In the late 1980s, the Prohibition years of Chicago and its best known criminal Al Capone became big screen fodder in the film The Untouchables.
Based on the book The Untouchables, a semi-authobiographical memoir of Eliot Ness written with Oscar Fraley in 1957, writer David Mamet transformed the story for film.
Directed by Brian De Palma, the film starred Kevin Costner as Ness, Sean Connery as Jimmy Malone (based on real agent Marty Lahart) and Robert De Niro as Al Capone.
Ness’ focus is to bring down Al Capone, who has a stranglehold on Chicago and controlling the illegal flow of alcohol into that city and many others.
Ness and his gang of Untouchables plot to topple Capone – with actors like Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith backing up Ness as he continues his pursuit of the gangster.
Patricia Clarkson plays Ness’ wife, who has to be sent to Canada to protect her from the long arm of Capone’s men, while her husband captures Capone’s bookkeeper, hoping to find out more details to reveal how to arrest Capone.
Released in June 1987, the film was made for a budget of US$25 million and was a box office success, making over US$106 million in initial release.
Nominated for four Oscars, Sean Connery won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Malone, his first and only (so far) Academy Award.