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The FBI Story (1959)

 -  Crime | Drama | History  -  October 1959 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,818 users  
Reviews: 38 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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Title: The FBI Story (1959)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Michael 'Chip' Hardesty
...
...
...
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:

The fury of America's fight for decency ! 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 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 »

Goofs

The rifle that kills the Indian is aimed nowhere near him. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Spin-off The F.B.I. (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Disappointing Docu-drama!
10 November 2006 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"The FBI Story" tries to tell the story of the evolution of the FBI over 35 years, through the eyes of a veteran agent, Chip Hardesty (James Stewart). It spins off into several segments covering Hardesty's career. There's a segment on the Klu Klux Klan (with nary an African American in sight), one showing the cheating of native Americans out of their oil leases in Texas and several brief run-ins with the well known gangsters of the 1930s.

Inrerspersed with these episodes are home life interludes where Stewart's character turns into George Bailey ("Its a Wonderful Life" (1946)). He meets and marries Lucy (Vera Miles) and we follow their lives through the birth of three children, a miscarriage, a separation and a war time tragedy.

Told in a documentary style, this film, in my opinion is far too long at 149 minutes. The action sequences, such as they are, are brief and with no character development of the gangsters. They are simply confronted by the FBI and either arrested or gunned down. The Hardesty character is hardly involved in these segments and he does not confront any of the gangsters directly.

The at home sequences while well played, look like something out of "Father Knows Best", the popular TV series of the day. Another thing I found unusual was the fact that Stewart and Miles basically carry the whole film. Other characters appear briefly then either get killed off or disappear altogether. While Stewart and Miles do their best, they hardly seem to have aged 35 years over the course of the story. And there are no name actors to speak of in the supporting cast. Murray Hamilton, Larry Pennell and Nick Adams do appear briefly, but were not that well known in 1959.

James Cagney's "G-Men" (1935) covered the FBI's early years much better.


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