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->''"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, and that's how you get Capone."''
-->-- '''Jimmy Malone''' (Creator/SeanConnery)

''The Untouchables'' is a 1987 movie directed by Creator/BrianDePalma and written by Creator/DavidMamet. It stars Creator/KevinCostner, Creator/SeanConnery, Creator/RobertDeNiro, Creator/AndyGarcia and Creator/PatriciaClarkson in her screen debut. Connery won an UsefulNotes/AcademyAward for his interpretation.

Based on the exploits of (RealLife) [[TheRoaringTwenties 1920s]] Chicago Prohibition agent Eliot Ness and his group of loyal agents, nicknamed "The Untouchables" because of their refusal to be bribed by the Mob as many others were at the time. Most notable for pursuing bootleggers and gangster UsefulNotes/AlCapone (and eventually arresting him--[[JusticeByOtherLegalMeans on tax evasion charges]]!)

The movie was theoretically TheFilmOfTheSeries of [[Series/TheUntouchables the 1960s TV series]], but Mamet ended up largely ignoring the TV series, going back to the original sources and crafting his own version of the story.
!!The film includes the following touchable tropes:


* AdaptationalAttractiveness: [[https://www.biography.com/.image/t_share/MTE1ODA0OTcxOTQyMDUzMzg5/frank-nitti-20706151-1-402.jpg The real Nitti]] was a deceptively meek-looking guy with a Hitler mustache, not the skinny pale psychopath of the film.
* AdaptationalBadass: The real Frank Nitti preferred not to get his hands dirty, and generally left the violence to his subordinates.
* AdiposeRex: Al Capone is an obese kingpin. Robert [=DeNiro=] gained 15 pounds for the role, which is not much by his [[Film/RagingBull standards]]. He wanted to double that figure, but the schedule was tight, so he had to wear pads and pillows under his clothes.
* AdultFear:
** Nitti threatens Ness' family, but particularly his daughter.
** Clichéd as it is, the BabyCarriage scene is this. Come on, your kid's carriage is not only going down a flight of stairs, but it's caught ''in the middle of a shootout''!
%%* AgreeToDisagree
* AlmostDeadGuy: [[spoiler:Malone]] takes a burst from a Thompson in the chest, but manages to live long enough to talk later.
* ArchEnemy: Al Capone to Eliot Ness.
* ArtifactAlias: While recruiting George Stone, Malone becomes suspicious of his accent and soon learns Stone was born Giuseppe Petri, later changing his name to disguise his Italian heritage. However, the character continues to go by Stone for the rest of the film, and is referred to as Giuseppe on only one other occasion.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: Capone and Ness never met face to face.
** Frank Nitti wasn't thrown off a roof. He and Capone were both sent to prison on tax evasion charges, but he got a much lighter sentence and took charge of the Chicago organization (at least in name) after his release. Nitti committed suicide in 1943 rather than face the possibility of another prison sentence.
* ArtisticLicenseLaw: A defense attorney cannot change his client's plea without said client's permission, and he ''certainly'' shouldn't be doing that in public view.
* AtTheOperaTonight: [[WickedCultured Al Capone]] is seen attending an opera when Frank Nitti comes up and whispers the news that [[spoiler:Jim Malone had been killed]].
* BabyCarriage: During the fight in the station, a runaway baby carriage presents Ness with the dilemma of trying to save the baby or dealing with a gun-wielding mobster. [[spoiler:He chooses the mobster, trusting that Stone will save the baby. It's the right choice, as Stone stops it with his legs. '''While still shooting down some mobsters'''. And the baby is fine in the end]].
* BadassBoast: Several, especially considering: a) Eliot Ness is trying to convict VillainWithGoodPublicity Al Capone; and b) Ness' team is called '''The Untouchables'''. Best seen when he refuses a bribe from an alderman.
-->'''Alderman''': You're making a mistake.\\
'''Ness''': Yeah, I know, well I've made them before, I'm beginning to enjoy them.\\
'''Alderman''': You fellows are untouchable, is that the thing? No one can get to you? Hey, everyone can be gotten to.\\
'''Ness''': You tell Capone, that I'll see him in hell.
* BadassBookworm: Oscar Wallace. An accountant by trade, he shows his courage under fire during the bridge shootout.
