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The Untouchables (1987)

 -  Crime | Drama | History  -  3 June 1987 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 178,669 users  
Reviews: 392 user | 105 critic

Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.

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(suggested by book), (suggested by book), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Untouchables (1987)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
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Police Chief Mike Dorsett
Jack Kehoe ...
Walter Payne
Brad Sullivan ...
George
...
...
Catherine Ness
...
Bowtie Driver
Steven Goldstein ...
Scoop
Peter Aylward ...
Lt. Anderson
...
Officer Preseuski
Robert Swan ...
Mountie Captain
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Storyline

Federal agent Elliot Ness assembles a personal team of mob fighters to bring Chicago crime boss Al Capone to justice using unconventional means during the mob wars of the 1920s. This fictionalized account of the arrest of Al Capone is heavy on style and gunfire. The end shootout combines a baby carriage and stairs with a nod to Eisenstein's _The Battleship Potemkin_. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Chicago Dream is that big See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 June 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Untouchables  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$76,270,454 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the AMC Network's Movies at Our House (2002), Billy Drago, who portrays the white-suited Frank Nitti, says that while they were filming scenes on the streets of Chicago, he was told about a couple of teenage street gangs getting ready for a gang fight. At the request of the Chicago Police Department, Drago, wearing his costume and armed with his prop tommy gun, went to the place where the fight was supposed to happen. The gang members were in such awe of him that they didn't fight. See more »

Goofs

Oscar goes down in the elevator a few meters before the corridor turns right and after a flight of stairs. But when Elliot Ness realises something is wrong he runs down these stairs. Police Chief Mike Dorsett goes into his office at the end of the said hallway and looks out of his window which is situated on the line of the corridor and sees the assailant who killed Oscar and the witness. This mistake in essence means that the lift shaft moved 100 yards along the line of the corridor. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: 1930. Prohibition has transformed Chicago into a City at War. Rival gangs compete for control of the city's billion dollar empire of illegal alcohol, enforcing their will with the hand grenade and tommy gun. It is the time of the Ganglords. It is the time of Al Capone.
Reporter: [to Al Capone] An article, which I believe appeared in a newspaper, asked why, since you are, or it would seem that you are, in effect, the mayor of Chicago, you've not simply been appointed to that position.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title of the aria "Vesti la giubba" from Leoncavallo's opera "Pagliacci" is misspelled in the closing credits of the film: "Vesti la guibba". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Deadly Mantis (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

MOOD INDIGO
Written by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills and Barney Bigard
Arranged by Bob Wilber
Courtesy of Wilkes College Jazz Archives
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
It's the Chicago Way
21 June 2001 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

In 1919, over the veto of President Wilson, the Volstead Act was passed, which made provisions for the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment, and successfully ushered in the era of Prohibition; what it did not do, was keep people from drinking, or more significantly, keep certain `businessmen' from selling it, which opened the flood gates to a billion dollar industry of illegal alcohol. And in the larger cities, the mob bosses jumped onto the bandwagon with both feet, the most notorious of which was Al Capone, who by 1930 had a thriving business and the city and the people of Chicago in his pocket. From the cop on the beat to the judges sitting on the highest courts, everyone seemingly had a price and could be bought. And that's the way it was until Treasury Agent Eliot Ness showed up for work and hand picked a squad of honest cops to help him get Capone and clean up the City of Chicago. `The Untouchables,' directed by Brian De Palma, is the story of Ness and his men, dubbed `Untouchable' because they couldn't be bought, though from the beginning the odds were stacked against them. They were a handful against an army of hoodlums who wielded grenades and tommy guns, and they could trust no one outside of their own circle, not even the cops with whom they shared the streets. Many looked upon what Ness was trying to do as an exercise in futility, but he never gave up, and went after Capone with everything he had, which wasn't much beyond his own guts and determination to `do some good.'

Ness's initial efforts were a disaster-- Capone had informants everywhere and always knew ahead of time whenever a raid was going down-- so he quickly realized that the only way to do this thing right was to get men he could trust and keep everything quiet. The bureau responded by sending Ness (Kevin Costner) an accountant, Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith), who first had the idea of going after Capone for income tax evasion. Ness then recruited Jim Malone (Sean Connery), a veteran cop who walked a beat and was well versed in doing things `The Chicago way,' and George Stone (Andy Garcia) a crack shot recruited right out of the Police Academy.

Connery gives an exemplary performance as Malone (for which he received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), the tough, Irish cop who becomes something of a tutor to Ness, letting him know from the start what he's getting himself into. How do you deal with someone of Capone's ilk? According to Malone, `If he pulls a knife, you pull a gun. If he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way-- that's how you get Capone.' It's a perfect part for Connery, whose rugged appearance and demeanor are entirely convincing; he's got that somewhat cynical, world-wise and weary manner of a man who has seen it all, but lets you know that underneath he still holds out hope that some day in some way, right will win out after all. And Connery plays it with a hard, uncompromising edge that makes it so believable, and makes Malone a memorable character. De Palma brings it all vividly to life, building an underlying tension from the beginning that he maintains throughout the film, aided by the intense, sometimes haunting score by Ennio Morricone. Costner gives a solid performance as Ness, but he is somewhat overshadowed by the actors and the characters who surround him, especially Connery as Malone, and Robert De Niro, who as Capone is absolutely menacing and larger-than-life. De Niro captures the ruthlessness that indelibly marked Capone's infamy forever in the annals of criminal history, with a portrayal of him that is arguably the best in cinematic history. De Niro plays it as it lays, presenting Capone as the brutal criminal he was, without attempting to airbrush away any of the attributes that made him so despicable. It's a terrific performance, for which he should have received at least an Oscar nomination.

The supporting cast includes Richard Bradford (Mike), Jack Kehoe (Payne), Brad Sullivan (George), Billy Drago (Nitti) and Patricia Clarkson (Ness' wife). Extremely well crafted and delivered by De Palma, who had a great screenplay (by David Mamet) and a terrific cast with which to work, `The Untouchables' is a powerful, intense film that successfully evokes this particular period in the history of America. And it subtly underscores the true heroics of men like Ness and his crew, who through their fearless dedication possibly made it a little safer for someone to walk down the street, or for an honest man to simply go about the business of making a living-- things too often taken for granted in our busy world today; things that are important, and which makes a film like this so much more than merely entertainment (though it definitely is that). And that's the real magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.


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Who's responsible for ruining the movie by casting Kevin Costner? ForKingAndCountry
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Ness gets tomorrow's newspaper today?? tribhuz
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