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Crime Wave: 18 Months Of Mayhem [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As some of the country s most notorious criminals, they were responsible for an historic crime spree that included hundreds of bank robberies, kidnappings, and murders. Though the havoc they wreaked across America lasted just 18 months, it resulted in the rise of the FBI and the nation s first war on crime.

Meet the outlaws who defined this golden age of crime, from John Dillinger and Machine Gun Kelly to Ma Barker, Bonnie and Clyde, and Pretty Boy Floyd, as HISTORYTM details the crime wave of 1933-34. At the height of the Great Depression, police jurisdictions ended at state lines, the FBI barely existed, and many of the thirteen million Americans out of work blamed their troubles on the banks, setting up an opportune time for criminals to rob, steal, and kill. And with technological advances like the Tommy Gun, electric-start V-8 engines, and bulletproof vests, the robbers often had the advantage over the cops.

Attention-grabbing and action-packed, CRIME WAVE: 18 MONTHS OF MAYHEM mixes archival footage with evocative reenactments to help capture the hectic pace of the heists, stick-ups, and high-speed chases that turned these charismatic thieves and murderers into legendary characters, as well as the bloody sprees and shoot-outs that resulted in their deaths.

About the Actor

Fast-paced, gripping, and action-packed, CRIME WAVE will have the energy and drama of the period it portrays. Stunning HD location photography, numerous archives and evocative recreations will capture the hectic pace of the story of the crime wave and resulting FBI "war on crime" that gripped the country for those 18 months. The energetic storytelling and visuals of CIME WAVE transports viewers to this unique time in American history.

Special Features

Biography episode: Bonnie and Clyde: The Story of Love and Death

Product Details

  • Actors: Bonnie and Clyde, Babyface Nelson, John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly
  • Directors: History
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0024EWOWW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,249 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Crime Wave: 18 Months Of Mayhem [DVD]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Well, this show brings together some of the cream of the crop of 1930s crime historians (Bill Helmer, Ellen Poulsen, Bryan Burrough, John Neal Phillips, R.D. Morgan, Paul Maccabee, and many others) and they provide some insightful commentary. It well conveys the jurisdictional and other limitations of 1930s law enforcement, the "social bandit" adolatry of outlaws expressed by many in Depression-torn America, and the baptism by fire of the fledgling FBI (actually known until 1935 as the Division of Investigation). But for a two-hour program (and two years in the making) it really has some serious flaws as well, for something aspiring to present the definitive documentary on the Public Enemy era.

The show opens with the Kansas City Union Station Massacre, arguably the opening confrontation in the first "National War on Crime," and leaves it entirely unresolved, apparently owing to the producers trying to stick to the time constraints of the years 1933-34. Throughout the program there is no mention whatever of either "Pretty Boy" Floyd or the Barker-Karpis Gang (in reality the major outlaw band of the period, despite the iconic figure of Dillinger). The writing and narration is shallow and error-ridden, and bad, and equally inaccurate, reenactments largely take the place of newsreels and historical photos. The interview segments are the real gems and one in particular which comes to mind here is Marvelle Feller's recollection of his teenage encounter with Bonnie and Clyde and henchman W.D. Jones following the Dexfield Park shootout near Dexter, Iowa. Unfortunately, we get to hear only a few seconds of Marvelle's account and the rest of it is filled in with a nonsensical reenactment of the outlaws' escape in a pickup truck.
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Just to think that my parents lived through this "Crime Wave" when they were younger. Not much difference of what is going on today! This really was quite a defining period of our American history. They actually made these killers "special celebrities" at the time. Guess it was the mood of the country. They put them up on pedestals. These killers have been romanticzied in movies and when they "get theirs" in the end - and they always do - we feel sorry for them. Poor, misundersood little darlings who wouldn't think twice about mowing down your mother or father if they got in the way! A sign of the times. Good video for history buffs and for those who want to reminisce about the 1930's and the great depression - educational. Fast paced, like the old newsreels they would show at the theatres. Well worth the money.
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This is a very informative release about Bonnie and Clyde, Dillinger and Babyface Nelson. It even chronicles some criminals that I've never heard of. It's a very well produced DVD like any other history channel release. As a bonus it also has the a&e biography of Bonnie and Clyde. I was unaware of that when I purchased this so it turned out to be a nice little extra.
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Format: DVD
During the Great Depression in the United States, emerges an unforgettable 18-month crime spree that terrifies and fascinates its citizens. The outlaws run wild, outwitting most state cops with their technologically advanced weapons, bulletproof vests, and superior rides!

This documentary provides a riveting and explicit account during the gangster years, thus giving rise to America's first national police force: The FBI. It's a fumbling and humbling beginning. Its special agents learn on the job; lawyers and accounting degree holders with limited or no law enforcement knowledge. However, in the end, they succeed in bringing down America's most notorious criminals.

It's an enthralling, dramatic, and educational docudrama--an excellent production. HIGHLY recommended!
4 Comments 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I chose this product for it's historic accuracy. The material is presented in a 'time-line' fashion to give the viewer an idea of the incidence in relation to each other. I had never seen it presented in this fashion.
It doesn't have as much dramatization as other documentaries I have seen, but stays as true to the facts as possible. As an example:
One scene showed Bonnie and Clyde stopped along a roadway in the country with Henry Methvin. The version stated that it was Henry that shot the police first - Clyde had to jump into it once it started. The media of the day had used this to turn the public against Bonnie and Clyde. They were hero's to people that had lost everything to the banks. They robbed 'mom and pop' stores a number of times
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This documentary follows three different gangs during the 1930's ganger crime spree era. The information is well presented and the historical reenactments are well done on what I'm sure was a limited budget.
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If you are into Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson etc., this is a must have! Great documentary on not only the outlaws, but of the trials of being an average person living in this most trying of times. Well researched by the History Channel, I can not be more pleased with this product. I feel it is a must have by anyone even mildly interested in this subject.

Kenny Downs
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Format: DVD
This documentary, chronicling the Mid-West Bank Robbing spree of the 1930's was released to coincide with the release of the movie "PUBLIC ENEMIES" starring Johnny Depp. As such, it seems a bit hasty in it's assembly and is severely lacking in the whole story.

The documentary opens with the June 7th, 1933 "Kansas City Massacre" in which an FBI agent, three policemen, and a federal prisoner are killed and more or less ends with the death of John Dillinger outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago on July 22nd, 1934.

The documentary primarily focuses on Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, "Baby Face" Nelson, and "Machine Gun" Kelly. My biggest gripe is that it doesn't even mention "Pretty Boy" Floyd or "Ma" Barker's sons or Alvin Karpis, who were just as important in that era. Also the re-enactments are a little shoddy and sometimes innacurate in their staging.

It's a nice introduction to that era but crime buffs would be better served by reading Bryan Burroughs book "Public Enemies" upon which the Johnny Depp movie is based. It's a more comprehensive and accurate rendering of that time.
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