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As with BONNIE AND CLYDE, the 1967 Arthur Penn-directed classic that this film takes more than a few cues from, one can't expect anything remotely resembling a realistic portrait of one of America's most notorious criminals. But what Milius, a film buff par excellence, does give us in spades is an extraordinarily charismatic performance in the title role by Warren Oates, the fine charachter actor who came into his own via his appearances as part of Sam Peckinpah's stock company. Another Peckinpah regular (and John Ford stalwart), the always-reliable Ben Johnson, co-stars as his adversary, Melvin Purvis. Along for the ride are future "Dallas" star Steve Kanaly (as Pretty Boy Floyd); Richard Dreyfuss (as Baby Face Nelson); Geoffrey Lewis (as Harry Pierpont); Cloris Leachman (as the Lady In Red); Michelle Phillips, of the Mamas and the Papas (as Billy Frechette); and Harry Dean Stanton (as Homer Van Meter).
Milius and his cast, especially Oates (who looks very much like Mr. Dillinger), play the story for all its worth, mythologizing the gangster life in a time when only guns and money were involved.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is a really good movie. My great-grandfather and his filling station are in the movie. I never met him, but it is good to see him and hear his voice. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. Schupp
The film itself is very exciting. There's a lot of Depression era ambience,
with run-down cottages, abandoned farms and decaying small towns. Read more
A copy of this title was provided for review purposes.
Most younger viewers today have no concept of the term gangster as it applied to films of the seventies or for... Read more
One of the lesser-known filmmakers to emerge from the '70s USC generation, John Milius was never destined for the sort of career his contemporaries like Spielberg and Coppola... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Movieline Online
Though “Dillinger,” directed by John Milius, plays fairly loose with the facts, it is nonetheless entertaining, drawing upon many gangster movie cliches. Read morePublished 3 months ago by The Movie Man
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