger (and alternatively the totally unappealing Purvis) stay in the foreground. But there too is a contradiction, because the way Depp plays his part, witty, cold, and focused rather than warm and down-to-earth, his character ends up being impressive, but ultimately absent. (Contrast Warren Beatty's impotence and blinking charm as Clyde Barrow, an absence you yet want to cuddle.) Even when the characters are strong in Public Enemies, they don't get enough chance to interact. Dillinger is rarely with Frechette. His chance to confront Purivs is too brief, the moment when Purvis tells him he's to be extradited to Indiana and he quips, "There's absolutely nothing I want to do in Indiana." He's not facing off Purvis; he's playing to the audience.

This should have been one of the showpieces of the season, and it is indeed a blockbuster with class in a world of junk. Its virtuoso look and complexly orchestrated scenes will hold up with time, but despite a freshness in approaching familiar genre material, it's missing that certain 'je ne sais quoi.' Even though it's different, it lacks style, movie-making panache, playfulness, suspense, the ability to push a climax, the capacity to take a breather so the momentum builds up again. There's an impressive twittering machine functioning here on all its Ford V8 cylinders. But the light touch is missing, the capacity to make you say "Yeah!", to simultaneously stand apart and admire while utterly caught up in it all.


23 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What would be different if the events of the movie happened today? dmcreif
Worst cinematography in recent memory. backofthemind
Only the most ardent Mann fans will dispute this randywst16
I hated Dillinger and wanted him to die. What did I miss? iamdoingthat
Am I the only one who actually likes this movie? ritarams
Why was Carey Mulligan in this movie? rediguana
Discuss Public Enemies (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page