GBH Openvault

American Experience; Public Enemy #1


Updated 12/19/2003

License Clip

This program cannot be made available on Open Vault.

More material may be available from this program at the GBH Archives. If you would like research access to the collection at GBH, please email

American Experience
Public Enemy #1
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

For about a year from 1933 to 1934, America was thrilled and terrorized by a man called John Dillinger. A desperado, a bank robber, a bad man no jail could hold, his reputation grew until he was named the country's first Public Enemy #1 and was hunted by virtually every cop in America. Operating during a time of great hardship, John Dillinger became a mythic figure who struggled against authority and garnered the support of many ordinary Americans, particularly those hard hit by the Great Depression. Dillinger finally met his match in J. Edgar Hoover, who used the outlaw's celebrity to burnish his own reputation and that of his national law enforcement agency, the FBI. Hoover won the day making sure in the process that the moral of Dillinger's tale was "crime doesn't pay." Narrated by Keith Carradine. Written, produced and directed by Ben Loeterman.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; Public Enemy #1,” 12/19/2003, GBH Archives, accessed December 8, 2022,
MLA: “American Experience; Public Enemy #1.” 12/19/2003. GBH Archives. Web. December 8, 2022. <>.
APA: American Experience; Public Enemy #1. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.