* BadassCrew: The Untouchables. Even Oscar the nerdy tax accountant (tax accountant for crying out loud!) achieves SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome. Even more badass in real life, considering that unlike the film, [[spoiler:they all lived]].
* BadassInANiceSuit: Eliot Ness is the most classy of the group thanks to his black suit (provided by the very ''Giorgio Armani'' no less!). Though most of the time he wears a longcoat, it's in the rooftop chase scene where he finally has some action with it.
* BadassMustache: Malone.
* BatmanGambit: [[spoiler:At Capone's trial, Ness realizes that the judge is skewing the trial in Capone's favor, and that the judge must have been on Capone's payroll. He forces the judge to conduct a fair trial by threatening to reveal evidence, proving that the judge took bribes. The threat works because they have Al Capone's ledger. We quickly find out that it was all a (successful) bluff, when the DA quietly notes to Ness that the judge's name isn't in the ledger...]].
* BatterUp: Al Capone famously uses a baseball bat to savagely murder one of his subordinates. This was inspired by a real incident, though he actually killed two subordinates.
* BeingGoodSucks: At first, Ness disposes every lawful procedure to catch Capone, then Jim Malone shows him a much more unorthodox way to defeat the gangster's organization. [[spoiler:At the end, he forces the judge to change the corrupt jury telling him that he would say his name is in said corrupt jury's list]].
* BerserkButton:
** Don't insult Stone's heritage, or he'll shoot you. Malone uses this as a SecretTestOfCharacter when recruiting his team.
** At the beginning of the shootout at the bridge, Oscar Wallace is cringing, with a "Oh dear God please get me out of here" look on his face. Then Stone gets shot. Cue RoaringRampageOfRevenge.
** Eliot Ness [[spoiler:flips and throws Frank Nitti off a building when he gloats about killing Jim Malone]].
* BigBad: Capone, of course, is the main antagonist of the film.
* BittersweetEnding: Capone is behind bars, his deadliest enforcer Nitti gone and his criminal empire shattered. [[spoiler:But two of the Untouchables are dead, and Ness had to violate a lot of his personal code of honor - including his tossing Nitti off a roof in revenge for Malone's death - to get Capone]].
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: Capone orders the deaths of children and beats men to death with baseball bats. Ness is all-American Hero who loves nothing more than his family and getting notes from his wife in his lunch. As the film goes on, it turns into BlackAndGrayMorality as Ness adapts Jimmy Malone's "escalate" philosophy to bring down Capone.
* BloodBrothers: Malone takes Ness to a church, where they talk about a BloodOath and Malone tells Ness they are now bound by it.
* BondOneLiner: A classic Non-Bond example. Happens after Ness has thrown [[spoiler:Frank Nitti]] off the roof of the courthouse and he lands on the roof of a Model A:
-->'''Stone:''' Where's [[spoiler:Nitti]]?
-->'''Ness:''' He's in the car
** Notably, this is all vengeance for [[spoiler:killing Malone]].
** Also, Ness's line to Nitti just before.
* BoomHeadshot: When Nitti shoots the informant in the elevator and when Stone shoots Bowtie Driver.
* BribeBackfire: A corrupt alderman tries to bribe Ness on behalf of Capone. The alderman suffers no personal consequences but he does incur a classic scolding from Ness (in front of Ness's team), including the splendid line "In Roman times, when a fellow was convicted of trying to bribe a public official, they would cut off his nose, and sew him in a bag with a wild animal, and throw him in a river," and has the bribe tossed back at him.
* BringMyBrownPants: Implied during the border raid when Malone tricks the thug into talking after he shoots the already dead mobster:
--> '''Malone:''' And don't let him clean himself until after he talks!
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Malone to his fellow police workers. His old friend Mike points out that his new clothes are not very proper for an officer.
* ByTheBookCop: Eliot Ness, at least at first. He's quickly taught the folly of this when faced with the likes of Capone. He then goes full CowboyCop, raids places without a warrant, and, in one case, outright murders [[spoiler:Nitti]], whom he just arrested.
* CallBack: "There endeth the lesson." (Malone to Ness, then Ness to Capone)
* CarCushion: [[spoiler:Frank Nitti's in the car after being thrown off the roof by Eliot Ness]].
