American Experience 1988 | TV Show Watchlist

American Experience

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This much-honored PBS documentary series explores American history, one topic or person at a time. Its Peabody Award winners include profiles of FDR and Malcolm X, and such diverse topics as Nixon's 1972 trip to China, the controversy surrounding `Citizen (more…)

Premiered: October 4, 1988

Rating: TV-PG

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Season 14, Episode 10 Public Enemy # 1

First Aired: February 24, 2002

John Dillinger may have been “Public Enemy No. 1” in 1933 and '34, but Americans didn't reflexively hate him, and this hour explores reasons why as it chronicles his 14-month bank-robbing spree. Dillinger “represents a rebellious impulse that many people in the Great Depression had good reason to feel,” says Tom Doherty, one of the historians interviewed. Morever, “he was a charming guy,” says another, Claire Potter. The hour also features a grandnephew of Dillinger and Alston Purvis, the son of Melvin Purvis, the G-Man who finally caught up with the Public Enemy. Keith Carradine narrates.

Guest Cast