‘Public Enemies’ is an enthralling crime thriller in which Johnny Depp anchors the role of John Dillinger, a renowned American gangster during the Great Depression. Although the movie takes plenty of historical liberties, its vigor and charm come from the relevance of its period setting and of course, Depp’s performance. Speaking of the movie’s setting, as you might have already noticed, it takes you through several different locations throughout its runtime to mark all the right milestones in John Dillinger’s scintillating journey. So, in case, the movie got you wondering where its filming took place, here’s the answer.
Public Enemies Filming Locations
The principal photography of ‘Public Enemies’ started on March 17, 2008, in the US state of Wisconsin. Following this, the production of the movie was moved to many cities of the state along with several cities of Illinois as well. Apart from that, a few scenes of ‘Public Enemies’ were shot in the state of Indiana.
The filming of the movie kickstarted in Columbus, Wisconsin. Soon after this, many other renowned cities of the state including Oshkosh, Beaver Dam, Darlington, Milwaukee, Madison were added to its long list of filming locations. One big reason why Wisconsin was chosen as a filming spot is that the state has several historical buildings that held relevance in the movie’s setting. Moreover, the director of the movie, Michael Mann, was once a student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This familiarity with it allowed him to meticulously look for relevant locations in the cities of Baraboo and Columbus and even arrange vintage cars through collectors in the Madison.
The movie’s scene in which the first bank robbery takes place, exteriors of Oshkosh Masonic Center can be spotted in the background. Soon after this, there’s another scene in the film where J. Edgar Hoover briefs Agent Purvis about Public enemy number one. This scene was filmed near 2 E. Main Street, Madison, Wisconsin. Apart from these, other major locations in the Wisconsin region include Milwaukee County Historic Building, Milwaukee (second bank robbery scene); Maple Avenue, Beaver Dam (Hotel Congress); Main Street, Oshkosh (Dillinger’s last robbery); Manitowish Waters (Little Bohemia Lodge).
The movie’s filming in Illinois predominantly took place in the cities of Chicago, Aurora, Joliet, and Lockport. Some of the key locations in the state include 16830 S. Route 53, Crest Hill (Prison Shootout in the opening scene); St. Anne Village (The farm where the gang meets); 210 S. Canal Street, Chicago (Train Station/Union Station); E. 106th Street Bridge Near South Buffalo Avenue Intersection, Chicago (When Dallinger calls Billie Frechette); 949 W. Newport Avenue, Chicago (Billie Frechette’s Apartment); 435 N. Clark Street, Chicago (Clark Bar owned by Frankie Z); Lockport City Hall; 222 E. 9th Street, Lockport (The park where Dillinger reads out Billie’s Letter); W. 8th Street And Commerce Avenue, Lockport; 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago (Biograph Movie Theatre). A few segments of the movie were also shot in Libertyville High School, in Libertyville.
The shooting of ‘Public Enemies’ in Indiana was carried out in the old Lake County jail in Crown Point where according to the legends surrounding Dillinger’s escape, he used a wooden gun to fool the jail’s officers.
Here’s a fan-made video of Johhny Depp filming in Columbus, Wisconsin:
Here are a few more stills posted by a fan who met him during the movie’s shooting in Wisconsin:
“We waited all day May 13,
12 years ago to meet the warmest ❤️ hearted person!!! He was filming Public Enemies in Wisconsin! My girls dream came true that day!
📸Via:Nina Allen Facebook🙏❤️
(May 13th, 2008) #DeppDreamsComeTrue ✨ pic.twitter.com/WkA3Xz0ek5
— JD (@DeppDiary) May 13, 2020
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