* ChekhovsGun: Nitti has [[spoiler:Malone's home address]] written on a book of matches, which we see when he takes a match to light a cigarette [[spoiler:shortly before he guns down Malone.]] Later, during Capone's trial, Ness has Nitti escorted from the courtroom after seeing he's carrying a gun, and orders Nitti to empty his pockets; the matchbook is among the items taken out. Ness then takes it to light a cigarette...
* ChekhovsGunman:
** The mobster with the bowtie. He is seen several times, particularly when he [[spoiler:lures Malone out to be shot by Nitti]] and is later the one who takes the bookkeeper hostage on the train station steps [[spoiler:and gets shot by Stone]].
** The mobster Ness punches in the face when he tries to stop Ness from confronting Capone. Unfortunately this means he remembers Ness, which sets off the shootout when he sees Ness with the BabyCarriage at the railway station.
* ClimbingClimax: Capone's trial is interrupted when Nitti flees to the roof of the courthouse after shooting a bailiff.
* CombatPragmatist:
** Malone spells it out for Ness:
-->"You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull 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, and that's how you get Capone! Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that?"
** Later in the film, Malone is attacked in his apartment by a gangster but fights him off saying, "Just like a wop to [[NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight bring a knife to a gun fight]]".
** The gangsters are pretty pragmatic too. [[spoiler:Said gangster lures Malone to Nitti...]]
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Capone tells Eliot Ness, "You talk to me like that in front of my son? Fuck you, and your family!" [[HypocriticalHumor In front of his son...]].
* CoolGuns:
** Ness and his crew use Winchester Model 1897s.
** Malone uses a sawed-off Rossi Overland shotgun as a home defense weapon.
** The Canadian Mounties who assist Ness's team in the border ambush are armed with P'14 rifles.
* CoolOldGuy: Even with his brute personality, Malone is a friendly and charismatic man.
* CopKiller: Nitti. [[spoiler:In addition to Wallace and Malone, he also kills two uniformed cops as he leaves the police station]].
* CouldntFindAPen: After murdering [[spoiler: Oscar Wallace and George]]
* CrapsaccharineWorld: Creator/BrianDePalma deliberately made Capone's surroundings very lavish and sumptuous:
-->"My image of ''The Untouchables'' is that corruption looks great. It's like UsefulNotes/NaziGermany. It's clean. It's big. Everything runs smoothly. The problem is all the oppressed people are in some camp somewhere and nobody ever sees them. So the world of Chicago is a slick world. A world that's run by money and corruption and it looks '''fabulous'''."
* CreepyMonotone: Nitti doesn't talk much, but when he does, it's like this.
* DangerouslyCloseShave: In the opening scene, Al Capone moves his head while having a shave. Everyone in the room freezes as they see that the barber has cut him. [[PetTheDog Capone dismisses the unintentional injury.]]
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler:Frank Nitti]], who in RealLife was not killed by Ness, but took over the Chicago Outfit after Capone's imprisonment and lived until 1943.
* DeathByRacism: A Rare heroic example with Malone. When the mob sends a knife man into his apartment, Malone pulls a sawed-off shotgon on him. Malone calls the knife man repeatedly a "Dago" while chasing him out out of his apartment. Frank Nitti guns down Malone at the doorway immediately after that.
* DesecratingTheDead: A pragmatic variation occurs in the Mounties raid, when the eponymous squad has captured a Capone henchman and is trying to get him to talk about Capone's finances. When the henchman refuses to talk, Malone wanders outside, grabs the corpse of another henchman they killed in the preceding gunfight, and after pretending to threaten to kill him if he won't talk, shoots the corpse through the head, spattering the window with gore. The henchman, believing he'd witnessed an actual execution, is ''very'' cooperative afterwards.
** [[spoiler:After killing Wallace and George, Nitti writes "TOUCHABLE" on the elevator wall with their blood, leaves George's body lying in the corner, and hangs Wallace's body from the ceiling.]]
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: [[spoiler: Malone dies in Ness's arms after Nitti ambushes him with a Tommy Gun, but not before passing on vital information about the bookkeeper whose testimony can bring Capone down]].
* DirtyCop: [[BadCopIncompetentCop The rule rather than the exception]], hence the need for a group of men whose integrity is beyond question.
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler: Nitti falls to his death after being pushed off the roof by Ness]].
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** Done in the first scene when Capone's thugs blow up a bar that wouldn't buy his booze.
