The Untouchables

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“The Untouchables” is a thriller film of 1987 directed by Brian DePalma. It is a crime-drama based on the true story of the famous federal agent Eliot Ness and his team of agents, who tried to take down the notorious gangster Al Capone during the Prohibition period in the United States.

The film is set in Chicago in the 1930s and follows the struggle of Eliot Ness, played by Kevin Costner, to put an end to the criminal rule of Al Capone, played by Robert De Niro. To do so, Ness assembles a team of honest agents, known as “the untouchables”, which includes veteran agent Jim Malone, played by Sean Connery, weapons expert George Stone, played by Andy Garcia, and accountant Oscar Wallace, played by Charles Martin Smith.

The film’s plot focuses on Ness’s challenge to locate Capone’s illegal operations, such as alcohol smuggling and law enforcement corruption. The film features many action and suspense scenes, including a famous scene where Ness and Stone are confronted by a killer in a building with a staircase.

‘The Untouchables’ achieved great critical and popular acclaim upon its release. It is widely considered one of De Palma’s best films and one of his best movies on gangsters from the 80s. It received several nominations and won the Academy Award for Best Original Score, composed by Ennio Morricone.

The film is known for its outstanding performances, especially that of Sean Connery, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Jim Malone. Robert De Niro’s performance as Al Capone is also highly praised, although he only appeared in a few scenes.

“The Untouchables” became a classic of the gangster genre and influenced many subsequent films. Its gripping plot, De Palma’s direction and memorable performances still make it a much-loved film by movie buffs today.

Plot

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The plot of “The Untouchables” revolves around the struggle of Eliot Ness, a federal agent tasked with putting an end to the criminal activities of gangster Al Capone during the Prohibition period in the United States.

In 1930, Eliot Ness is appointed head of a team of federal agents in Chicago with the aim of dismantling Al Capone’s criminal organization. Capone controls much of the illegal alcohol trade in the city and has bribed police and government officials to protect his illegal operations.

Ness realizes that he can’t trust anyone in the corrupt police department and decides to raise a team of honest officers, known as “the untouchables”. Among them is Jim Malone, a veteran agent played by Sean Connery, who becomes Ness’s mentor. Other members include George Stone, a weapons expert played by Andy Garcia, and Oscar Wallace, an accountant played by Charles Martin Smith.

The “Untouchables” begin a campaign to shut down Capone’s illegal operations by seizing shipments of booze, intercepting payments, and working to obtain evidence against him. Meanwhile, Ness makes the acquaintance of a young woman named Catherine, played by Patricia Clarkson, who turns out to be his informant within Capone’s organization.

The fight between Ness and Capone escalates, with Capone attempting to kill Ness and his team. One of the most memorable scenes in the film is the epic shootout at the stairway building, in which Ness and Stone face off against an assassin sent by Capone.

The plot of “The Untouchables” is based on true events, although some narrative and cinematic changes have been made to make the film more immersive and dramatic.

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Movie Characters

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The film ‘The Untouchables’ features a number of memorable characters played by a talented cast. Here are some of the main characters:

Eliot Ness (played by Kevin Costner): He is the film’s protagonist and a federal agent assigned to fight gangster Al Capone. He is a man of integrity and determined to do justice.

Al Capone (played by Robert De Niro): He is a famous gangster who controls much of the illegal activity in Chicago during Prohibition. Capone is a ruthless and unscrupulous character.

Jim Malone (played by Sean Connery): He is a veteran cop who becomes Ness’ mentor in his fight against Capone. Malone is a wise and courageous character.

George Stone (played by Andy Garcia): He is a weapons expert and one of the members of the “untouchables”. Stone is a brave and loyal character.

Oscar Wallace (played by Charles Martin Smith): He is an accounting expert who joins Ness’ team to gather evidence against Capone. Wallace is an intelligent and determined character.

Catherine Ness (played by Patricia Clarkson): She is the wife of Eliot Ness. In the film, she is revealed to be an important informant within Capone’s organization.

