The chosen films for this analysis are Public Enemies and Scarface.  The latter focuses on Paul Muni, while the former is based on John Dillinger.  These two films are crucial in understanding the realities and perpetuated myths about criminal justice as evidenced from the imagination of the writers and directors of the movies.

The two movies portray the myths and realities about criminal justice system.  This is due to the fact that people who watch the movies get some knowledge of crime and justice system.  In fact, many people who watch these two movies acquire proper information about prisons and other correction facilities, though they have never been there themselves.  Such myths might be a little bit different from realities, which are acquired through experience and socialization.  As one grows up, he/she get socialized and educated by the parents through reality.  However, the perceived myths perpetuated in movies by writers and directors of the movies do not depict the real state of affairs.  Therefore, this paper focuses on the movie Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp, and its relationship to the American criminal justice as well as the movie Scarface about Paul Muni so as to help in understanding the perceived myths and realities about crime justice.

Thus, for instance, strong and active intelligence network is the cornerstone for preventing insecurity in the United States of America so that the American criminal justice can be restored.  Culturally, criminal acts such as stealing, robbery, and rape are not accepted in the American society.  Even, religious groups and teachings strongly condemn these criminal activities, which are shown in the movie.  Just as it is reflected in the movies, the criminal gang tagged as public enemy could not live as long as they had expected.  The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) strengthened their operations, and finally, justice was realized among the citizens who were the targets of the gang. 


The events that took place show that it is possible to achieve the criminal justice irrespective of the time it will take.  The criminal group organized several robberies with violence and initiated different other unlawful actions, which left people just guessing about their next move.  As America is very aggressive in fighting terror plans, this group could have not been tolerated any longer.  They became the public enemy because of the turbulence they caused in the business sector and due to their totally uncultured activities (Milwaukee 1). 

If the unfolding events were real, then the criminal activities the criminals did were enough to make the public domain question them.  Consequently, the federal government through the FBI would have to redesign ways of eliminating the menace in the public.  Besides, this would lead to the setting of the state criminal free zone.  One of the tasks of the American criminal justice is to fight gangs and relieve the world of criminals, especially those that can plan for terrorist and domestic robbery with violence.  The main gang leaders, named Dillinger and Muni, were hard-core criminals.  For example, Dillinger could organize main Bank robberies and kill police guards, regardless of the police efforts to bring him back to justice.  Dillinger’s gang was well-known throughout the US since Dillinger organized the main criminal activities, which presented the reality on the ground.  The gang used three innovations, which helped them in robbing various banks.  They simply used the sub-machine gun to shoot down the local law enforcers of the federal government (Public Enemies).  In addition, the powerful V8 engines were in their possession.  Through this, they could outrun the law enforcers.  The third innovation of this gang was the use of the interstate highway that the law men could not use locally.  The movies portrayed that this made it impossible for the law enforcers to capture them.  This film also brings out the need for federal state to initiate formation of FBI that could deal with the gang once and for all.  The criminal justice was disorganized, and the outlawed gang caused havoc and destruction to the property, especially to that of commercial banks, - a problem that is to be analyzed to ascertain whether it was a myth or reality concerning the criminal justice (Milwaukee 2). 

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It can be argued whether it is mythical to say that one time the gang killed about 10 men, while seven people were wounded; they robbed banks and continuous arsenals of police.  In addition, they broke out of the jails three times.  The justice system in the US by then could not deal effectively with the criminals.  They caused many problems, and the FBI often chased the gang, which is the reality evidenced from the film.   The film shows one dramatic event that occurred at Little Bohemia Lodge in 1934.  Dillinger with his gang went in to relax and hide from FBI.  Unfortunately, the FBI got intelligence report about their location and pursued them.  The FBI made their way into the hotel premises, which then led to exchange of gun fire; however, this cannot be verified as the real situation since they are just mere movie depictions (Davis 2).

It is clear that Public Enemies is majorly a story of the outlawed group; the group that cannot stand for long in the chase within American borders.  Even after the arrest of both Dillinger and Muni, the federal police and the justice system could not prosecute them through a proper court system where legal measures could be enforced, which is more of a myth than reality.  This showed a bad culture to the citizens because just the act of escaping from jails alone was already a source of insecurity to the people.  In a way, it explains why the gang was often referred to as the public enemy.  Their public image was terribly bad because of the continuous threats to the nation and constant breaking of the laws (Public Enemies).

The American criminal justice is dynamic since several changes have taken place over the recent past.  For example, there is a lot of freedom of association and assembly, which at times leads to planning and committing crime.  For instance, American youths currently have a lot of freedom to associate and a lot of money to spend.  Often, this makes them idle, and they go to various night clubs and entertainment facilities.  In fact, some youths have guns, which they use to commit crimes such as murder, rape, and robbery.  Precisely, from the analysis of the movie, the lifestyle of Dillinger is similar to the current American criminal justice that grants freedom to the youth to possess a lot of money and own lethal weapons, such as guns.  However, the American legal and corrective systems have to do their best so that the former criminal justice of the nation is restored.  Therefore, the police force and judicial system had a critical role to play in apprehending and bringing Dillinger and the other gang members to justice (Costello 1).

Mythically, the movie depicted American criminal justice as a system that is democratic and social and that is ready to educate citizens on the demerits of criminal activities.  The criminals had time to show all sides of living styles of the American people.  The main aim, however, is to lecture the public, especially the youth, about the dangers of crime.  One of the fellow members of Dillinger’s gang named Homer Van says, “I will give out a message to the youth of America” (Public Enemies).  Furthermore, this is reflected in the movie, whereby all the challenges associated with criminal life are shown in Public Enemies.

In reality, Dillinger was arrested. When he had wandered into police station and had seen several mug shots of his associates majorly stamped as “Deceased,” he realized that it was a chronicle of his death, and the day had arrived.  The US security had gunned him down and had eventually put an end to the criminal activities of his gang.  This shows that they were in control of the nation, and any security threat from all sources is under control through an instrumental FBI.  Clearly, the FBI got involved in the case and played a key role in killing Dillinger, which was aimed at restoring of the American criminal justice that culturally discouraged criminal activities.  In fact, the movie gives a detailed account how the American Security under the leadership of the FBI tries to discourage and manage criminal activities, which threaten the American criminal justice and cultural image (Public Enemies).


In sum, as it is vivid from the movies Public Enemies and Scarface, directors and writers of films tend to perpetuate more myths than realities about the criminal justice.  Though, the two movies provide information on crime and justice system, the communicated information is rather distorted and exaggerated.  In fact, reality is based on experience, and the real knowledge is acquired through socialization.  For instance, when one is attacked by a group of robbers or even put behind the bars, then he/she is able to get the real information on crime and the justice system, rather than the myths gathered from the movies.  Therefore, it is important to realize that not everything one can see in movies present the reality since much of information creates and depicts the myths about the justice system.

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