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Al Capone (1959) 1959 NR CC

4.0 out of 5 stars (47) IMDb 6.8/10

In this unusually accurate biography, small-time hood Al Capone comes to Chicago at the dawn of Prohibition to be the bodyguard of racketeer Johnny Torrio.

Rod Steiger, Fay Spain
1 hour, 44 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Richard Wilson
Starring Rod Steiger, Fay Spain
Supporting actors James Gregory, Martin Balsam, Nehemiah Persoff, Murvyn Vye, Robert Gist, Lewis Charles, Joe De Santis, Sandy Kenyon, Raymond Bailey, Al Ruscio, Louis Quinn, Ron Soble, Steve Gravers, Raikin Ben-Ari, Fred Aldrich, Cindy Ames, James Bacon, Paul Bradley
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Reviewer disclaimer: This review is done ONLY for "Al Capone" starred by Rod Steiger and NOT for the documentary about Al Capone.

This film, arguably, set the mold for the famous TV series The Untouchables, it was released only six months before the series was launched so the connection is obvious.

Rod Steiger stages Al Capone brilliantly; he gives the character an incredible ruthlessness, without overacting his part.
The film is presented almost as a documentary one. An impeccable black & white photography creates a very special climate. The epoch reconstruction is great and accurate, the cars, the clothing, the machine guns, every detail is taken into account.
The cast is very compact with Martin Balsam as Mac Keeley, a corrupt reporter; Nehemiah Persoff as Johnny Torrio, the gang leader immediately preceding Al Capone, and Robert Gist as the Irish ring leader Dion O'Banion in high performances.

The story line follows the rise of Capone from his start as an ordinary "gang soldier" thru Torrio's "partner" to Chicago's Big Boss and then to his sudden decline and imprisonment.
The movie shows all the backstage of political corruption and different gangs competing to take control of one of the biggest cities of USA. There are some very violent scenes (for the time the movie was released) as The Saint Valentine's Massacre and other showdowns among the gangsters.

Director Richard Wilson tells the story masterfully, giving a very crisp tempo to all the film, specially the action sequences.
The time elapsed since the release of the movie (1959) does not affect the product in any way.
It is a very commendable film for lovers of the genre and general public.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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Format: DVD
When it comes to these cheapie DVDs, there are many instances of deceptive packaging. This one, however, is probably the worst example since it's an outright lie. Despite the claim on the front that states "Rod Steiger in AL CAPONE" and the listing running time of 105 minutes on the back, this is actually a 50-minute 1998 TV documentary that contains a fleeting clip of Steiger from the 1959 movie that I thought I was getting. So how is the documentary? I wouldn't know, because I can't be bothered to sit through it. But don't blame the filmmakers...blame Digiview. As the old saying goes, "When you're expecting ice cream, even the best fish tastes like poison." Or how about this one: Spend your money on something--ANYTHING--else.
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Format: DVD
I bought this DVD in the $1 bin at a discount store. It was one of those decisions where in I knew it would probably be a mediocre movie (as are most $1 DVDs) but since it dealt with an interesting subject (Al Capone) and had an interesting actor in the lead (Rod Steiger) I thought it couldn't be that bad. Besides, I remember once, as a child, seeing the Rod Steiger Capone movie on television and being quite impressed with it. So, this movie was purchased with a small amount of nostalgia in mind. The problem is, this DVD has nothing to do with the Rod Steiger movie. It is instead, despite the packaging which leads the purchaser into believing they are buying the Steiger film, a documentary -- and not an especially good one.

It is less than an hour long, and features a few clips from various Capone films (including a fleeting glimpse of Steiger as Capone) but mostly centers around an annoying group of people in Chicago who have formed a modern day "We Love Capone" club (not kidding), who drop such gems as "I loved the social structure of the 1920s -- I would have loved to live in those times!" Yeah right buddy, there's nothing quite like segregation, gang wars, and corruption at all levels of government.

The documentary is semi-watchable, which would have been okay if the manufacturers of this DVD told you that you were buying a documentary. They lie and tell you that you are buying a Rod Steiger movie. They ought to be sued. This is outrageous. $1 or not, they shouldn't lie like that.
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Format: VHS Tape
In this movie, Rod Steiger creates the definitive Al Capone. All other movie Capones pale in comparison. Steiger and Capone were made for each other. Both realize their essential natures in each other.

Steiger may not have captured the outward fact of Chicago's most notorious gangster. I have read complaints by Capone's relatives who said Capone was in reality soft-spoken and mild-mannered, not the coarse sawed-off-shotgun of a man that Steiger portrays. That may be true. My father knew Al Capone, and always amused my mother and me when he remembered him as being simply "amiable." But if Steiger doesn't capture the literal tone of the gangster, he captures his spirit - and more than that, he captures the spirit of the Roaring Twenties. He's loud, vulgar, violent, but always somehow poised on the edge of wanting to be something more, something better. So when he miserably fails and slips back into mere brutality, it is all the more tragic and compelling.

This is a riveting recreation that gets a lot of the broad historical succession of gangster takeovers correct - from Big Jim Colosimo to Johnny Torrio to Al Capone. What it fictionalizes, it fictionalizes to good effect. This movie will leave a lasting impression on you. It will make you once again see Capone as iconic Chicago, the way he used to be.

Forget about [...]. Chicago is a distinctively pudgy man walking cockily off down Michigan Avenue, his panama hat at a rakish angle.
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