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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Untouchables (Special Collector's Edition)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This film marks several remarkable firsts: The first true representation of a David Mamet film script (although "The Verdict" in 1980 came first), the leading-man status of Kevin Costner (deservedly so, since despite disasters like "The Postman" and "3000 Miles to Graceland", he's a very good actor with a very impressive resume and an Oscar to boot), Sean Connery's first Oscar win, also very much deserved, and most importantly, the first good film from Brian De Palma. People call films like "Body Double", "Carrie", "Blow Out" and "Dressed to Kill" classics... why they do, I have nary a clue. Those are some of the worst rip-off films in history. His "Hitchcockian" feeling is, to me, straight-up plagarism. He rips off plots and shots that are embarassing mish-moshes of Hitch's best (and worst) stuff. And did you see "Mission to Mars"? I didn't think so. And the only people that I can imagine that liked "Femme Fatale" were fans of the bathroom sequence (If you saw it, you know what I'm talking about). The only other film of his that was worth watching was "Mission: Impossible". But "The Untouchables" is a real work of art. I won't go into plot points, but I'll comment on the film's great points: 1) The dialogue is sparkling. Mamet makes these people real as opposed to just making them standard action caricatures (the young idealist, the grizzled old wise-man, the cocky rookie, and the dorky fifth-wheel). 2) The performances are top-notch. Costner, Connery, Martin Smith, Garcia, De Niro, and an underrated performance from Richard Bradford as Chief Dorsett really help to pull this film off. They give it all they got. They make the tragedy and drama and excitement and horror and triumpth of this film work. 3) The visuals are stunning. Stephen Burum really makes that camera work, especially with those beautiful shots of LaSalle Street. This film is a great revisionist telling of the Eliot Ness vs. Al Capone brawl. The film obviously takess a lot of liberties with history, but they really work, especially with the dispatching of one particularly bad man which in my opinion makes for the MOST satisfying film death EVER. It really makes you happy to watch this guy bite it ("Did he sound anything like THAT?!?"). This is a great film and I could not recommend it more highly. But go ahead and skip the rest of De Palma's 'classics'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2004
hello,my name's aaron johnson
the reason i'm writting this review for the untouchables film
is because i've seen it so many times that i enjoy how malone says his famous line to elliot , the one about getting capone
anyway, the whole entire plot is excellent
especially when the federal agents try to stop capone's men in time
the other reason i'm writting in this review , is because i've seen the untouchables tv series
and i'm wondering this very question ;
"when will the untouchables tv series from 1993
be out on dvd"
because i think that people would enjoy the entire [whatever how many seasons it ran for [if it was one or two] of the series
i'm sure a lot of other customers would appreciate the untouchables tv series on dvd
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on March 25, 2004
The Untouchables is a fantastic film. The 1987 box office smash is one of the best gangster movies to come out in years and offers plenty of action and attitude with an all star cast.
The Untouchables is about the war on prohibition in the 1920's. It's become a billion dollar business led by Al Capone(De Niro). A young treasury officer Elliot Ness(Costner) is brought in to stop some of the violence and to uphold the law. He's not confident in his abilities and isn't sure on what to do. He gets a crafty veteran beat cop Malone(Connery) to help him out. They then get the sharp shooting Stone(Garcia) and an accoutant(Smith) to help him bring down Capone. It's now up to Ness and his group of Untouchables to get him.
Kevin Costner is brilliant in this film. It's one of the better movies he's made in his carear. He's believable and uses emotions well in the movie. This is one of the movies that made me a fan of this guy, and like I said earlier it really jump started his carear before he did hits like Field of Dreams and Dances with Wolves.
Sean Connery is great in this film. It's argueably the best performance of his ilustrious carear. He won the Oscar for Best Supporter Actor in 1987 and easily deserved it. He's great as the teacher who is giving Ness the ropes. Connery plays the tough guy fantastic. I love Connery in this film.
The rest of the cast is great. You know Robert De Niro is going to be awesome. Him and Al Pacino are the gold standard for gangsters. Andy Garcia is great. This is the film that got him his part in the Godfather III. Charles Martin Smith is great as Oscar. The part was suppose to go to Rick Moranis, but I like him in it. I don't think it would have been the same without him. You also have to give some props to Patrcia Richardson who is Ness's wife in the film. Like I said earlier this is an awesome cast.
This movie is displayed beautifully. All the sets look great. You think you are in 1920 Chicago. All the actors look great. They were fitted by Armani and it looks like 1920 Chicago. The films sets and costumes were also nominated for Oscars.
