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The Untouchables Reviews

Page 1 of 381
John M

Super Reviewer

March 22, 2007
One of the best gangster movies made.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

July 29, 2010
Though there are certain historical liberties taken with the story of the Untouchables taking down Al Capone, this film is completely forgiven. It's a historical period piece, an action film, and a gangster crime film all rolled up into one. Whether or not Al Capone was justified in breaking the Volstead Act and bringing alcohol into the Chicago streets is history's burden, but the violence exacted upon his enemies was the same as a warlord, and for that the audience wants to see him go down. Seeing Eliot Ness (Costner) take Capone (De Niro) down was a sweet victory, in a film fraught with the deaths of many. The crusade that the Untouchables took on, risking their own lives to their detriment, was personal and heroic, and this film shows that. Not only that but every one of them is defined as an action hero, though some of them may be accountants, other beat cops. Every scene is artfully done, whether they're at the battle on the bridge, or the nod to "Battleship Potemkin" at the train station, or the rooftop chase, it's a sweetly crafted ode to these heroes, and the lives that they lived and lost. It's a really cool movie, and for a period piece, that's pretty difficult to pull off.

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2006
Written by David Mamet and directed by Brian De Palma, this is a flashy retelling of Eliot Ness and his quest to bring down Al Capone on the mean streets of Prohibition era Chicago.

I used to be quite fond of this film, but time, re viewings, and some other factors have lead me to realize that this film isn't quite the gem I once thought it was.

There are liberties with the history, and I expected that, but not only that, there's really not a whole lot of character development or that strong of a story here. Yeah, the pacing's tight, but I feel like things are perhaps a bit too rushed, and more time could be spent building the story instead of just jumping right in from event to event.

The period details are quite good though, and the film nails the era fine. The historical errors just come with character, development, and the general plot/story. Ennio Morricone's music, while good (save for a track or two), is misused, with the cues showing up at inappropriate times, making for a jarring effect. The film feels really uneven, especially with the music, but in general too. It's like they were unsure what kind of tone they were shooting for.

Okay, now for more praise. This film is stylish, and quite entertaining. There's a strong cast, and the performances are pretty decent. I don't know if Connery necessarily deserved the Oscar he got for this, but he is a joy to watch, even if I don't quite buy him as a veteran beat cop.

Being a De Palma film, there's some great cinematography and camera work, complete with a few nice long take/tracking shots. Even though the film is kinda uneven, there are some quite suspenseful scenes throughout, with perhaps the highlight being the climax at the train station which features a loving tribute to the "Odessa steps" sequence from Battleship Potemkin.

All in all, this film isn't nearly as good as people remember it to be. It's quite flawed, yet somehow I can't bring myself to rate it any lower, despite my gripes with it. Perhaps that's a bit hypocritical, but hell, even the cops took drinks while enforcing Prohibition, so yeah, nobody's perfect.

In any case, I still recommend this, even though I knew it could have been a lot better, and I know what could have been done to get it that way.
Kase V

Super Reviewer

June 22, 2013
Brian De Palma's 'The Untouchables' is violent and visceral, with a combination of potent storytelling and good acting. Connery and De Niro are obviously magnificent, and the movie's tight plot keeps everyone engaged from beginning to end. 'The Untouchables' is one of the best gangster films around.

Super Reviewer

April 22, 2011
Capone: You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.

"Never stop fighting till the fight is done"

The Untouchables is a fun, cool, entertaining, and well made crime thriller from Brian De Palma. It isn't his best film ever, but it's definitely up towards the top. The film has a phenomenal cast including: Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, and Kevin Costner. Also, you can't really go wrong with the subject material here. It's undeniably interesting and that interest is held in the audience from start to finish.

Elliot Ness is after gangster Al Capone. In order to get him though, he decides to make a small team of handpicked men because the Chicago police are so corrupt. He chooses a veteran cop, a recruit, and an FBI accountant. The four men begin to raid known places for shipments of alcohol. This pisses off Al Capone pretty severely, and pretty soon it's all out war between Capone and The Untouchables.

This film is beautifully shot and is just full of memorable scenes. From Elliot Ness's confrontation of Capone on the hotel stairs to the final shootout scene, the scenes linger in your mind. This film isn't like most, where you watch it and forget it. This is one of those movies that you remember forever. There's a lot of reasons for loving it, from the acting to the set designs to the dialogue; everything seems to be just about perfect.

The Untouchables is a must see film. I'm a huge De Palma fan and I believe this was the first movie I ever watched from him, apart from Scarface. It has all of De Palma's usual touches except the sexual themes. So if you're a fan of his work, this is an absolute can't miss, but it really should be seen by everyone. It's a terrific film. 

