Dillinger (1973)

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Dillinger is a 1973 gangster film about the life and criminal exploits of notorious bank robber John Dillinger. It stars Warren Oates as Dillinger and Ben Johnson as his pursuer, FBI Agent Melvin Purvis. It contains the first film performance by the singer Michelle Phillips as Dillinger's moll as Billie Frechette. The film, narrated by Purvis, chronicles the last few years of Dillinger's life (depicted as a matter of months) as the FBI and law enforcement closed in. The setting is Depression era America, 1933-34. The film features largely unromanticized depictions of the principal characters. It was written and directed by John Milius for Samuel Z. Arkoff's American International Pictures. Retired FBI Agent Clarence Hurt, one of the agents involved in the final shootout with Dillinger, was the film's technical advisor. The film includes documentary imagery and film footage from the era. It includes a verbal renouncing of gangster films written by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover: he was scheduled to read it, but died before the film's release. The written words of Hoover are read at the film's close by Paul Frees. The film was followed by two made-for-TV spin-offs: Melvin Purvis: G-Man (1974) (teleplay written by Milius) and The Kansas City Massacre (1975), both directed by Dan Curtis and each starring Dale Robertson as Purvis.