Dillinger's Wild Ride

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Dillinger's Wild Ride

A 2009 film based on John Dillinger'sheight of fame, starringJohnny Depp.

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Dillinger's Wild RideElliott J. Gorn

John Dillinger. John Rockefeller. The similarities between these two are extraordinary, not just having the same first name. Dillinger and Rockefeller were both American men who grew from common people into the most notorious people of the late 1800's and into the early 1900's. These men served as icons to the poor, with Rockefeller showing the advancement of the well-being of life during the Reconstruction Era and the years following and Dillinger giving the banks, who are seen as the real thieves, something they deserve, as the poor are punished in the Great Depression. Both built an empire of fame with a background in the commoners, yet chose different paths of life. Rockefeller created an economic empire and became the richest man in the world while Dillinger was enticed by the life of a criminal and became an infamous, makeshift Robin Hood who robbed the banks and kept the money for himself. Yet, both ended up indirectly causing a great shift in the authority and the laws that govern our society. Sweeping changes in the economical system include the restriction of monopolies and trusts thanks to Rockefeller and handed down by Teddy Roosevelt. In the world of crime, new laws were caused by John Dillinger, such as regulating the crossing of state lines and bank robberies being a higher penalized crime. Also, it gave federal agents the right to carry guns and have more power. The effects that these two had carried on for decades and even to now, as their legacies have lived on and will continue to.

Main Idea #1Dillinger was seen as charming, humorous, dangerous, and violent. This wide array of very different attributes were the result of the media creating and embellishing stories about Dillinger. They became so profficient at this, that Dillinger became famous because of what the media reported, and not necessarily because of what he did. The things he did would not have looked as appealing as they did to the public, had not the newspapers made Dillinger out to be a charming murderer with a captivating persona. These reports garnered support for the outlaw, but also drew those who were against what he did.

Main Idea #2Despite all the things he did, such as murdering innocent people and robbing numerous banks, Dillinger still managed to receive support from the common people. This was the result of several causes, but mostly the mindset many people of the Great Depression had on those who were wealthy. Dillinger, they believed, stole from the rich (banks), who they thought already stole from the poor (common people). This made Dillinger be seen as a type of Robin Hood. Many wrote of their support for the outlaw, because they thought he was bringing justice to the sufferers of the Depression. The common people were also in favor of Dillinger because they blamed his harsh prison sentence- and his experiences in jail as a young man- for what he did, not who he actually was.

Public Enemies

"Dillinger was emblematic not only of the individual's fall from grace, but of the nation's fall from rural virtue."

"The world's a very dangerous place; few get out of it alive."

"Bank heists are about money, but they are also about glmaour, excitement, danger, and camaraderie- about the sheer sexiness of risk taking."


Doesn't Pay

A Young Johnnie Dillinger

Dillinger with his infamous wooden gunApril 1934

Dillinger and Sheriff Lillian HolleyCrown Point, Indiana

The Dillinger Gang

Works Cited


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