The score is great in the film. Ennio Morricone wrote an Oscar nominated score and it accents the movie beautifully. I like the theme to the movie a lot. I also like Al Capnoes theme a lot too. It so enhances Al Capone.
This movie has one of my all-time favorite movies scenes ever. It takes place in the train station shoot out. Stoner does a no look pass with a gun to Ness and then does a slide to save a baby carriage. It's an absolutely great shot and is well known from the film.
This is a great movie. It's got a great cast, action, sets, costumes, and story. It's one of my all-time favorites and I've never met anybody that didn't like it. You definetly won't regret watching this one.
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on March 6, 2004
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. Capone's downfall was brought about by a group of initially 50 but later only nine Treasury Agents, formed in 1929 (not in 1930, as suggested here) with the express purpose of breaking up his operations, and headed by Eliot Ness, whose 1957 book "The Untouchables" posthumously gave new rise to his fame - Ness died of a heart attack without ever having witnessed the full extent of his book's success - and inspired, inter alia, the like-named 1959 television series starring Robert Stack and Brian De Palma's 1987 movie.
Scripted by Pulitzer Prize winner and Chicago native David Mamet ("Glengarry Glen Ross"), "The Untouchables" is not so much a study in character development as based on a western's classic "good versus evil" setup; although that doesn't mean that its protagonists are two-dimensional in any way. On the contrary: Robert De Niro imbues his Capone with a ruthlessness and glib charm very likely matching those of the real "Scarface," who was known for his little hesitation to commit murder and other acts of violence as much as he cultivated a reputation as a savvy businessman and benefactor of the poor, for example by running several soup kitchens. (And yes, all of De Niro's mannerisms are on full display, too; but rarely have they fitted a role as well as here.) Kevin Costner's Eliot Ness may be a little too assertive - Robert Stack once commented, after several conversations with Ness's nearest and dearest, that the real-life Treasury Agent had been described to him as "rather soft-spoken, but very effective and brave" - but mildness is certainly not the principle trait written into the larger-than-life role of the man who "got" Al Capone, and Costner *is* an effective lead; although he is matched (not entirely sidelined, but darn near outplayed) by Sean Connery, who deservedly won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a National Board of Review Award as the crotchety old-timer Malone who has seen it all, somehow managed to stay both clean and alive, and now lets Ness talk him into becoming his tutor in all things Chicago Gangland. Andy Garcia, in his break-through role, is instantly likable as George Stone, the smart, fast kid from the South Side who doesn't take kindly to put-downs of his origin but can nail a human target with one hand while lying down and holding a baby stroller with the other hand. Charles Martin Smith finally brings humanity and subtle humor to the character probably closest to the real-life "Untouchables," accountant Oscar Wallace, who first has the idea to charge Capone for income tax evasion. Strong performances by Billy Drago as Capone's right-hand man Frank Nitti (who of course was not really thrown off a rooftop by Ness), Richard Bradford as Police Chief Mike Dorsett, Patricia Clarkson as Ness's wife, Jack Kehoe as Capone's bookkeeper Walter Payne and others round out an altogether impressive cast.
Unmistakeably scored by Ennio Morricone (whose style often, and certainly here, doesn't even take a full bar to recognize; and who with an ASCAP Award, a Grammy and a BAFTA Award was the movie's other major winner besides Connery), "The Untouchables" lives off its splendid cinematography, production design - costumes courtesy of Giorgio Armani - and the exquisite timing of its sharp-edged dialogue and editing: Not only is screenwriter Mamet known to have his actors practice their lines according to a metronome; the editing of some of the movie's most memorable scenes has the distinct feeling of a carefully choreographed, veritable ballet. This is particularly true for Malone's death, pointedly set against the aria "Vesti la Giubba" from Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera "I Pagliacci" ("The Clowns"), which is based on a real-life murder and which Capone attends while his lieutenants waylay Malone in his own apartment; and the famous shoot-out in Chicago's Union Station, which turns into a deadly dance of bullets, blood and a baby stroller, shot almost entirely in slow motion.
Paradoxically, the one plot element this movie is most often criticized for - the jury switch at Capone's trial - is one of the few facts that actually did take place (although Capone's attorney would have had to be given the right to conduct a new voir dire). But ultimately, it doesn't even really matter how much of the plot is fact-based and how much fiction: Even if "The Untouchables" doesn't quite reach the mythical status of the "Godfather" trilogy - particularly its Parts 1 and 2 - as the mob movie to end all mob movies, it is one of only a handful other films that at least come close to the proportions of Francis Ford Coppola's epic masterpiece.
