American Experience - Season 14, Episode 10 - Rotten Tomatoes

Public Enemy # 1


Episode Info

While John Dillinger's crime spree lasted only 14 months, he became a folk hero whose exploits were admired by the Depression era public. He was considered daring, handsome, and dangerous. Dillinger also crossed paths with J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover believed that catching public enemy #1 would prove the worth of his new scientific crime-fighting bureau. The son of a well-respected farmer in rural Indiana, Dillinger's early attempt at robbery landed him in jail for ten years. In prison, he met hardened criminals who taught him how to rob banks. Out of prison, he formed a gang with his new friends and they embarked on a celebrated crime spree. He thumbed his nose at law agents, sending them post cards, and, according to legend, even escaped from prison with a wooden gun. His luck, however, eventually ran out when the Lady in Red turned him over to federal agents. Public Enemy #1 includes film clips and photographs of the era along with interviews with historians.


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