Public Enemy, the true story of Dillinger, the criminal played by Johnny Depp

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Public enemy is the film that will air tonight at 21.25 on Nove. This is the film that director Michael Mann has decided to dedicate to John Dillinger, a gangster dedicated to bank robberies and a lover of tailored suits brought to the big screen by Johnny Depp.

Public enemy, the plot

John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) is a criminal who heads to number one on the list of the most wanted criminals in the United States. America is harassed by Great Depression and while citizens are struggling to make ends meet, John Dillinger spends his time watching movies in cinemas, racing in sports cars, buying tailored suits and hunting for beautiful women. His path soon meets that of the beautiful Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard): a sincere and very strong love is born between the two, which pushes them to hope for a happy ending.

Meanwhile, the head of the FBI Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) is obsessed with the idea of ​​arresting John Dillinger and thus putting a stop to his misdeeds. A desire also shared by agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), who has just received a promotion and hopes to catch the criminal to prove himself. The paths of the three men will cross several times and more than once John Dillinger will prove to be a man at times arrogant, who laughs in the face of luck. As long as luck itself will turn its back on him.

The true story of John Dillinger

Born in Indianapolis on June 22, 1903 John Dillinger he had already been at the center of some film productions that celebrated his genius in crime. In 1973 Warren Oates plays him for John Milius in Dillinger; while a few years earlier the bank robber had become the center of the story of a film by Marco Ferreri entitled Dillinger is dead, where Michel Piccoli ended up being “inspired” by the famous criminal. As specified on the site of the FBI itself, John Dillinger was part of that band of criminals that the Americans, powerless against the Depression that was taking everything away from him, crowned as heroes, capable of taking what they wanted by making their way by force and by Weapons. From September 1933 to July 1934 John Dillinger represented a real nightmare for the American Midwest: he and his gang killed 10 men, wounded seven others and not only took care to rob banks, but also broke into the police arsenals arriving finally to organize three escapes.

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Raised by a father dedicated to an iron and almost military discipline and motherless at the age of three, John Dillinger showed from a very young age that he had a strong personality and a propensity to get into trouble. After leaving school and moving with his father to a rural area of ​​Indiana, John Dillinger began his life of crime by stealing a car. The event, which also led to a break with his father, led him to enlist in the Navy. But that life didn’t seem to have been made for him: he got into trouble again and abandoned the ship he was traveling on as a cadet when it docked in Boston. He ended up in jail the first time after attempting a shop robbery with Ed Singleton. He still managed to get his word out after eight and a half years of imprisonment, but his life seemed to have now positioned itself on the path of crime. He almost immediately robbed a bank in Ohio and ended up in jail again, but the man managed to escape thanks to an elaborate plan put in place by Dillinger’s men who, in turn, had escaped from the Indiana state jail.

After the escape Dillinger continued his career as a bank robber, but in the meantime he had also entered the crosshairs of theFBI, also because some policemen had been killed with firearms during the robberies. Back in prison – this time to answer the murder charge of a Chicago cop – John Dillinger managed to escape again. The FBI website also tells how the criminal threatened the guards predisposed to his imprisonment using what he later called a wooden gun carved by his own hands. With that weapon he forced the guards to open the cell and hand him machine guns. Soon after he locked the policemen in his cell and he, free again, fled. It thus seemed that John Dillinger was a man above the law, a man who was impossible to keep in a cell or to defeat. Incredibly, however, the man ended up being captured just when he least expected it. Thanks to a tip, in fact, the FBI agents in charge of the case learned that on July 22, 1934 the man would go to the cinema to see a movie with Clark Gable. At ten thirty in the evening Dillinger, with two women at his side, arrived at the cinema which was manned by agents. When I realized what was happening John Dillinger tried to defend himself, using a weapon he carried with him. The police, however, were faster: they hit the criminal with three shots that caused the death of what had been the public enemy number one.


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