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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
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
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Did You Know?


Two FBI agents were on the set at all times. See more »


The film showed two men doing the Kansas City Massacre, with Frank Nash dying first as he was in the front passenger seat. The lead shooter is Pretty Boy Floyd. In reality, Floyd's involvement was never proven. However, at the time the film was made, the reality was that Vernon Miller was the primary shooter, along with Adam Richetti and a third man, thought to be Floyd. Miller immediately killed two Kansas City patrol officers, wounded FBI agent Smith and gunned down FBI agent Caffrey. The shooters then killed Nash and Oklahoma police chief Otto Reed. Both KC officers and Caffrey were killed outside of the car, while Nash and Reed were killed inside the vehicle. Three FBI agents who were wounded were all outside the vehicle. See more »


Lucy Ann Hardesty: Chip, you can't just get married like ordering a ham sandwich!
John Michael Hardesty: You can if you're hungry!
See more »


Featured in Matilda (1996) 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

The FBI For Richer Or Poorer
20 January 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In the tradition of G-Men, The House On 92nd Street, The Street With No Name, now comes The FBI Story one of those carefully supervised films that showed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the best possible light. While it's 48 year director J. Edgar Hoover was alive, it would be showed in no other kind of light.

The book by Don Whitehead that this film is based on is a straight forward history of the bureau from it's founding in 1907 until roughly the time the film The FBI Story came out. It's important sometimes to remember there WAS an FBI before J. Edgar Hoover headed it. Some of that time is covered in the film as well.

But Warner Brothers was not making a documentary so to give the FBI flesh and blood the fictional character of John 'Chip' Hardesty was created. Hardesty as played by James Stewart is a career FBI man who graduated law school and rather than go in practice took a job with the bureau in the early twenties.

In real life the Bureau was headed by William J. Burns of the Burns Private Detective Agency. It was in fact a grossly political operation then as is showed in the film. Burns was on the periphery of the scandals of the Harding administration. When Hoover was appointed in 1924 to bring professional law enforcement techniques and rigorous standards of competence in, he did just that.

Through the Hardesty family which is Stewart and wife Vera Miles we see the history of the FBI unfold. In addition we see a lot of their personal family history which is completely integrated into the FBI's story itself. Stewart and Miles are most assuredly an all American couple. We follow the FBI through some of the cases Stewart is involved with, arresting Ku Klux Klan members, a plot to murder oil rich Indians, bringing down the notorious criminals of the thirties, their involvement with apprehending Nazi sympathizers in World War II and against Communist espionage in the Cold War.

There is a kind of prologue portion where Stewart tells a class at the FBI Academy before going into the history of the bureau as it intertwines with his own. That involves a bomb placed on an airline by a son who purchased a lot of life insurance on his mother before the flight. Nick Adams will give you the creeps as the perpetrator and the story is sadly relevant today.

Of course if The FBI Story were written and produced today it would reflect something different and not so all American. Still the FBI does have a story to tell and it is by no means a negative one.

The FBI Story is not one of Jimmy Stewart's best films, but it's the first one I ever saw with my favorite actor in it so it has a special fondness for me. If the whole FBI were made up Jimmy Stewarts, I'd feel a lot better about it. There's also a good performance by Murray Hamilton as his friend and fellow agent who is killed in a shootout with Baby Face Nelson.

Vera Miles didn't just marry Stewart, she in fact married the FBI as the film demonstrates. It's dated mostly, but still has a good and interesting story to tell.

14 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Darn good movie fnj2002
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