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The FBI Story (1959)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, History | October 1959 (USA)
3:15 | Trailer

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A dedicated FBI agent recalls the agency's battles against the Klan, organized crime and Communist spies.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
George Crandall
John Gilbert 'Jack' Graham
Diane Jergens ...
Jennie Hardesty
Joyce Taylor ...
Anne Hardesty
Victor Millan ...
Harry Dakins
Fay Roope ...
Dwight McCutcheon
U.S. Marshal
Robert Gist ...
Medicine Salesman
Buzz Martin ...
Mike Hardesty
Ken Mayer ...
Casket Salesman (as Kenneth Mayer)


The story of the FBI unfolds through the eyes of one of its agents. During his career he investigates gangsters, swindlers, the klu klux klan, Nazi agents and cold war spies. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You are crouched in a basement stairway opposite a theatre in Chicago. Keep your eyes on that FBI man across the street. He has set the trap for deadly public enemy, John Dillinger... See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

October 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Geheimagent des FBI  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The character of Sam Crandall is loosely based on FBI agent Sam Cowley, who worked for Melvin Purvis and was killed in a shootout with Baby Face Nelson--who was also killed--in the Little Bohemia Raid of 1934 near Mercer, Wisconsin. See more »


When Stewart's son is killed, he says his son died at 5:25am (Iwo Jima time) during the initial invasion and that his son didn't even get to see the sun rise. The first waves of Marines did not hit the beach until 0900. The naval bombardment began at 5:25am. There were no amphibious invasions done in darkness because of the lack of light for Marines and the fact that ships and amphibious boats would have been back-lit by the moon, making them easy targets. See more »


John Gilbert Graham: [after being arrested for murder] In case I get any mail, you can send it to Canon City Prison for the next month or so. After that you can send it to Hell!
See more »


References Manhattan Melodrama (1934) See more »


Wedding March
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played during the wedding ceremony
See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining film including appearance of known gangsters as Alvin Carpis , John Dillinger , Pretty Boy Floyd , Baby Face Nelson , Machine Gun Kelly , Ma Baker ...
4 July 2016 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

Interesting story about the Federal Bureau , -headquarters in Washington- , that unfolds through the eyes of one of its agents , following the career of a fictional FBI agent , Chip Hardesty (James Stewart) from when it was a second-class office against crime to the most powerful law enforcement agency in the country. During his FBI life he investigates mobsters , swindlers , the Klu Klux Klan , the case of Oklahoma Indians who were being killed , among others . Revolving around his wife (Vera Miles) , children , friends and other FBI agents , as Sam Crandall (Murray Hamilton, he is loosely based on FBI agent Sam Cowley) and his son (Larry Pennell) . It's set during the Depression era, and the 30s , when any job , even illegal one , was cherished, greed , money and power originated an interminable cycle of fury and violence . Dealing with famous gangsters whose criminal rampage didn't stop until the FBI agents worked to chase the crime bosses . During World War II their focus was on Nazi spies and subversive elements . By the 1950s , the focus was on communist spies and cold war spies.

Nice story with thrills , emotion , noisy action , suspense and family life . If you are aficionado of the gangster genre , this actioner offers a pseudo-factual or real fictional glimpse based on colorful mobsters and actual cases from the 1920s through the 1930s into the life of a fictitious agent . As the starring recounts his career with the bureau , describing the various cases he worked on and not specially persnickity about fidelity to the facts . The film provides an excellent main cast and good support cast . Even J. Edgar Hoover has a cameo , he personally chose James Stewart for the role of Chip Hardesty because he felt that Stewart conveyed a positive image . It packs a rousing cinematography in brilliant Technicolor by Joseph Biroc . Thilling as well as sensitive musical score by the classic composer Max Steiner . This anatomy of the FBI was well directed by Mervyn LeRoy (earlier he directed the classic mobster movie : ¨Little Caesar¨ with Edward G. Robinson) , though Edgar Hoover forced director LeRoy to re-shoot a scene because he didn't approve it , and even two FBI agents were on the set at all times.

This overlong picture is partially based on the real characters of notorious gangsters and with high profile bank robbers of the 20s and 30s , as there appear : Pretty Boy Floyd , Baby Face Nelson , John Dillinger , Alvin Karpis , Nash and Ma Barker . And re-enacting known and violent confrontations between prestigious agents , as Melviln Purvis or Sam Cowley , against the nasty delinquents . As when agent Sam Cowley -who worked for Melvin Purvis- was killed in a shootout with Baby Face Nelson -who was also killed- in the Little Bohemia Raid of 1934 near Mercer, Wisconsin . When Alvin Carpis -the last of the high-profile 1930s era bank robbers- is ¨personally¨ arrested by J. Edgar Hoover (though it has since been debunked as a myth created by Hoover himself) ; as Hoover and his assistant 'Clyde Tolson' -who makes a cameo appearance in the film in the same scene as Hoover- came out and Hoover dramatically showed Carpis his badge , declaring , "Carpis, you're under arrest! . Well described was the John Dillinger's arrest , when doublé-crossed by the foreign prostitute Anne Sage , ¨the lady in red¨ , he is shot next to a cinema . Furthermore , when is detained the famous gangster Machine Gun Kelly and shouting : ¨the G-men¨ . And The Jack Graham airliner bombing piece is basically correct , and Graham's real name is correctly used .

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Darn good movie fnj2002
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Was there a music box? tigers10
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