Super Reviewer

April 29, 2009
"First, what a great cast. De Niro, Costner, Garcia, and the great Connery. You can't wrong with a line up like that.
The story is about the newbie, Ness, taking down the ruthless, fearless gangster Al Capone. With the help from Malone, Ness is able to bring together a small group of cops who are not afraid to go up against Mr. Capone. Soon Ness's family is being targeted and the rules he always lived by go out the window and he starts playing the game as dirty as Capone.
The movie is a great gangster classic. It has a great plot with lots of action. The acting is great of course. I'm glad I finally got around to seeing this. If you get the chance, check this one out."

Super Reviewer

December 29, 2008
This was a good movie. Everybody does there thing the way they should. I would probably have give it 4 stars if I had watched it at another time. It just wasn't the right time to see it...

I saw it again during the right time....hence the 4 stars

Super Reviewer

January 12, 2007
I am, and have always been, a self-confessed DePalma addict. Never has the man failed to disappoint me. Even his weakest work is like gold to me. Of course, The Untouchables is anything but weak. People like to classify it as a gangster film, but I disagree. This is about the cops fighting the gangsters and to me that declassifies it. Everything about this film is perfect. The tone, the script, the outcome, the score, the performances - everything is just top notch all the way down the line. In other words, I love this film. Thank you Brian DePalma.
Kristijonas F

Super Reviewer

April 6, 2011
A skillfully directed Prohibition-era gangster flick, The Untouchables is violent, stylish, and extremely entertaining. Featuring great performances from the entire cast, the film is a very satisfying ride with great attention to detail and an excellent

Super Reviewer

April 8, 2011
The crime genre is one of my favorite films genres aside from horror and action. I had read things about this film and I was slightly confused, I originally thought it was a tv series or something. But I was wrong. The Untouchables is an entertaining but inaccurate film detailing the investigation and subsequent capture of Al Capone during the Depression era. The filmmakers have obviously taken a few creative liberties to make the film more entertaining. The scene where Elliott Ness murders gangster Frank Nitti never happened, but was put in the film for an even more dramatic effect. This is a good film, and it is interesting to see a film based on Al Capone who is played by Robert De Niro. I thought De Niro, considering his impressive resume in previous crime films could have delivered a slightly better performance. Brian DePalma is a good filmmaker, but he could have strived to make this film more accurate, considering the terrific subject of this picture. I did not hate the film, but I'm just saying that there is room for improvement. The Untouchables is an entertaining film with a good enough cast to make this film watchable. Sean Connery, for me at least was the best actor in the film, De Niro would be second and third would be Costner. De Niro was good as Capone, but thinking that he played in such gangster classics as The Godfather Part II and Once Upon A Time In America, you'd expect something truly terrific on screen. He gives an entertaining performance, but like I've said, he could have been better. The Untouchables is an average gangster film that is purely designed for entertainment, substituting fact for fiction.
Emile T

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2007

Super Reviewer

July 5, 2009
Very good movie! Old school baby, that's how it was done in the days! Love the cast and love the story, great acting!!!

Prohibition in the United States has led to an organized crime wave in the 1920s and early 1930s. Various gangs bootleg vast amounts of alcohol and control their businesses with violence and extortion. The problem is most serious in Chicago, where gang leader Al Capone (Robert De Niro) has almost the whole city (even the Mayor of Chicago) under his control, and supplies poor-quality liquor at high prices. Treasury Department agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) is put in charge of leading the crusade against Capone and his empire. Ness's initial strategy is to conduct raids using a large squad of uniformed officers, but his first attempt fails when he breaks into a warehouse storing umbrellas (although it is implied by Capone's reaction to the newspaper headline about Ness' mistake that it was indeed a liquor warehouse, but his men had been tipped off by one or more corrupt officers).

Embarrassed over the fiasco and seeking ideas for a change of tactics, Ness has a chance encounter with Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery), an incorruptible Irish beat cop who understands the way Capone does business, and decides to ask for his help. Malone urges Ness to become as ruthless as the gangsters he wants to take down: "He pulls 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, and that's how you get Capone." With corruption running rampant throughout the Chicago police force, Malone suggests that Ness recruit directly from the police academy in order to find team members who have not yet had a chance to come under Capone's influence. Italian-American trainee George Stone, formerly Giuseppe Petri (Andy Garcķa), is enlisted for his superior marksmanship and calm reactions under pressure. Joined by Treasury accountant Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith), detailed to Chicago from Washington, Ness has built an incorruptible team, capable of combating Capone.

