From the writer of Apocalypse Now comes an electrifying crime saga about one of the most notorious gangsters of the 1930s. Starring Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman and Richard Dreyfuss, Dillinger sets the screen... more » ablaze with explosive shootouts, daring escapes and magnificent performances. Bank robber John Dillinger (Oates) has become a folk hero to the people ofDepression-era America, capturing their imaginations with the exploits of his outlaw "super-gang." But time may be running out for Dillinger's violent band of fugitives; the FBI's finest agent (Johnson) is on the case, and his pursuit won't end until every member of the gang is behind bars...or dead! Charged with heartstopping action and riveting drama, Dillinger is an unforgettable experience hailed as nothing less than "brilliant" (San Francisco Chronicle)!« less
A classic that has a solid plotline and special effects before all the CGI nonsense. A must watch!
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Elizabeth B. (bethieof96) from NINETY SIX, SC Reviewed on 7/3/2013...
This is one of my all time favorite movies. I feel that it is the best of the gangster movies about that time era. 5 stars.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Warren Oates IS Dillinger
Emmett C Jesberg | USA | 03/10/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the fastest moving movies you're likely to ever see. Warren Oates was the only man to play the part of John Dillinger (he even looks like him). When Harry Dean Stanton says "things aren't workin' out for me today", you gotta laugh. Whether it's romanticized or not, who cares. It's a fun movie to watch and if you like to see lots of spent brass flyin', you'll love it. My only 2 regrets are that it's not on DVD and that it's recorded in the LP mode on the VHS."
This is not history. Who cares?
Terry Chance | Beaumont, TX USA | 09/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a completely true story. This is not a documentary. It is just a fun movie to watch based very loosely on a few gangsters around the early to mid 1930's. The lead roles are bank robber John Dillinger and FBI agent Melvin Purvis. While trying to capture or kill Dillinger, Purvis runs across a few other notable gangsters of the day. If you want true history, don't get it from Hollywood, head to your local library. If you want to watch a fun movie, check this one out. I believe that many people write reviews to impress others with their knowledge of history. If I was sitting in a college class, that may be significant. While I am watching a movie, who cares?"
Explosive and relentless story of prolific bank robber......
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 12/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Violent, intense and romantic tale of infamous Depression era gangster, John Dillinger by noted action / drama director John Milius is historically inaccurate, but still a very enjoyable gangster film for fans of the genre....and a bonus to now have it available on DVD !!Cerebral actor Warren Oates plays fiery John Dillinger with aplomb, and Ben Johnson is the intrepid FBI agent Melvin Purvis, hot on the trail of America's Public Enemy number 1. Dynamic support cast portrays Dillinger's gang...Harry Dean Stanton as Homer van Meter, Geoffrey Lewis as Harry Pierpoint and John Ryan is Charlie Mackley. Additionally, Richard Dreyfuss is the cowardly killer, Baby Face Nelson and Steve Kanaly plays the "Robin Hood of the Cookson Hills", Pretty Boy Floyd.Milius makes great use of color and monochrome shots (many portions of movie appear to be shot through a sepia colored filter) and racy newsreel look to selected sequences with hard edged jazz score accompanying the visuals. Film covers birth of gang and several high profile incidents including the deadly shoot out at Little Bohemia lodge, plus Dillingers daring escape from Indiana's Crown Point jail....and finally his comeuppance outside the Biograph Theatre in Chicago where he was shot dead by FBI agents.If you like your gangster films fast paced and with machine guns blazing...then this one belongs in your collection !!Interesting footnote: It was argued for years that it wasn't Dillinger shot dead outside the Biograph, but rather a look-alike, petty thief named Jimmy Lawrence. Dillinger was apparently aware of the FBI plot and decided to retire from the bank robbing game for good. During the mid 1970's a letter arrived at a Los Angelas newspaper, together with a photo of an old man, the writer claimed to be Dillinger and the letter apparently contained information about Dillinger that was not freely available...nothing further was ever heard from the writer !"
