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The Untouchables

4.5 out of 5 stars 557 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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As noted critic Pauline Kael wrote, the 1987 box-office hit The Untouchables is "like an attempt to visualize the public's collective dream of Chicago gangsters." In other words, this lavish reworking of the vintage TV series is a rousing potboiler from a bygone era, so beautifully designed and photographed--and so craftily directed by Brian De Palma--that the historical reality of Prohibition-era Chicago could only pale in comparison. From a script by David Mamet, the movie pits four underdog heroes (the maverick lawmen known as the Untouchables) against a singular villain in Al Capone, played by Robert De Niro as a dapper caesar holding court (and a baseball bat) against any and all challengers. Kevin Costner is the naive federal agent Eliot Ness, whose lack of experience is tempered by the streetwise alliance of a seasoned Chicago cop (Sean Connery, in an Oscar-winning performance), a rookie marksman (Andy Garcia), and an accountant (Charles Martin Smith) who holds the key to Capone's potential downfall. The movie approaches greatness on the strength of its set pieces, such as the siege near the Canadian border, the venal ambush at Connery's apartment, and the train-station shootout partially modeled after the "Odessa steps" sequences of the Russian classic Battleship Potemkin. It's thrilling stuff, fueled by Ennio Morricone's dynamic score, but it's also manipulative and obvious. If you're inclined to be critical, the movie gives you reason to complain. If you'd rather sit back and enjoy a first-rate production with an all-star cast, The Untouchables may very well strike you as a classic. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia
  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Writers: David Mamet, Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley
  • Producers: Art Linson, Raymond Hartwick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: January 16, 2001
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (557 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000541AJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,077 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Untouchables" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Udell on January 7, 2009
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I've always been a big fan of this movie, which I remember as first marking Brian DePalma as a "blockbuster" director. It's filled with sharp dialog, Oscar winning acting, some inspired (clearly by Hitchcock) camerawork, a dramatic score by Ennio Morricone, and a nostaglic/patriotic retelling of a truly gritty real-life crime drama.

As far as this blu-ray goes, it features a very nice transfer that ups the detail, contrast, color and stability considerably over the previous DVD release. Unfortunately it also introduces nearly constant edge halos and some shimmering - both presumably artifacts of edge enhancement used to make the film look more appealing to modern audiences.

On the Audio front the 6.1 DTS-HD track does a very fine job considering the age of the film. I was particularly impressed by the dynamic range of the score and the use of discrete effects in the Union Station shootout.

Overall, if it were not for the digital retouching, I would have rated this release at 5 stars. Since I can't give 4 and a half I had to downgrade it full star for the botched digital enhancements.

Hopefully someday there will be a untouched version of The Untouchables.
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Format: DVD
Sometimes dubbed "the Master of the Macabre," director Brian De Palma is best known for his enactments of the supernatural ("Carrie"), mania ("Dressed to Kill") - and his mob stories. The latter part of his reputation is primarily grounded on four of his movies from the ten-year period between 1983 and 1993: "Scarface" (1983, starring Al Pacino), "Wise Guys" (1986, starring Danny De Vito, Joe Piscopo and Harvey Keitel), "Carlito's Way" (1993, again starring Pacino) ... and "The Untouchables" (1987), featuring an all-star cast including Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith. Among these, "The Untouchables" stands out as the only movie not primarily told from the gangster's but from the lawmen's perspective - but what it does share with all of De Palma's works is an almost voyeuristic appeal to its audience's visual senses; going far beyond the lavish display of film blood it is most often cited for.

Less fact-based than cinematic grand opera par excellence, the movie takes as its premise the end of the career of Chicago's ganglord of ganglords, Al "Scarface" Capone, who (after a few half-hearted attempts to prosecute him for murder had failed due to the unavailability of witnesses) pled guilty, in 1931, to evading federal income tax, and was sentenced to an 11-year prison term and a $50,000 fine.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This isn't a documentary style film - it's a gorgeous, over-the-top retelling of one of the most famous periods in America's history. Al Capone and Eliot Ness are well known, as is the Chicago in which they lived. De Niro and Connery are fantasic in their roles, and the cinematography is beautiful. Costner as Ness also shines, but with these other two powerhouses his performance is almost overshadowed.
Great plot, great dialogue, great action, the movie is definitely a fun romp through an appealing period in history. The movie has even more significance as The Sopranos becomes a huge hit - people being drawn into learning about the mob way of life want to trace the roots of this drama and see where it's taking its guidance. Many Sopranos scenes are taken from this movie, and the characters even quote it at times.
Highly recommended - a DVD you'll watch many times over!
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What do you expect from a film in which Kevin Costner and Sean Connery star as the good guys and Robert DeNiro plays all-time Bad Guy Al Capone? A great movie! And that's what this is--a really really good gangster flick. No, it is not The Godfather, but then again nothing but The Godfather is The Godfather. Having said that, this is a wonderful film that actually does a pretty good job of explaining what Elliot Ness was up against when he was given the job of enforcing prohibition, gunning for Al Capone and cleaning up Chicago.
Costner is effective in his role as Elliot Ness. Connery does fine as the Chicago policeman Ness recruits to show him the ropes as to how things in Chicago operate. De Niro is matchless as Al Capone.
My favorite scene is the one in which Elliot Ness joins forces with the Canadian Mounties. Hilarious!
This movie is good entertainment and the storyline manages to move along pretty well without dragging and losing the viewer's interest. The film never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously, and its use of humor is effective and prevents the movie from waxing pompous, which would have been easy for it to do, given the serious theme. This is one that you'll watch again and again. Recommended.
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