Public Enemies (2009)



Critic Consensus: Michael Mann's latest is a competent and technically impressive gangster flick with charismatic lead performances, but some may find the film lacks truly compelling drama.

Movie Info

Based on author Bryan Burrough's ambitious tome Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-43, director Michael Mann's sprawling historical crime drama follows the efforts of top FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale ) in capturing notorious bank robber John Dillinger. A folk hero to the American public thanks to his penchant for robbing the banks that many people believed responsible for the Great Depression, charming bandit Dillinger (Johnny Depp) was … More

Rating: R (for gangster violence and some language)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Mann, Ronan Bennett, Ann Biderman, Mark St. Germain
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 8, 2009
Box Office: $97.0M
Universal Studios - Official Site


as John Dillinger

as Melvin Purvis

as Billie Frechette

as J. Edgar Hoover

as "Pretty Boy" Floyd

as "Baby Face" Nelson

as Alvin Karpis

as John "Red" Hamilton

as Charles Winstead

as Homer Van Meter

as Harry "Pete" Pierpon...

as Agent Carter Baum

as Barbara Patzke

as Agent John Madala

as Martin Zarkovich

as Gerry Campbell

as Louis Piquett

as Clarence Hurt

as Anna Sage

as Phil D'Andrea

as Warden Baker

as Gilbert Catena

as Frank Nitti

as Carol Slayman

as Water Dietrich

as Charles Makley

as Turnkey

as Ed Shouse

as Jim Lesley

as Earl Adams

as Guard Dainard

as Viola Norris

as Sheriff Lillian Holl...

as Agent Warren Barton

as Police Chief Fultz

as Oscar Lieboldt

as Harry Berman

as Grover Weyland

as Officer Chester Boya...

as Senator McKellar

as Harry Suydam

as Clyde Tolson

as Angry Cop

as Torch Singer

as Agent Sam Cowley

as Agent Julius Rice

as Agent William Rorer

as Agent Hugh Clegg

as Agent Harold Reineck...

as Agent William Rorer

as Doris Rogers

as May Minczeles

as Helen Gillis

as Tommy Carroll

as Robert Estill

as Deputy

as Herbert Youngblood

as Judge Murray

as Sam Cahoon

as Edward Saager

as Harry Berg

as Jacob Solomon

as Joe Pawlowski

as Emil Wanatka

as Agent Ray Suran

as Agent Ralph Brown

as Jimmy Probasco

as Freddie Barker

as Doc Barker

as Polly Hamilton

as Irene the Ticket Tak...

as Captain O'Neill

as Agent Sopsic

as Ella Natasky

as Doorman at Gold Coas...

as Oscar Lieboldt
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Public Enemies

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Critic Reviews for Public Enemies

All Critics (265) | Top Critics (49)

The reflection of pink neon off the crimson silk of a lawman's tie as he stands in wait under the Biograph marquee; a patch of sodium-vapor orange city sky above a bridge as magnetic and floating as a square in a Rothko canvas...

Full Review… | June 14, 2015

The desperate times in which we suddenly find ourselves ... make Public Enemies seem especially timely.

Full Review… | September 24, 2014
Film Comment Magazine

A quiet, thoughful, almost dreamy meditation on violence, on work, on love and on death. It's The Insider with tommy guns.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

On a sweltering July day in 1934, John Dillinger went to the movies and ended up dead. Now, 75 years later, the movies are killing him again.

Full Review… | May 26, 2013
The Patriot Ledger

It's looking more and more like Michael Mann will never be able to recapture that Heat hotness.

Full Review… | September 29, 2012

Instead of glamorizing the early 20th century thug life, it humanizes it a little too much. This drags the movie down and is not the reason I like to go see gangster movies.

Full Review… | July 21, 2012
7M Pictures

Audience Reviews for Public Enemies

Great cast, great action. Excellent gangster movie took me back to the Untouchables. One of my all time favorites ..

John Manard

Super Reviewer


Public Enemies is the story of infamous depression era bank robber John Dillinger who became a kind of mythic Robin Hood style figure in the eyes of the poverty stricken American public of the time. Johnny Depp and Christian Bale starring in a legendary true-life gangster story directed by the man who brought us Heat? Nothing could possibly go wrong, could it?? Errrrm...evidently, yes it could. Once again, as always seems to be the case with over-hyped Hollywood blockbusters, the script is the usual suspect when assigning blame for missed opportunities. We all know what Depp and Bale are capable of, but here they have so little to work with its difficult for me to find fault with them. The film is basically just a series of beautifully shot shoot outs and jail breaks loosely strung together by a skeletal plot involving next to no character depth or development. We know nothing about their motives or how they reached this point in their lives and seem to have no meaningful relationships with any of the supporting characters. The visual side of things cannot really be faulted however and the set pieces are expertly handled by Mann, but the shadow of the infinitely superior Heat looms over the entire proceedings. 10/10 for style, but 5/10 for substance.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Nice to finally see Johnny Depp not in a weird/cooky role. The film had a lot of action and a great story even though it was pretty lengthy. The fact that it's based on real people and events makes it all the better.

Eric Alvarez
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

Public Enemies Quotes

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– Submitted by Josie G (3 years ago)

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