Frank Nitti (played by Billy Drago): He is a dangerous criminal and one of Capone’s trusted men. Nitti is a ruthless and evil character.

These are just some of the main characters in the film. There are also other secondary characters who contribute to the plot and story development. The cast of “The Untouchables” gave unforgettable performances which contributed to the success of the film.

Production

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The film “The Untouchables” was directed by Brian De Palma and produced by Art Linson. The film’s production was handled by Paramount Pictures and Touchstone Pictures. Here are some details on the production of the film:

Screenplay: The screenplay of the film was written by David Mamet, a screenwriter and playwright known for his sharp dialogues and dramatic themes. The screenplay is based in part on the book “The Untouchables” by Oscar Fraley and Eliot Ness, which tells the true story of Eliot Ness’ exploits in his fight against Al Capone.

Cast: The cast of the film included such talented actors as Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Andy Garcia, Charles Martin Smith and Patricia Clarkson. These actors gave memorable performances of their respective characters and contributed to the success of the film.

Filming: Filming for the film was primarily done in Chicago, which is also the setting for the film. Some scenes were also filmed in Los Angeles. The recreation of the 1930s and Chicago environments has been painstakingly crafted to capture the atmosphere of the era.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack of the film was composed by Ennio Morricone, one of the most famous composers of music for cinema. His musical score helped create the film’s dramatic and enthralling atmosphere.

Release and success: “The Untouchables” was released in theaters on June 3, 1987. The film received great critical and commercial success, becoming one of the most popular films of the year. It grossed over $76 million at the US box office.

The production of ‘The Untouchables’ combined a solid screenplay, a talented cast, skillful direction and an engaging soundtrack to create a blockbuster film that has left a lasting imprint on cinematic culture.

Distribution and Reception

The film “The Untouchables” was distributed by Paramount Pictures and Touchstone Pictures. Here are some details about the film’s distribution and reception:

Theatrical Release: “The Untouchables” was released theatrically on June 3, 1987 in the United States. Subsequently, it was distributed to other parts of the world, including several European countries.

Critical Response: The film has received generally positive critical response. Critics praised Brian De Palma’s direction, David Mamet’s screenplay, and the performances of the cast. In particular, Sean Connery’s performance as Jim Malone was highly praised, and he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Ennio Morricone’s score was also highly praised.

Box Office Success: ‘The Untouchables’ was a major commercial success. It grossed over $76 million at the box office in the United States and over $106 million internationally. The film ranked as one of the biggest blockbusters of 1987.

Accolades: In addition to Sean Connery’s Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the film received three other Academy Award nominations in the categories of Best Original Score, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design. He has also received numerous other accolades and nominations, including Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations.

Duration of impact: “The Untouchables” has become a cult film in the crime genre and a landmark in the filmography of Brian De Palma. Its gripping storyline, memorable performances, and engaging direction continue to be enjoyed by movie buffs.

Positive critical reception and commercial success helped solidify The Untouchables’ reputation as one of the most iconic crime films of the 1980s and as a cornerstone in Brian De Palma’s filmography.

Style

The style of the film “The Untouchables” is typical of director Brian De Palma, known for his use of bold and impactful visual and narrative techniques. Here are some distinctive elements of the style present in the film:

Tributes to Classic Filmmakers: De Palma is known for his love of classic filmmakers from Hollywood, and in the film “The Untouchables” he pays homage to many cinema icons. For example, the influence of Alfred Hitchcock is evident in the suspenseful sequences and use of the camera to build tension. De Palma also uses visual and thematic references to directors such as Howard Hawks and Sergei Eisenstein.

Suspense and Action Sequences: De Palma is a master at crafting engaging suspense and action sequences. In the film, there are many memorable action scenes, such as the shootout in the building with the staircase and the famous chase on the Eli station. De Palma uses techniques such as slow motion, cross-editing and the use of unusual angles to increase the tension and energy of the sequences.

