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PlotEdit

1920's prohibition Chicago is corrupt from the judges downward. So in going up against Al Capone, Treasury agent Eliot Ness picks just two cops to help him and his accountant colleague. One is a sharp-shooting rookie, the other a seen-it-all beat man. The four of them are ready to battle Capone and his empire, but it could just be that guns are not the best way to get him. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit

AnachronismsEdit

  • The maple leaf has been a recognized symbol of Canada since the 1850s. However, the maple leaf on the liquor crates during the raid is the stylized 10-point leaf designed for the modern-day Canadian flag, which first appeared in 1965. The use of the graphic here could be an early test version.
  • Ness stores his news clippings in a folder with a Treasury Department seal that was adopted in the 1960s. In 1929-30, the seal's inscription was in Latin. Ness could have insisted on the inscription being changed.

Character errorEdit

  • At the very end, before the credits roll, an extra trips and almost falls as he crosses the street. Lots of people trip up while crossing the street!
  • The judge presiding over Capone's trial orders that the jury be switched with the jury in a divorce case being tried in another courtroom. Capone is on trial for federal tax evasion, while divorces are state cases, so there could not have been a divorce trial taking place in the same courthouse as Capone's trial. They must have found another jury from somewhere, as the switching of the juries did happen, after the names of some of the original jury were leaked, raising the possibility of them being bribed. (as stated in the Movie Mistakes section below).
  • When Malone is asking the first police cadet why he joined the police, he refers to the cadet's attempt to answer as giving him the "yearbook answer" instead of the "textbook answer." Could be a personal choice.

ContinuityEdit

  • At the bridge shoot out the perspective from Eliot's binoculars change. At first it's wide angle as he follows a car across the bridge. It changes to a close up as the bootleggers arrive to start the deal. The binoculars being used don't appear to have an adjustable field of view. The adjustment could be carried out by rotating the lenses.
  • Ness is right-handed throughout the film, except during the scene set in and around the hut on the Canadian border where he holds his shotgun left-handed. Could be personal choice.

Incorrectly regarded as goofsEdit

  • While Eliot Ness, the Untouchables, and 'Al Capone (I)' were real, this story is highly fictionalized and contains much that deviates from that reality.
  • While the judge at Capone's trial should have allowed the defense to examine and approve the new jurors when the jury was exchanged, the defense objected and was overruled, so this would be a point for appeal.
  • After discovering that his case is a lost cause, Capone's lawyer switches his plea from not guilty to guilty, despite Capone's objection. A court cannot accept a guilty plea over the objection of a defendant. (IMDB) There's no evidence that the court DID accept the guilty plea.
  • Although the name "George Stone" does not translate to "Guiseppe Petri" in Italian, the character didn't necessarily directly translate his name. The Petri part - "Stone" - is correct, however "George" in Italian is "Giorgio". Guiseppe is actually "Joseph".
  • Capone's accountant's glasses have a flat reflection - they're non-corrective. It is likely Jack Kehoe (the actor) does not need corrective lenses.

Factual errorsEdit

  • At the finale of the courtroom scene, Capone is seen becoming violently angry over the verdict, even punching his attorney. In reality, Capone accepted this verdict calmly, while meekly proclaiming to the press that he was innocent. Actually, Capone, while often violent and unpleasant when dealing with competitors and those inside his organization, was very protective of his public image as a genial, "misunderstood benefactor" of Chicago, and took great pains while in public (and when dealing with the press) to appear refined, polite, and well mannered. A public outburst in the courtroom (especially in front of the press) as portrayed in the film would have been totally uncharacteristic of him. many people would act in a uncharacteristic manner in this situation.

Movie MistakesEdit

  • In the warehouse scene with the wooden crates with maple leaves, even though a correction has been submitted saying a maple leaf was valid, the real mistake is the type of maple leaf used. The film shows a modern graphic style of leaf that did not come into use until the 1960s and appeared on the new Canadian flag in 1965. In the time of Capone, the maple leaves used to depict things Canadian looked like actual maple leaves and not like a stylized graphic.
  • When Nitti approaches Malone's house he checks the address in his match-book. It contains about five matches. In a later scene in the courtroom, Ness takes a book of matches from Nitti, opens it and sees the incriminating address. This time there are about ten matches in the book. Either there were more than one matchbook with the address written inside, or the matchbook had been refilled between scenes.