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on January 3, 2004
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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on May 14, 2003
The Untouchables has made most lists of the greatest films ever made, and for good reason. Paramount has released a DVD film of the film as part of their Widescreen Collection (originally enormously over-priced at $29.99; now re-priced to $19.99). The Untouchables easily makes my best films ever made list, and the DVD isn't so bad either.
THE FILM
Loosely based on the old 60's TV show (which was loosely based on the book by Eliot Ness, which was, in turn, a true story), the film places Kevin Costner in his best performance as federal agent Eliot Ness. In 1930s Chicago, during the Prohibition era, crime and corruption are at an all-time high. The mob underworld is ruled by seemingly unstoppable gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro). So how do you stop the crime? You take out the Big Man - and the big man just happens to be Capone.
So Eliot Ness handpicks a group of dedicated men (Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, and a great performance by Sean Connery) and then sets out to take Capone down.
As mentioned before, Costner and Connery are great, and the rest of the cast is really good as well. Brian De Palma's direction is perfect, and this is very likely his best film. There is another masterpiece score from Ennio Morricone. So what could be wrong?
For the first time ever, De Niro is the film's let-down. De Niro as Al Capone is a great opportunity to let his talent shine - but it doesn't. And it's not completely De Niro's fault; the script's use of Capone is minimal and uninteresting. [9/10]
THE VIDEO
The DVD's picture quality is great! At times, the picture is a little light, and if you squint really really hard, you may be able to pick up some grain. But all in all, the picture quality is very satisfying. [9/10]
THE AUDIO
Other than the film itself, the DVD's true highlight is its sound. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix not only heightens the films impact, but it truly brings out the brilliance in Ennio Morricone's score. [10/10]
THE EXTRAS
Oh, boy. This is where the DVD's grade goes down. Let's see what we have for extras:
- Theatrical Trailer
Uh-oh. They could have done a lot better with the extras than that. With the film's popularity and all, I think I see a big Special Edition on the way in the near future. [1/10]
All in all, the presentation of the film is great, but as far as the extras go, this DVD sucks.
OVERALL SCORE: [7/10]
----------------------------------------------------------------
THE FILM: [9/10] Excellent movie.
THE VIDEO: [9/10] Great job.
THE AUDIO: [10/10] Ennio Morricone has never sounded so great.
THE EXTRAS: [1/10] A trailer. Woo-hoo, that'll last us thirty seconds.
OVERALL SCORE: [7/10] Worth buying for fans of the film or DVD collectors, but otherwise, it's probably best to just wait for a Special Edition.
- Thomas Benton
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Chicago, 1930, gangsters are running amok in the city trying to take it over. Tommy guns and hand grenades are as common a sight on the streets as cell phones are today. At the top of the chain (and the most wanted list) is Al Capone. The police dept is as corrupt as the gangsters. Enter the United States Treasury Dept and it's top agent Elliot Ness. Ness will use every LEGAL means necessary to get Capone , and make the streets of Chicago safe. He forms a small task force, which include a 20 year beat cop, a rookie sharpshooter, and another treasury agent who is an accountant. Bloody battles ensue, as they go after Capone and his men, and in the end as history tells us they get him on tax evasion.
Everything about this film is terrific.The acting is right on. Kevin Costner plays a very convincing Elliot Ness, Robert DeNiro plays Capone as cool as the other side of the pillow, Sean Connery as the savvy beat cop, Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith all turn in excellent performances. Also look for Billy Drago as "Netti". Written by David Mamet, the story pulls you into it. The score by Ennio Morricone stays with you long after the movie is over, and under the direction of Brian De Palma, this is an incredible film. There are some heart stopping scenes done in slo-mo that really keep you on the edge of your seat.I was even impressed by the 1930's costume designs.
I loved the DVD(Paramount) itself.The picture and sound qualites were very impressive (In widescreen and 5.1 surround) Colors were excellent. The only thing that would have made the DVD better was maybe a special feature that included some commentary relating to the real-life characters portrayed here. I'm not one who will usually shell out extra for a DVD because it has extra features, but in this case I wouldv'e like to have had some idea of how these roles were prepared for. That doesn't
warrant me taking any of the stars off my rating, I can always read a book about it.
Hope you enjoy this as much as I did...
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on July 18, 2002
Brian DePalma's version of THE UNTOUCHABLES is a wonderful one. Great acting from Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Robert Deniro are evident. Also, the cinematography and sets make it visually stunning and gorgeous. This a film that is lauded and hailed as a classic. People who enjoy great plots, fine acting, and a gorgeous film need to buy THE UNTOUCHABLES today.