** Malone passionately defends that the only way to defeat Capone is by escalating the conflict because Capone will, and the mobster won't give up the fight until Ness is dead. It is a simple rule: They pull 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!
* DoomedMoralVictor: [[spoiler:The death of Jim Malone]].
* TheDragon [=/=] DragonInChief: Frank Nitti.
* TheDreaded: Capone is very feared because of his HairTriggerTemper and the violent consequences he may take if someone messes with him. Just look at [[OhCrap the face of the barber]] who accidentally cut him at the beginning.
* DressingAsTheEnemy: A villainous example - Frank Nitti briefly dresses up as a police officer to infiltrate the police department and assassinate [[spoiler:Oscar]] and the informant, along with two police officers who were waiting outside.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: While he's lured to his death quite easily, [[spoiler: Malone]] doesn't die after absorbing [[MoreDakka a full magazine of bullets]], crawls almost the full length of his apartment to bring a vital clue into Ness' attention, and then delivers meaningful FinalWords in his final breath. The scene couldn't be underscored better by Morricone's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWCG5X3zqW0 death theme]].
* EscalatingWar: "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, and that's how you get Capone."
* EvilGloating: Something [[spoiler:Nitti]] probably should have done '''after''' getting safely off the roof!
** When Capone hears of [[spoiler:Malone's death]], right at the most heartbreaking scene of Pagliacci, he chuckles for a moment.
* EvilOverlooker: The poster has Capone looming large like [[Franchise/StarWars Darth Vader]] over [[SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou Elliot Ness as he is about to shoot you]] and the other Untouchables in [[PistolPose rifle poses]].
* TheFaceless: When Ness is first introduced reading a newspaper on Nitti's bar bombing, the audience only sees him behind.
* FakeKillScare: Done with a twist -- Malone scares the crap out of a captured smuggler by letting him see Malone pick up the corpse of a henchman already killed in the gunfight that just happened, then "demand" the corpse reveal information, "threaten" to blow his head off if he won't talk, and then ''literally'' carry through with his threat. The surviving captive, not knowing it's a ruse, talks right away.
* FamousLastWords:
** "What are you prepared to do?" [[spoiler:Malone]]
** "I said that your friend died screaming like a stuck Irish pig. Now you think about that when I beat the rap." [[spoiler:Frank Nitti]][[note]]Unless "[[OhCrap AAAHHH!]]" counts as a last word.[[/note]]
%%* {{Fanfare}}
* FatalFamilyPhoto: A variation with the same outcome. Two of the four untouchables who pose as brothers for a photo are killed shortly afterwards.
* FauxAffablyEvil: Although Capone pretends to be [[AffablyEvil the opposite]] for the media. Behind closed doors, we see he's cruel, petty, vicious and quite bloodthirsty.
* TheFilmOfTheSeries: Only not really.
* FiringOneHanded: Famously done by Elliot Ness during the staircase shootout with a [[http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/File:Untouch-winp7.jpg Winchester Model 1912 shotgun.]]
* {{Foil}}: Elliot Ness starts as Chicago's idealist [[TheFettered white knight]], but his nature gets deconstructed by TheUnfettered and weary Malone, who during his DisproportionateRetribution speech mentioned above, points out that Ness' by-the-book and clean methods won't get him Capone.
-->'''Malone:''' What are you prepared to do?\\
'''Ness:''' Everything within the law.\\
'''Malone:''' And '''''then''''' what are you prepared to do?
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble: Eliot Ness (the Realist), Jimmy Malone (the Cynic), George Stone (the Optimist), and Oscar Wallace (the Apathetic).
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Eliot Ness (choleric), Jimmy Malone (melancholic), Oscar Wallace (phlegmatic), and George Stone (sanguine).

* GoingByTheMatchbook: Frank Nitti has the address of Jim Malone written on a book of matches. Unfortunately for him he does not dispose of it after killing Malone, so when Eliot Ness searches him later it leads to their final shootout.
* GunsAkimbo: Stone uses two guns during the shoot-out at the train station. Note that, in his introduction, Stone is presented as something of a pistol prodigy.
* TheGunslinger: Stone is one of the two best gunmen at the police academy (and didn't stutter like Williamson). One of the reasons he got recruited.
