Melvin Purvis: G-Man

Melvin Purvis: G-Man
Genre crime
Created by John Milius
Based on story by John Milius
Written by John Milius
William F Nolan
Directed by Dan Curtis
Starring Dale Robertson
Theme music composer Bob Cobert
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s) English
Cinematography Jacques R. Marquette
Editor(s) Corky Ehlers
Richard A. Harris
Running time 74 min.
Production company(s) American International Pictures
Distributor American Broadcasting Company
Original network ABC
Original release 9 April 1974
Preceded by Dillinger
Followed by The Kansas City Massacre

Melvin Purvis: G-Man is a 1974 American TV movie about Melvin Purvis. It is a spin-off of Dillinger (directed by John Milius, author of the teleplay for this movie) and was followed in 1975 by The Kansas City Massacre, also directed by Dan Curtis and starring Dale Robertson as Purvis.


In this largely fictionalized film, agent Melvin Purvis is placed in charge of running down notorious killer Machine Gun Kelly, and sets out to do just that. The film script is loosely based on Kelly's 1933 actual kidnapping of an Oklahoma petroleum executive, but the names and places are changed. The film does accurately depict Kelly as a weak man who is dominated by his ambitious wife.[1][2]



In January 1974 there were reports Ben Johnson would reprise his role as Melvin Purvis in an ABC Movie of the Week called Purvis, which would act as a pilot for a potential series.[3] Eventually the role was take by Dale Robertson and Dan Curtis was the show runner. It was American International Pictures' first proper venture into TV production.[4]

Filming was done in Nicolaus, California.

In a 1976 interview, Milus called Dan Curtis "this asshole director... Put me down saying whatever you want about him and then, if he wants to see me about it, he knows where to find me." He also didn't like working for TV. "I don't like the way the networks screw around with you. The pay isn't the thing that turns me off; I'm not out to get the most money. You slave and toil over the thing and then they cut this out, cut that out, change this, for some damn reason. I won't tolerate that. I don't work hard on something to have it bowdlerized that way."[5]


The Los Angeles Times thought the pilot was superior to Dillinger "because here character and motivation are made to count much more than mere violence."[6]

It was the second highest rating program of the week.[7] It led to another TV movie The Kansas City Massacre (1975) though no series.


  1. Rotten Tomatoes, Movie Info.
  2. Nothing is written, film blog. Melvin Purvis: G-Man.
  3. Gold, Aaron (16 Jan 1974). "Tower Ticker". Chicago Tribune. p. c2.
  4. Smith, Cecil (4 Feb 1974). "'Dracula' to Rise Again on Friday". Los Angeles Times. p. c13.
  5. Thompson, Richard (July–August 1976). "STOKED". Film Comment 12.4. p. 10-21.
  6. Thomas, Kevin (9 April 1974). "TV MOVIE REVIEW: A Good-Guy Hero in 'Purvis,G-Man'". Los Angeles Times. p. c20.
  7. "PREEMPTS PUT WELBY ATOP NIELSEN RATINGS". Los Angeles Times. 27 April 1974. p. a3.
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