Set during Prohibition, THE UNTOUCHABLES chronicles Elliot Ness' quest to catch Al Capone. He will need help, so he recruits an Irish policeman (Connery) and an Italian rookie (Andy Garcia). However, Capone will not make it easy for any parties involved. His menacing right hand Frank Nitti will be the main obstacle. This quest is beautifully chronicled and is a film you need to see.
This film, like all, has flaws. While it is gorgeous, it uses excessive language. The occasional swear is decent for shock value, but David Mamet's script uses it too excessively at points. There are also a few goofs that are very menial and should not affect one's enjoyment of this grand film.
All in all, this is a spectacular film. If you enjoy gangster pictures, Sean Connery, wonderful scenery, and great films you will love this movie. If you don't enjoy swearing, or violence this film isn't for you. Also, this is not a film for young children. That being said, buy this wonderful film today!
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on July 12, 2002
Brian De Palma delivers a beautifully photographed and very stylish version of "The Untouchables" that would please any fan of the gangster genre as well as ordinary film buffs.
The movie is set in Chicago during the Prohibition Era where the streets are ruled by perhaps one of America's most famous wiseguys,Al Capone (Robert De Niro).On the good side of the law, there's Eliot Ness(Kevin Costner), a naive, goody-goody cop, who, along side fellow police officers, Stone(Andy Garcia) and Malone(Sean Connery in his Oscar-winning role), as well as an accountant(I forgot his name! oops!), work to bring Big Al down.
Robert De Niro makes Al Capone look like he should've run for President. :)His vision of the gangster is a jovial, comedic,and evil politician. A thug-celebrity! He hosts fabulous parties, wears nothing but Armani suits, and always takes time to answer the questions of the swarm of reporters who follow his every move. There's also that dangerous side of him who's not afraid to take care of business in the middle of an extensive dinner party. This gangster is a lot more fun-loving when compared to, say, De Niro's portrayal of young Vito Corleone in "The Godfather Part 2." There's a different, yet similar contrast in their personalities. De Niro steals the show. Hands down! He's absolutely fun to watch.
Kevin Costner is generally good in this film. However, there is one scene that falls a little flat. When Ness goes to the hotel where Capone is staying to pick a fight with him after he finds the accountant murdered in an elevator, he's not very convincing.
De Niro however is reminiscent of Jake La Motta(Raging Bull); talking trash to his opponent, "You wanna do it now? You wanna go to the mat now?" :)There was a lot of confidence and strength missing from Costner's protagonist.But all in all, he did a nice job. Some scenes could have been better-acted though.
Andy Garcia and Sean Connery are awesome in this movie. They bring cockiness and ruthlessness to their characters and it really works!
There are many violet scenes, but what do you think this is? Disney? :) Thanks to De Palma's direction, the film's near-flawless cinematography,and not to mention a bat-swinging,spiffy Armani-wearing lord of the Underworld,"The Untouchables" is one [...] of a movie!
I highly recommend it!
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on April 9, 2002
Violent and Ambitious. Not as fantastically staged as a John Woo Hong Kong Gangster Thriller but a strong addition to American Crime Cinema. De Palma like Peckinpah loves to shoot in bloody slow-motion. The shotgun blast effects are extremely noteworthy. Frighteningly realistic. What more could you want in a movie about gangsters and G-men. The cast is great. Don't listen to people criticizing the performances in this film. They are terrific and compelling.
A NOTE ON KEVIN COSTNER: Lay off Kevin Costner. Kevin has been vilified and panned over the years for being a less than stellar actor. I totally diagree. I appreciate Kevin's subtle instincts and charismatic everyman quality. This man couldn't chew a piece of scenery if a Production Designer dipped The Set in chocolate. Anyone who disagrees should check out Kevin's final speech in JFK. I'm moved to tears every time I see it. 'Nough said. Academy Award caliber, baby. Kevin, you are one of our finest actors. Why haven't we seen you in anything lately? (Bankability due to THE POSTMAN? Completely under-rated flick as far as I'm concerned.)
De Niro and Connery? What can you say about two of the finest actors in Hollywood? Celluloid dynamite!!! I'd love to see these two in a small character driven Art House Caper together. Like Connery's FAMILY BUSINESS. Vincent Patrick could flesh out the script. Copolla could direct.
A pox one anyone who says this is a bad flick. Some people are too cynical. Relax, it's just a movie. As for there being no DVD extras; I just want to see the film. You want extras? Find yourself a book on Brian De Palma or Elliot Ness. This flick is better than 99.9 percent of the [stuff] out there, in a mostly dwindling cops and robbers genre. SEE IT NOW!!!
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