* HairTriggerTemper: Capone, when not in public, is easy to piss off with a single failure or even in an attempt to cross him. In the court, he had to be hold by several men when his lawyer turns against him or else he could have made another baseball bat scene 2.0.
* HappilyMarried: Catherine and Eliot are never seen arguing even with the stressful situation they're living with.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: A prominent theme in the film. It's both a lesson and a warning Malone gives several times to Ness.
* HeroesWantRedheads: Eliot Ness is married to a lovely red-headed called Catherine.
* HeroicBystander: The two guys in the train station who die in the crossfire as they try to stop the baby carriage tumbling down the stairs.
* HeroKiller: Nitti [[spoiler:murders George the accountant, Oscar, the two cops who were going to be escorting George, and Malone, plus several people, including a little girl.]]
* HiddenInPlainSight: The bookkeeper and his mobster bodyguards walk right past Elliot Ness at the train station, as all they see is a man helping his wife pull their baby carriage up the stairs. Unfortunately the last mobster to enter the station has a bandaged nose from Ness punching him in the face, and remembers the man who gave it to him.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Eliot Ness, Al Capone, and Frank Nitti.
* HistoricalHeroUpgrade: Elliot Ness and his Untouchables skillfully combat Al Capone and ultimately bring him down on tax evasion charges. In reality, while the Untouchables put pressure on Capone's organization, and Ness weeded out the corruption in Chicago's law enforcement, it was an unrelated IRS operation that ultimately brought down Capone. Ness's self-promotion at the time helped popularize the impression that Ness was responsible. The film also portrays Ness as an ActionDad who gains resolve when Capone targets his family, but Ness had no children when taking on Capone. His later life was marked with business failures and alcoholism.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade:
** Well, sure, Capone himself was a ruthless crime boss who wasn't above killing his own associates or starting a MobWar, but the real Al was ''much'' less monstrous than the version here. Also, the movie's Capone had no problem killing kids, while the real Capone tried to avoid any bystander injuries in gun battles, and paid their hospital bills for them if they were hurt.
** [[NonIndicativeName Despite his nickname]], Frank Nitti was Capone's number two rather than an enforcer, managing the outfit's organization and financial dealings. The movie's Nitti can be viewed as a CompositeCharacter of various Capone henchmen.
* HollywoodLaw: There are quite a lot of liberties with the depiction of Capone's trial:
** When they discover the jury has been bribed, they switch Capone's jury with the jury next door. Something like this [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Capone#Conviction_and_imprisonment really happened]], but not the way it's depicted in the film. Of particular note, in real life the jury was switched much earlier in the trial, and it wasn't specifically the jury that was changed - it was the pool of jurors both sides could select or veto that was switched; switching it when they did in the film, even if it had been allowed, would have meant that the new jury was handicapped by having missed the presentation of key evidence.
** Capone's lawyer attempting to enter a plea without his client's consent is ''not'' based on reality, and, in real life, is a good way to have a mistrial, an overturned conviction, and disbarment for the attorney.
* IconicItem: Malone's St. Jude medallion. He toys with it from time to time and gives it to Ness before dying, and Ness in turn gives it to Stone at the end of the film.
* IdiotBall: Ness and Co are in a corrupt town, they know they can't trust most of the police and what do they do with their key witness? They put him in an elevator with just ''one'' Untouchable (Oscar the accountant) and don't bother to clear out the elevator of anyone they don't trust. They were really holding onto it that day.
* ImpersonatingAnOfficer: Frank Nitti disguises himself as a police officer to assassinate the bookkeeper the Untouchables have persuaded to testify.
* ImpliedDeathThreat: When all the escorting mobsters are dead in the train station, Stone points the gun at the bookkeeper, and pulls back the hammer. The implication is that if he refuses to cooperate, one more dead Capone associate isn't going to make a whole lot of difference.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: George Stone. He shoots the Bowtie Gangster through the *teeth* at a good 10 yards, while holding up a carriage and laying on his back.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: On asked what he'll do when Prohibition is over, Ness replies he'll have a drink.
** Wallace sneaks a mouthful of whiskey from a shot-up barrel after the Canadian border raid.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: Ness is the leader of the ''[[MeaningfulName Untouchables]]'' no less. Tell that to the corrupt alderman who tried to bribe him. He ain't playing in the same league as Capone.