CorrectionsEdit

  • When the four Untouchables are in Canada working with the Mounties, the smugglers are charged by a pack of Mounties on horseback. Despite the use of many tommy-guns, not one horse or rider is injured, even though they are riding wall to wall, with no spaces between them. Not hard to believe, since the mounties were always very far away and Capone's men were in a panic, firing as they ran away. Corrected by MovieGuy
  • When Ness chases Nitti onto the roof of the courthouse, Nitti turns to fire back at him. He fires his .45 empty - we can see that the slide is back and the barrel is protruding - then runs a bit more, then turns to fire again. Anyone who knows anything about guns - like, say, a professional killer - would know when an automatic is empty. He's a professional killer, yes, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't try to fire without checking the gun to see if the slide was back. Military personnel who handle firearms for a living have been known to do similar things in real life. Corrected by MovieGuy
  • In the shootout on the bridge between the U.S. and Canada, there are barrels of booze loaded on all the trucks. Bullets start flying and the barrels get shot full of holes with booze spraying out. There is a point where Agent Wallace runs at a man who has shot Agent Stone and hits him with the butt of his gun. Somebody forgot to turn the "booze pumps" on until midway through this shot. No leaky barrels, then suddenly booze everywhere. It oddly gives the look that all the barrels have spontaneously burst full of holes. The barrels didn't just "spontaneously burst full of holes." The pimp was pumping the whole time, but it did loose pressure for a second in the scene.
  • When Ness shoots the white-suited gangster in the shack at the border shoot-out, he shoots him with a shotgun in the chest so therefore there should be exit wounds visible on his back, but when Malone picks him up and pushes him against the window there is not a tear or a blood stain on the back of his white coat. The shotgun blast contained up to one dozen .32 caliber pellets. It would be normal for the pellets to expend all of their energy in the torso of the gunshot victim, rather than penetrating through. Each pellet just isn't that heavy and doesn't contain that much kinetic energy. It would be more a mistake if the filmmaker had made them go all the way through and out the victim's back. Corrected by Mobrien316
  • When Jim Malone is handing out pump action shotguns for the first raid (just before the carry a badge, carry a gun line) He hand one to George Stone who loads a shell. When the gang get to their target they crowd round a door (which Malone smashes with an axe) Stone does the loading motion again, a pointless exercise.Pointless exercise, maybe. But not a mistake. This was Stone's first real operation, so he did it just to be prepared. Also, at the cabin in Canada, Malone told him to leave his weapon alone since he already checked it. Stone is just being overly cautious and prepared.
  • You can't switch juries mid-trial, not even in 1930s Chicago. Funny, but that is pretty much exactly what happened: His only chance of reducing his sentence now was to influence the jury and during the summer before the trial, Capone's gang began the process of bribing and threatening all of the twelve jurors. Realising what Capone would do, Judge Wilkerson made other plans, and on the day of the trial he openly switched jurys with another trial. The following day, after nine hours of deliberation, the new jury found Capone guilty of some, but not all, counts of tax evasion. See http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters_outlaws/mob_bosses/capone/trial_26.html BBC Website. Corrected by RlvlkTime
  • When Elliot Ness arrives at Malone's house, when Malone answers the door it appears that Ness has a black eye on his right eye. Yet, when he is inside the black eye seems to have disappeared. There's no black eye visible. Corrected by tw_stuart
  • During the scene where a public official visits Elliot Ness in hopes of bribing him, the office is empty. When they enter it is only Elliot Ness, the official and the young cop they recruited. As Elliot kicks out the official, we see Sean Connery sitting within the office on a chair next to the door. Nonsense, when the official visits, all four are in the office and Ness asks them to leave. When he realises what is happening, he asks them all back but the camera follows Ness into the room so we don't see Connery enter because he is out of shot. Corrected by tw_stuart
  • In the famous scene on the train station stairs, you can clearly hear two babies crying, in spite of the fact that there is only one baby being carried by the mother. Audio problem in a train station, whoever heard of such a thing? The second baby (which I was unable to hear) is an echo due to the high ceiling. Corrected by tw_stuart
  • The RCMP officer at the rendezvous is a captain. But the Mounties (in common with other Canadian police forces) have always used British-style police ranks. He would actually be an inspector. The RCMP officer never refers to his rank, Ness refers to him as a captain which is a character mistake. Corrected by tw_stuart
  • In the shot from the POV of the killer, as he comes in through the window of Sean Connery's apartment to kill him, the crew is briefly visible in a window reflection as the killer opens the windows. It's not the crew, it's the killer, it's intentional. Corrected by tw_stuart
  • Ness watches his buddy get on the elevator with the hit man, on the upper floor. The door closes and in the next shot (same hall) he looks out the window and sees the elevator open to the alley/loading dock with his buddy dead inside and the hit man escapes. The top of the elevator and the bottom are in a different vertical space (the elevator went down and then made two 90 degree turns to a different wing of the building). Hopelessly wrong. Firstly Ness is not there to see his buddy enter the elevator which is why he asks where he is and looks worried for a brief moment when told and secondly the guy who looks out at the escaping hitman is the senior police officer and he's not able to see the elevator, just a dead policeman and the hitman. Corrected by tw_stuart
  • In the scene where Elliot Ness comes to meet Jimmy Malone for the first time at Malone's apartment, Malone answers the door wearing a simple shirt and vest. After he invites him in and serves him tea, however, he's wearing a policeman's uniform. No he's not, that is simply not true. Corrected by tw_stuart
  • After the Untouchables charge the bridge at the USA/Canada border, Ness chases one of Capone's cronies to the shack. Ness kills him with a shotgun blast through the doorway, making the body land on the porch with his feet at the door jam. Later, when Malone steps out to 'interrogate' the body, it is laying across the porch in an entirely different position. It's a different scene quite some time later. There was more than enough time for the body to be moved so that it wasn't blocking the door. Corrected by tw_stuart
  • 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. 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. Corrected by Bruce Minnick
  • The film was set in 1930, and Eliot Ness is shown as having a wife and children. Eliot Ness didn't marry until the 1940s - by which time, Ness had moved to Cleveland. 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. Corrected by Bruce Minnick
  • When the untouchables bust all alcohol from Canada, the boxes all have the Canadian maple leaf on the side. However this only became the Canadian national symbol in 1965, making the film about 40 years ahead of its time. Although officially the maple leaf became the Canadian emblem in 1965, it was the "unofficial symbol" of Canada long before that - as early as mid-19th-century.

SourcesEdit

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