Public Enemy Number One
Steven Hellerstedt | 04/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Following Arthur Penn's 1967 hit `Bonnie and Clyde,' Hollywood enjoyed a brief fling with Depression-era gangsters. The free-wheeling Woodstock generation found something to like about the anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian, legendary outlaws of their parents' youth.
Legendary bank robber John Dillinger certainly fit the bill. In John Milius's DILLINGER we meet the title character, played by Warren Oates, at the height of his career. John Dillinger is a notorious character with enough wit to recognize he's doing the rubes a favor, of sorts, every time he holds up a bank. It gives those robbed something to talk about and remember. Anyway, Dillinger seemingly relies on efficient professionalism over firepower. At least he don't shoot lessen he's shot at, which is a sight better than gun happy thug Baby Face Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss,) who joins the gang mid-movie. And, as such things were measured back then, probably better than what we get from Dillinger hunting alpha G-Man Melvin Purvis (Ben Johnson). We get an awful lot of Purvis in this movie - he supplies the periodic voice over narration and gets about equal screen time with Oates. Milius would write the teleplay for 1974's `Melvin Purvis, G-MAN,' which starred another gruff voiced character action, Dale Robertson.
The parallel story telling works well enough, although Dillinger gets lost a time or two. We get to tag along with Purvis a few times when he has big showdown with public enemies, and they're very well handled. The Depression, which has figured prominently as a social setting and explanation for do-badders, is set deep in the background and isn't much of a factor. Dillinger, as he tells his girlfriend/common law wife Billie Frechette (Michelle Phillips, in her debut,) just always wanted to be a bank robber, and that was that. Towards the end the story does fall apart a bit. Dillinger disappears completely in the last act, which is dominated by Purvis's negotiations with the Lady in Red (Cloris Leachman as Anna Sage, the madam who arranged for Dillinger's capture outside a movie house in Chicago.)
Besides John Dillinger, Milius has either scripted, directed, or both movies on Geronimo, Teddy Roosevelt, Jeremiah Johnson and Judge Roy Bean. Legendary Americans all, and Milius is very much a `print the legend' director. Sometimes you get the feeling that if it doesn't lend itself to a photo op Milius isn't much interested in it. It makes for good action flicks, shaky history lessons, and frustration for those who like character development. Johnson (a good actor) and Oates (a very good actor) make their characters more compelling than written. After a big shootout (excitingly recreated in the movie) and his flight to Chicago Dillinger's life kind of fell apart. He'd separated from Billie and underwent plastic surgery. Perhaps because he thought the plastic surgery might confuse the audience - perhaps - Milius decided to ignore Dillinger in Chicago, save for Purvis's plot to capture him. Heck, I would have been happy with a whole movie, starring Oates, of course, about Dillinger in Chicago. Probably best suited for gangster movie fans, or fans of Ben Johnson and Warren Oates. "
"Please don't shoot me G-man!"
anomj7t7 | Quinton, Va United States | 11/01/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Films about historical events that play fast and loose with the facts usually get under my skin...big time.That aside,I must say that I really enjoyed this film, despite the fact it seemed to get very few of the essential facts right.Ben Johnson was miscast
Melvin Purvis as well as Harry Dean Stanton as Homer Van Meter, but both were great as always.Warren Oates is one heck of a character actor and as character actors go,can do no wrong(the man's a genius).The butchering job on the history was done,I assume,to facilitate a smoother narrative and keep the movies length from expanding into epic like proportions.The scene depicting Van Meter's demise was a brilliant piece of black humor(most obviously based on pages 123 and 124 of John Toland's "The Dillinger days")but in actuality the whole incident happened *before* the shootout at "Little Bohemia" and to an earlier gang member,James Jenkins(Van Meter bought the farm in St.Paul MN).A previous reviewer mentioned the length of the gun battles and couldn't have been more dead on...If that kind of battle had happened at the Little Bohemia lodge I think all of Rhinelander Wisconsin would have been destroyed!All done in the grand Hollywood tradition (think "Gunfight at the OK Corral") of padding an actual event to get the most mileage (and violence) out of it.This movie was great fun...Just don't delude yourself into believing you know the real story after viewing this film."