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:

Michael Mann

Writers:

Ronan Bennett (screenplay), Michael Mann (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,940 ( 443)
1 win & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Bale ... Melvin Purvis
Christian Stolte ... Charles Makley
Jason Clarke ... 'Red' Hamilton
Johnny Depp ... John Dillinger
Stephen Graham ... Baby Face Nelson
David Wenham ... Harry 'Pete' Pierpont
John Judd ... Turnkey
Stephen Dorff ... Homer Van Meter
Michael Vieau Michael Vieau ... Ed Shouse
John Kishline John Kishline ... Guard Dainard
Carey Mulligan ... Carol Slayman
James Russo ... Walter Dietrich
Giovanni Ribisi ... Alvin Karpis
Wesley Walker ... Jim Leslie
John Scherp John Scherp ... Earl Adams
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Storyline

The difficult 1930s is a time of robbers who knock over banks and other rich targets with alarming frequency. Of them, none is more notorious than John Dillinger, whose gang plies its trade with cunning efficiency against big businesses while leaving ordinary citizens alone. As Dillinger becomes a folk hero, FBI head J. Edger Hoover is determined to stop his ilk by assigning ace agent Melvin Purvis to hunt down Dillinger. As Purvis struggles with the manhunt's realities, Dillinger himself faces an ominous future with the loss of friends, dwindling options and a changing world of organized crime with no room for him. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leonardo DiCaprio was initially attached to star in a leading role when this project was put into development in 2004. See more »

Goofs

The dashboard on Dillinger's car has modern fuel and temperature gauges, aftermarket replacements or add-ons with different bezels from the other dials. The speedometer, clock, etc. have a '30s style typeface; the typeface on the fuel and temperature gauges are of a modern style that would not have existed in the 1930s. See more »

Quotes

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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Public Enemies: Blu-ray Picture in Picture (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Chicago Shake
Written by Don Nelson, Harry Garfield, Kevin Kaska, Bruce Fowler (as Bruce L. Fowler)
Performed by The Bruce Fowler Big Band
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User Reviews

 
Well-Made Cinematically, But Shallow
3 July 2009 | by EscheteSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 July 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Public Enemies See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,271,675, 5 July 2009

Gross USA:

$97,104,620

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$214,104,620
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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