A team that the mafia couldn’t buy
The Untouchables (1987)
The Untouchables (1987) is a standout in a long line of cops vs mafia films that have graced the silver screen over the decades. There are literally hundreds of movies on this topic since The Black Hand (1906) appeared in theatres in all its silent glory.
If you are over 40 you have probably checked this one out at least once, but it seems to have fallen out of favor in recent years. It’s rarely on TV and not often discussed in the classic gangster film conversation with giants like The Godfather and Goodfellas dominating the discussion. That is a shame because it is an entertaining movie with a cast that would make any director envious.
Sean Connery is at his witty and dynamic best as Chicago PD Patrolman Jim Malone. He won a best supporting actor Oscar for the role. Kevin Costner is excellent as the straight man Federal Treasury Agent Eliot Ness. Robert DeNiro delivers some fantastic lines in the smaller role as head of The Chicago Outfit, Al Capone. Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith round out the cast of Ness’s Untouchables.
Brian DePalma directs the film and uses the talent that he collected wisely. With a fast moving and clear plot story he spins an entertaining tale of Capone’s downfall. He recreates gangster era Chicago to perfection and put the audience right alongside of Ness’s “untouchable” agents that could not be bribed like most of the city’s law enforcement population.
The movie has some great lines from its all-star cast of actors. From Connery’s Malone, “You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way!” to DeNiro’s Capone, “A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms, enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball!” C’mon, how could you not like baseball?
It is no exaggeration to use the term “tale” to describe the plot. The story is mostly fictional. Ness’s Untouchables did exist and did hurt Capone’s Chicago Outfit in the wallet going after his bootlegging business, but it was mainly the work of the US Attorney George Johnson and Treasury Intelligence Unit members Frank Wilson and Elmer Irey that made the now famous tax evasion case. Ness’s Untouchables attempted to build a Volstead Act violation case, but it was never taken to trial. But leave the truth in the rearview. This is a great story and just enjoy the ride.
The Untouchables is a two-hour saga that will keep you entertained and wanting more. Sit back and enjoy an American Classic as Ness and Co. fight for truth, justice, and the American way. You can stream it if you have Showtime on demand, and you can rent it on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube, etc. for about $3 or $4. It’s also available for purchase on those platforms. Check out the JustWatch website for more info. You can find current updates on where to watch any film or show for free or behind a paywall.