Mark Harmon in Dillinger (1991)

Mark of the Dillinger

After serving time in Michigan City Jail it doesn't take long for John Dillinger (Mark Harmon - Beyond the Poseidon Adventure) to start pulling bank jobs, but he has a reason as he needs big money to get guns in to prison to get his friend Pierpont (Bruce Abbott) out. His actions lead to Pierpont getting out but in doing so Dillinger gets caught and so now it is Pierpont and his gangs turn to bust their friend out. Out again and with Pierpont by his side they embark on a series of bank jobs as well as knocking off a few police stations at the same time leading to the police and the FBI to be on his tail.

It is very easy to sum up this 1991 movie "Dillinger" as it is a hero worship look at the criminal life of John Dillinger. We watch as he is not only portrayed as a good looking man with a thing for dames but despite being a criminal not a total bad guy. A prime example of this when he remonstrates with Pierpont for shooting a Sheriff in breaking him out of jail. That doesn't make "Dillinger" a bad movie but one which looks to entertain more than be 100% factual.

Now as a piece on entertainment "Dillinger" works, it has the look, it has nice pacing and delivers characters who we can warm to. From the minute we meet Dillinger who eyes up women, making it clear he plans to sleep with them he wins us over because he is that bad boy we like with Mark Harmon perfectly cast as a bad boy who also has charm. It is the same when we meet Billie, because she is a fun loving dame with a lot of character and Sherilyn Fenn is perfect at playing a depression era dame. Plus when it comes to the actual robberies they all have a lot of style, brief but snappy moments of action.

What this all boils down to is that "Dillinger" is entertaining as a gangster movie but it seems to me to be a case of entertainment took precedence over trying to be factual.