Their first raid takes place in a local post office whose storeroom is used to house Capone's illegal liquor. Malone and most of the police know where the alcohol is, but they leave it alone because no one wants to provoke Capone and his gang. The raid succeeds without incident, though Capone later kills the man who had been in charge of the storeroom with a baseball bat. As the four pick up steam and become noted by the press, Wallace begins to probe the finances of the Capone organization. He believes that a feasible method of prosecution is through a tax evasion charge, if nothing else. At one point, Ness is visited by a Chicago alderman who is also under Capone's control. The alderman tries to bribe Ness into dropping the investigation, but Ness angrily rejects the offer and throws him out in full view of the team. As he leaves, he mockingly refers to them as "untouchable" and says that Capone, who is known as a cop-killer, can get to anyone he chooses, one way or another.

The alderman's words prove to be true when Capone's chief hit man, Frank Nitti (Billy Drago), makes veiled threats toward Ness and his family outside his house, and drives off before Ness can capture him. Realizing that Capone has targeted him, Ness orders his wife and daughter moved to a safer place; Malone and Stone then bring word of a large whiskey shipment coming in from Canada, and the team flies north to set up a raid at the border.

During the raid, Ness's team and a squad of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers intercept the shipment, arresting or killing everyone involved. Malone captures one of Capones bookkeepers, George (Brad Sullivan), and the team tries to persuade him to provide evidence against Capone. George initially refuses to cooperate, even after Malone assaults him. However, he changes his mind once Malone shoots a thug (who was actually already dead) in the mouth to frighten him. Enraged even further, Capone orders his men to hunt down and kill Ness (even Ness' family), knowing that with Ness dead, the Untouchables will be finished. Ness's wife, meanwhile, has just given birth to their second child.

At the police station, where the Untouchables are being congratulated, Wallace prepares to escort George into protective custody. However, they are both shot and killed by Nitti, disguised as the policeman operating the elevator; when the bodies are found, the word "TOUCHABLE" has been written on the wall in their blood. Ness is left with insufficient evidence to press charges, and the frustration drives him into challenging Capone in public to a physical fight in front of his son and several armed henchmen. Malone intervenes and forces Ness to back down, defusing the confrontation.

Malone tells Ness to stall the district attorney from dropping the case while he searches for information regarding Walter Payne, another of Capone's bookkeepers. A subpoena is issued for Payne, prompting Capone's men to make plans to get him out of town. After a brutal fistfight with Mike Dorsett, the corrupt police chief who sold out Wallace and George, Malone learns of the intended escape. Returning home and calling Ness to arrange a meeting, Malone is stalked by a knife-wielding thug, but quickly drives him out the back door at gunpoint. The stalker proves to have been bait for an ambush by Nitti, who shoots Malone repeatedly with a tommy gun. He is barely alive when Ness and Stone find him, and he shows Ness which train Payne will be taking before dying in his arms.

Ness and Stone arrive at Union Station and find Payne guarded by several gangsters. After a fierce shootout (an homage to the famous Odessa Steps scene from The Battleship Potemkin), the two succeed in killing all of the other gangsters and taking Payne alive.

Payne testifies in court against Capone, admitting his role in channeling money to Capone over the last three years. Ness, however, notices Capone relaxed and even smiling, despite the probability of serving a long prison sentence, and also sees Nitti carrying a gun in court. He takes Nitti out of the courtroom with the bailiff and discovers that Nitti has permission from the corrupt mayor of Chicago to carry the weapon. Ness then identifies Nitti as Malones murderer after finding Malone's address on a matchbook in Nitti's pocket.

Panicking, Nitti shoots the bailiff and runs up to the roof, exchanging gunfire with Ness all the way. Eventually, Ness gets Nitti in his sights, but cannot bring himself to shoot the man in cold blood. Nitti gives himself up to Ness, stating that Malone died "screaming like a stuck Irish pig" and that Ness should think about that when he, Nitti, is tried and convicted for the murder but set free anyway. Enraged at the thought that Nitti will escape punishment for his crimes, and provoked to revenge, Ness pushes Nitti off the roof. He shouts to the screaming thug, "Did he sound anything like that?" before Nitti dies on impact with a parked car.

Back inside the courthouse, Stone shows Ness a document from Nittis jacket that shows bribes paid to the jurors, explaining Capone's relaxed mood. The judge has no intention of using it as evidence and is fully prepared to let Capone go free, inadvertently revealing his own corruption or fear of the crime boss. In a last ditch effort, Ness talks the judge into doing the right thing, bluffing him into believing that the judge's name is among those in the bookkeeper's ledger of payoffs. As a result, the judge decides to switch this jury with the one in another courtroom. Before the trial can continue, Capone's lawyer changes the plea of "not guilty" to one of "guilty" without Capone's consent. Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison. Ness taunts Capone, who pretends not to hear as he is taken into custody.

