A Gangster’s Demise: Jarrett vs. Rico vs. Dillinger

I am sure many/most of you clicking on this headline were interested enough to have also gone and seen Michael Mann’s Public Enemies this weekend and saw Johnny Depp as bank robber John Dillinger get gunned down outside the Biograph theater in a haze of CG blood. Personally I thought the use of CG at that moment was perhaps the worst part of the entire movie and wish Mann had gone practical and instead of seeing Dillinger from the front we would have seen him from behind as the gun went off. But oh well, we can’t get everything we want and I still enjoyed the movie. However, it got me to thinking about a couple of other gangster deaths and two I think are either the best or up there with the best.

The first clip below is of James Cagney as Arthur ‘Cody’ Jarrett in White Heat (1949) as the crazy criminal goes out in a blaze of glory. The second is of Edward G. Robinson as Caesar Enrico “Rico” Bandello in Little Caesar (1931). While Rico’s death may not be as glorious his last words are indeed memorable. Then again, Cody’s are nothing to sniff at. I know some people have been questioning the final words of Dillinger in Public Enemies as they have long rumored to have been “You got me,” but from what I understand nothing is known for sure. I was okay with how it went down since it played well with the film’s narrative while the “You got me” line might have missed the mark had it been used.

Between the two clips below, Cody’s in White Heat takes the cake as my personal fav. Lemme know what you think in the comments below and also what you thought of Dillinger’s final moments in Public Enemies while you’re at it.

White Heat – Clip “Top of the World”

Little Caesar – Clip “Is this the end of Rico?”