The Untouchables

During prohibition-era 1920s Chicago, Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner), who works for the Treasury Department, is put in charge of arresting gangland kingpin Al Capone (Robert De Niro). He recruits a team of men including Jim Malone (Sean Connery), Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith) and George Stone (Andy Garcia). They come to be known as 'The Untouchables' in this true story.

NCTanti

Factual error: The film shows government agent Eliot Ness throwing Al Capone's right-hand man, gangster Frank Nitti, to his death from the roof of the Chicago courthouse in 1929. It never happened. Frank Nitti died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1943.

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Suggested correction: The movie was not meant to be exactly like real events. The movie was loosely based on the events (aka "inspired by actual events"). There are a lot of differences between the movie and the real events, these were done on purpose, to make an exciting movie.

Bruce Minnick

That's a lame excuse. There are lots of opportunities to embelish on the truth when dealing with a historic topic. The station scene with the baby is an excellent example of that. But, you can't go changing the relationships of main characters or the time and methods of their deaths. Especially ones so well documented like Capone and Nitti. Why even bother using real names? The character they called "Nitti" was just a completely made up character. Nothing about him resembled the actual Nitti. Nitti wasn't skinny and he didn't wear white suits. He wasn't a loner, often scene hanging with his crew. Nitti was an exceptionally short man with a Chaplinesque moustache. Always jovial for the cameras.

It's simply your opinion that it's a "lame" excuse. The fact is the film is highly fictionalized. It's not a documentary, it's a drama. They combine and eliminate characters, give them different names and characteristics, and show events that never happened. These are not mistakes, they're known as creative license. They would only be mistakes if they film claimed everything in the film was true and accurate to history.

While calling something a "lame excuse" isn't acceptable, the mistake is still valid. The film isn't set in an alternate timeline, so historical inaccuracies regarding real life people are considered valid mistakes. Artistic license extends to adding things that could have happened that didn't impact historical events for dramatic purposes (love interests, made up characters, etc). Historical inaccuracies regarding real life figures would be the same as pointing out anachronisms in a film set in the past, like have a car from the 40's in a film set in the 30's. And just because a screenwriter or film maker wants to change facts to make the film more exciting doesn't mean the mistake is no longer valid.

Bishop73

More mistakes in The Untouchables

Jimmy Malone: 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!

More quotes from The Untouchables

Trivia: As the stroller is going down the stairs in the train station it is a reference to the staircase scene in "Battleship Potemkin" in which a stroller similarly falls down a flight of steps while the horrified mother looks on.

More trivia for The Untouchables

Question: In the scene where Malone is shot by Nitti, he crawls to a room and when Ness comes in he finally gets Ness to see the paper about the man coming into the train station. If that information was so vital why was he just roaming around his apartment instead of going to Ness to show him?

Answer: Ness was coming to Malone's apartment to discuss the information with him there, Nitti and his men just got there first.

Captain Defenestrator

More questions & answers from The Untouchables

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