As he packs up his office, Ness contemplates the Saint Jude medallion that Malone had carried with him for many years (linked to his call box key), and which Malone had given to him before dying. Ness gives the medallion to Stone, reasoning that since Jude is the patron saint of police officers, Malone would have wanted him to have it. Out on the street, a reporter wishes to have a word from Ness, but Ness modestly downplays his role in the showdown. When the reporter mentions that Prohibition is due to be repealed and asks what Ness might do then, Ness responds, "I think I'll have a drink."

Super Reviewer

January 5, 2009
Stylized and revisionist in its approach but still fun and entertaining.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2007
An enjoyable and exciting film with some great scenes (i.e. De Niro's baseball speech, the reference to Battleship Potemkin - Odessa Steps - in the climactic shootout). The film starts as a seemingly realistic gangster film, pushing all the right noir buttons, but as it goes on its flaws start to weigh on the viewer. Costner, for one, is wooden (as always) and can't seem to commit to his (allegedly) Chicagoan accent. And maybe I'm biased, but the references to Canada were completely clueless: for one, why would the "liquor" cases have red maple leaves on them, 37 years before Canada adopted its maple leaf flag? And for another, in the border scene: Capone's liquor came by plane, boat and train. Were it to come by truck, over a bridge, it would have most likely come through the border in Michigan - with either Sault Ste. Marie, Sarnia or Windsor. Windsor borders Detroit, which would have been booming with the auto industry at the time; Sault Ste. Marie has been miines and industriial land forever, and Sarnia borders Port Huron, a small city that, though it may not have been urbanized yet, certainly did not replace A MOUNTAIN.

A final complaint is that the once-believable film gets a bit comic booky before the end. I just couldn't buy the character crawling with 10-20 machine gun holes in him, or the awful blue background (on green screen, I think) as the character falls off the building.

I've said a lot about the problems with this film, but only for one reason: to defend not calling this film as great as many people think it is. Despite the above, I found it entertaining and for the most part an enjoyable visual experience - just lower your expectations, this isn't De Palma's best.
Alexis N

Super Reviewer

September 13, 2010
Such a great story, great cast, great (over) acting. The music is weird, but it's the 80's and the dialog is a bit off too. The suits and wardrobe is beautiful.. that's Armani for you. The film is pretty bad ass and teaches you the meaning of "team work", I loved it and I think I have a crush on Kevin Costner now.

Super Reviewer

July 10, 2010
This is not a movie, it's art at it's best. This has easily got to be one of the best films ever created. The style, suspense, violence, and crude language flow with this movie, or without it, to make it touching in a brutal way. Kevin Costner does a stand up and cheer performance and this film should be known as a legacy towards gangster films of the ages. Mind settling mysteries and entertainment right up until the very end when things get messy and tides turn for the better and the worse, but Kevin Costner comes out on top fighting his way past the evil Al Capone (Robert DeNiro). Charishable film that shall never be forgotten in the years to come.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2009
To say that The Untouchables is a crime film would be unfair. In no way does it sympathize or understand Al Capone, itā??s about the task force that cleans him up. As a period police film it works amazingly well. I think De Palma was smart and instead of trying to compete with Copollaā??s The Godfather, he went an alternate route. The performances are great, especially from Robert De Niro. His Al Capone is flawless, I donā??t think anyone will be able to capture the magic of that character again. It also has some very good early performances from Andy Garcia and Kevin Costner. The suspense factor is really what sells this movie and it is done perfectly. It also has one of the greatest theme songs ever, of course itā??s by Ennio Morricone.

Super Reviewer

September 14, 2007
Brilliant Ganster movie, its entertaining, funny and brilliantly acted, an i love the storyline as well about Al Capone!
Robert De Niro plays the part brilliantly really good!!
A good movie thats worth the watch!
Al S

Super Reviewer

September 7, 2006
An explosive crime drama. It's a classic cops vs criminals film. Barrels blazing action from beginning to end. A magnificent cast that give it their all in roles that truly fit them. Kevin Costner gives a great and strong performance. Sean Connery gives an excellent performance, he gives one of the best and most enduring performances of his career. Robert De Niro is marvelous. Director, Brian De Palma's masterpiece. A true vintage style full of sharp wit and excellence. Stunning, remarkable and groundbreaking. Powerful and extremely enjoyable. One of the great classics of the 80's decade. An unforgettable and exhilarating thrill-ride.
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