Public Enemies

Public Enemies (2009)

10 factual errors - chronological order

(2 votes)

Public Enemies mistake picture

Factual error: Early in the movie, during a bank robbery, there is an FDIC sign beside the teller. Dillinger's bank robberies were mostly in 1933, he was arrested in January 1934. The FDIC was not enacted until January 1934, making it impossible for the bank to have been insured by the FDIC during the 1933 robberies. Additionally, in the same robbery, the teller displays $5 bills that are the current format (multiple colors, offset picture, larger numbers) which would not have been present at that time. (00:42:40)

Public Enemies mistake picture

Factual error: In one scene, focused on a period wood-staked pickup truck parked on the street, you can see clearly a modern Jeep Grand Cherokee parked on the other side of the street.

Factual error: The "Swing" music on the soundtrack wasn't recorded by anyone till late 1935 or later, when Swing began. A good year after Dillinger's death.


Factual error: "Love Me Or Leave Me" by Billie Holiday, which is supposedly coming from the radio in 1934, wasn't even recorded by Holiday until 1941.


Factual error: The film is set in the 1930s, but when there is a closeup of a sheet of text (a conversation between Billie and John), it is typed out in a computer font (which did not exist) as opposed to a typewriter.

Factual error: When Purvis is outside Billie's apartment, looking at the transcript of her phone conversation with Dillinger, the page is from a printed word processor, not typed out on a typewriter.

Cubs Fan

Factual error: When Special Agent Winstead is leaning over Dillinger to hear what his last words are, you can see that he's wearing modern-day contact lenses, in 1934.

Factual error: During the movie Dillinger talks with Baby-Face Nelson about a train job. The train is visible in the background. The train however is the Union Pacific locomotive 844. This locomotive was not built and delivered to the Union Pacific until December 1944, 10 years after Dillinger was killed.

Factual error: The distinctive console radio airplane style Zenith Black Dial wasn't manufactured till 1936, one year after Dillinger died, yet it appears several times in the film during 1934.


Factual error: The Western Electric Model 639A microphone prominently featured in front of J Edgar Hoover in the 1934 Washington DC Senate appropriation hearing scene, wasn't invented till late 1939.


Continuity mistake: During the scene of the fight between Dillinger, and Melvin Purvis and the Little Bohemia Lodge, it shows Purvis shooting from the side and he has a straight magazine in his Thompson, but when the shot faces him he has a drum magazine in his Thompson, but when it goes back to his side to reload, he again has the straight magazine.


More mistakes in Public Enemies

Melvin Purvis: The only way you're walking out of this jail cell is when we take you out to execute you.
John Dillinger: Well, we'll see about that.

More quotes from Public Enemies

Trivia: In the trailer - and the film, for that matter - Johny Depp's character John Dillinger tells a bank employee, 'We're here for the bank's money, not yours. Put that away.' Robert DeNiro's character Neil McCauley in Heat similarly goes, 'We're here for the bank's money, not yours. Your money's insured by the federal government, you won't lose a dime.' Both Heat and Public Enemies were written (or co-written in the case of Public Enemies) and directed by Michael Mann.

Allister Cooper, 2011

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Question: I must have missed something, but when Dillinger and his accomplice (can't remember his name) are escaping from the lodge, they both hitch a ride with Baby Face Nelson on the dirt road. Later Purvis and his men run Nelson's car off the road and kill him and another guy. Then we see Dillinger and his wounded accomplice with a car in town getting medical supplies. How's that possible?

Gavin Jackson

Chosen answer: Baby Face Nelson doesn't pick up Dillinger. He picks up the characters played by Stephen Dorf and another associate. Dillinger and Hamilton escape through the woods and steal a car from an older man they come across in the forest. After the shootout, Dillinger and Nelson are never in the car together.

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