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The FBI Story (1959)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, History  |  October 1959 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,984 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 12 critic

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

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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 »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Geheimagent des FBI  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene were Whitey changes trains to elude the agents is set at the Bowling Green Station in lower Manhattan but was actually filmed at the unused Court Street station in Brooklyn, now the home of the New York City Transit Museum. See more »

Goofs

The agents watching Whitey follow him to a NY Giants football game at Yankee Stadium. The team did not move there until 1956, but according to the plates on the taxi outside the park the story takes place in 1950. See more »

Quotes

Sam Crandall: [Saying goodbye to John and Lucy as they leave on their honeymoon] Good luck! I hope the fish are biting.
John Michael Hardesty: [With a knowing smile] I was kinda hopin' they wouldn't be.
See more »

Connections

References Kansas City Princess (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

Bye Bye Blackbird
(uncredited)
Music by Ray Henderson
Played as background music during the Indian sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Good entertainment, but that's all
27 July 2002 | by (Columbia, South Carolina, USA) – See all my reviews

This is an entertaining "history" of the FBI, but it should be viewed as fiction, because that's exactly what it is. What else could it be when J. Edgar Hoover personally approved and had a cameo role in the production. James Stewart is excellent, as usual, and the supporting cast, except for the talentless Vera Miles, is good. Murray Hamilton is especially good in a supporting role as Stewart's partner and best friend. The FBI accomplishments that the film highlights are undoubtedly all true. What is significant is what it leaves out.

One of the most shameful parts of the film is the depiction of the killing of John Dillinger. It is portrayed pretty much as it happened, but no mention at all is made of Melvin Purvis, the Chicago Bureau Chief who headed the operation. Instead, the operation is depicted as if the fictional Chip Hardesty were running it. It has been said that Hoover was jealous of the publicity that Purvis received after Dillinger was killed; Purvis was subsequently transferred to a remote outpost, and shortly afterward left the FBI. This is no doubt why Purvis was never mentioned in the film. But this viewer, at least, paused to think that if Purvis was treated this way, what about all the agents who conducted all the other operations depicted in the film. Were they also completely ignored and replaced by the fictional Hardesty.

The film is probably accurate in its portrayal of FBI activity up through the end of WWII. However, after that point, the film would have us believe that the only threat facing the US came from international communism, which is no doubt what Hoover believed. Never mind the Mafia. Never mind the lynchings that were still going on in the South. Never mind that blacks were being intimidated to keep them from voting in much of the South. I don't know if the FBI had started wiretapping Martin Luther King by the time this film was made, but if not, it wasn't very long afterward that it started.

As I said at the outset, this is pretty good entertainment, but it should be viewed as the sanitized fictionalization that it is.


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Darn good movie fnj2002
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