The 15 Best Portrayals of Real-Life Gangsters in Movies

15. Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, Public Enemies (2009)

The legacy of robber extraordinaire John Dillinger is a lofty one, notable for its stronghold on the public consciousness during his criminal reign as well as after. As newspaper readers and everyday men and women viewed him, he was an outlaw who could've starred in motion pictures if he'd chosen a different career path. Known for his good looks and his come-and-get-me confidence, Dillinger enjoyed the kind of celebrity status that'd have him on gossip blogs and National Enquirer covers today.

Thus, it's only right that director Michael Mann cast one of Hollywood's all-time great heartthrobs-with-talent, Johnny Depp, to play Dillinger in the uneven but ultimately riveting 2009 flick Public Enemies. It isn't necessarily Depp's best performance, nor is it particularly grandiose—he basically plays a heightened version of himself while holding a Tommy gun and wearing 1930s garb. But it's a refreshing and convincing reminder that Depp is incredibly charismatic, especially when he's not covered in elaborate makeup and hamming it up in a Tim Burton or Gore Verbinski movie.

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