Photography and use of color: The cinematography of “The Untouchables” is characterized by a particular attention to visual composition and the use of color. Stephen H. Burum’s photography creates an atmosphere of noir movie, with a strong emphasis on the contrast between light and dark. Color is used symbolically, such as red which represents blood and violence.

Use of Music: Ennio Morricone’s score plays an important role in the film, helping to create the dramatic and immersive atmosphere. His compositions, often characterized by memorable melodies and a sense of tension, integrate perfectly with the film’s key sequences and moments.

Nonlinear Storytelling: De Palma uses nonlinear storytelling in parts of the film, jumping back and forth in time to reveal information and build suspense. This style of fragmented storytelling helps keep the viewer interested and keeps the pace of the film.

Overall, the style of “The Untouchables” is characterized by a combination of suspense, action, tributes to great directors and a strong visual component. These elements blend together to create an immersive and memorable cinematic experience.

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Curiosities and Anecdotes

Here are some curiosities and interesting anecdotes related to the film “The Untouchables”:

Involvement of Sean Connery: Sean Connery agreed to play the role of Jim Malone in the film after reading the script, but initially rejected the part because he had already played a similar character in “The Name of the Rose” (1986). Eventually, director Brian De Palma convinced him to take the role, and his performance earned him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Malone’s famous speech: Sean Connery’s speech in the film, in which he talks about being willing to carry a knife when opponents carry a gun, is considered one of the film’s most memorable moments. The actor improvised much of the speech, thus adding a personal touch to the scene.

De Palma vs. Costner clash: During filming, director Brian De Palma and actor Kevin Costner had some creative differences on set. De Palma was known for his detailed and precise approach to filming, while Costner favored a more instinctive and spontaneous approach. However, a successful collaboration eventually emerged that contributed to the final outcome of the film.

David Mamet Influence: Director Brian De Palma chose David Mamet as a screenwriter for the film, liking his unique writing style and sharp dialogue. Mamet helped create the film’s signature dramatic tone and tension, with his ability to create complex characters and emotionally charged scenes.

Leontyne Price and the opera: In the film, during a scene in a theater, a performance of the opera “Carmen” by Georges Bizet is shown. The voice that is heard belongs to Leontyne Price, a famous American soprano. The choice of work helps to create a dramatic and intense atmosphere in the scene.

Location: The film was shot in various locations, mainly in Chicago. The famous shooting sequence in the building with the staircase was filmed at Union Station in Chicago, creating an iconic scene from the film.

These trivia and anecdotes offer an interesting look behind the scenes of the film “The Untouchables” and show some of the elements that have contributed to its success and enduring popularity.

Director

The director of the film “The Untouchables” is Brian De Palma. Born September 11, 1940 in Newark, New Jersey, USA, De Palma is a successful director and screenwriter. He is known for his directing prowess suspense movie, thriller and crime, and has left a significant imprint on the film landscape.

De Palma began his film career in the 1960s and 1970s, directing independent films and earning critical acclaim. He achieved his first major commercial success in 1976 with the horror movie “Carrie – The Look of Satan”, based on the novel by Stephen King.

Over the next few years, De Palma directed a string of acclaimed films, including ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1980), ‘Scarface’ (1983) and, of course, ‘The Untouchables’ (1987). His distinctive style, characterized by visually bold sequences, gripping suspense and classic cinematic influences, has made his films recognizable and unique.

Brian De Palma continued to direct successful films during the 1990s and 2000s, including ‘Carlito’s Way’ (1993) and ‘Mission: Impossible’ (1996). His career has been marked by collaborations with talented actors and a mastery of creating iconic sequences.

With his extensive filmography, De Palma has proven to be a versatile filmmaker, capable of spanning various genres and creating films that captivate and engage audiences. His contribution to cinema has been recognized with awards and nominations at various film festivals and award ceremonies.

Brian De Palma has left an indelible mark on the film industry with his distinctive style and his ability to create engaging and memorable films. His career continues to inspire filmmakers and viewers around the world.

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