Release Year: 1987
Director: Brian De Palma
Writers: David Mamet (screenplay), Eliot Ness (based on his 1957 memoir The Untouchables), Oscar Fraley (co-author of memoir)
Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, Richard Bradford, Jack Kehoe, Brad Sullivan, Billy Drago, Patricia Clarkson, Steven Goldstein, Peter Aylward
Rating: Won 1 Oscar: Best Supporting Actor (Sean Connery). Nominated for 3 Oscars: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Score. Won 1 Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor (Sean Connery). Nominated for 1 Golden Globe: Best Original Score.
In order to stop Chicago gangster Al Capone, federal agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) assembles a group known as “the untouchables” who an operate freely in the a city and police force on the take.
Eliot Ness, the law enforcement officer who couldn’t be bought, quickly became a legend in his own time, helped along by the popular memoir he published in 1947. Paramount Pictures made a TV series based on it in 1959 and as the company still had film right almost thirty years later they wanted to make a big screen adaptation. Director Brian De Palma (Carrie, 1976) didn’t want to just transfer the series to film as the studio originally wanted, but took great license with they and the fact of Ness’s life to make what he felt could be a big screen epic. The result is a masterpiece in both De Palma’s filmography and prohibition era gangster films. Costner (The Bodyguard, 1992) is an excellent casting choice as the thoroughly decent officer, Connery (First Knight, 1995) walks his way to an Oscar nod with this great character, and De Niro (New York, New York, 1977) gives a truly memorable performance as Al Capone. Tense, full of engaging characters, well-paced, with a riveting Morricone score this is probably the De Palma film that will best stand the test of time. Highly recommended.
St. Jude is in fact not the patron saint of police officers in general as Sean Connery’s character mentions, but patron saint of the Chicago Police Department specifically.
Picture Copyright: UIP