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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.

Director:

Michael Mann

Writers:

Ronan Bennett (screenplay), Michael Mann (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,538 ( 679)
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

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billie Frechette (real name Mary Evelyn Frechette) was actually married to Welton Spark, at the time of her relationship with John Dillinger. She married Spark in July 1932. He was convicted shortly thereafter for mail theft, and received a fifteen-year term in Leavenworth, with a transfer to Alcatraz in September 1934. Her divorce from Spark wasn't finalized until the early '40s. She later married a man named Wally Wilson, the name she took to the grave. Wilson died unexpectedly, cause unknown, date unknown. Billie married Art Tic in 1965, a state Game Warden, and barber from Shawano, Wisconsin. She died January 13, 1969, of mouth cancer. Mysteriously, her grave marker lists her name as Evelyn Tic (apparently against her wishes) and has the incorrect date of death as 1970. See more »

Goofs

The bar at Little Bohemia where Baby Face Nelson does his James Cagney impression didn't exist in April of 1934. It was added on to the lodge in 1936, two years after John Dillinger's and Nelson's death. See more »

Quotes

John Dillinger: One rule i learned from Walter Dietrich, never work with people who are desperate.
John 'Red' Hamilton: Yeah, well, i got a rule too. Stay away from women.
John Dillinger: Without women, it's like back in the stir.
John 'Red' Hamilton: That's why they invented whores.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in The 81st Annual Academy Awards (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Hanna Shoots Neil
Written and Performed by Elliot Goldenthal
From the Original Motion Picture Heat (1995)
Courtesy of New Regency Productions, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

John Dillinger- Public Enemy #1
1 July 2009 | by Billy_CostiganSee 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?


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