* InfantImmortality: Averted and subverted. [[spoiler: Ness' own young daughter and (at the start) unborn child, prominently featured throughout, survive without a scratch. On the other hand, one of the first scenes in the movie shows a gangster walking out of a bar, and a little girl running after him, carrying him the suitcase he left behind. [[StuffBlowingUp Guess what's in the suitcase]]...]].
** [[spoiler:Played completely straight in the BabyCarriage scene.]]
* IntrepidReporter: Scoop, though he is seen more in public appearances, he went to the snowplow raid to get a exclusive.
* ItsPersonal: Malone warns Ness that he must take this mindset in order to win. Because the gangsters certainly will.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]]. After leading a raid on Capone's gang on the Canadian border, Ness has captured one of the gang's coders and is interrogating him in a nearby cabin. The man refuses to talk, so Malone walks outside and pulls another member of the gang to his feet against the window. Exclaiming he's fed up with the easy way, Malone sticks his gun in the man's mouth, and demands information by counting down from three. When met with no response, he [[BoomHeadshot blows the gangster's brains out into the room.]] This scares the captured man enough to spill everything. Unbeknownst to said coder, the other gangster was already a corpse (he was shot by Ness in the earlier firefight).
* JuryAndWitnessTampering: Al Capone bribes all the jurors in his tax dodging trial to acquit him--but Ness smells something fishy with the trial, and asks the judge to switch the juries. He even puts some pressure on the judge, on a hunch that he's also been bribed, and the gambit pays off.
* JusticeByOtherLegalMeans: Getting Al Capone on ''tax evasion'', of all things. Even Ness lampshades it in the movie when his accountant sidekick keeps pointing it out. (Though a standard legal tactic today, convicting criminals on tax evasion was a radically new idea at the time, and though it had been used successfully as far back as 1927, no one had ever tried it on so large a scale, or against so prominent a criminal.)
* KickTheDog: Capone personally beats one of his goons to death with a bat to bring home the point that despite his attempts to paint himself as a good-natured high-roller, he is quite the vicious, ruthless gangster Ness says he is. Also, he has no problem with little girls getting blown up at the beginning.
* KilledMidSentence: The 'Bowtie Driver'. Mid countdown.
* KnightInSourArmor: Malone. Ness starts as a KnightInShiningArmor, but gradually turns into one of these as well.
* LargeHam: Capone, particularly during his VillainousBreakdown.
* LaserGuidedKarma:
** Nitti, who has killed Malone and shot at least three other people during his escape, isn't too concerned. [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections He knows he'll never go to jail.]] Ness, however, has other ideas. Technically what Ness did was cold blooded murder, but it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
** The Capone hoodlum who lures Malone into Nitti's tommy-gun ambush gets a bullet in his head from Stone towards the end of the film.
** And of course, Al himself. He had an intricate empire that let him do horrible things with impunity... and was taken down in a way he didn't expect.
* TheLastDJ: When Ness asks Malone why he's still a beat cop at his age, the latter answers that he's one of the few policemen in Chicago who isn't on the take.
* LeeroyJenkins: Ness and company ''specifically'' tell the Mounties to ''wait for the signal'' to charge. And what do they do...? Charge before the signal.
* LetsGetDangerous: After he runs out of bullets Wallace runs towards a gangster, screaming, and hits him twice with the butt of his gun. Finally Wallace enjoys a sip from a nearby barrel of liquor. He's an ''accountant'', by the way.
* LightIsNotGood: Frank Nitti is always seen dressed in white.
* LudicrousGibs: [[spoiler:Malone's death.]]

* ManInWhite: Frank Nitti is always seen wearing white clothes, except in the baseball bat scene (though he has a white tie). It also has a very symbolic black and white contrast with Ness' (a law enforcement agent) suit..
* MeaningfulEcho: "What are you prepared to do?"
* MentorArchetype: Malone teaches Ness how to deal with Capone's forces in Chicago beyond conventional legal methods.
* MentorOccupationalHazard: [[spoiler: Jim Malone]].
* MobBossSuitFitting: A variation, with Al Capone talking business while getting a straight-razor shave from a barber.
* MobWar: Chicago is being torn apart by the violence between different mobs. TruthInTelevision.
* MohsScaleOfViolenceHardness: It gets a 7 (possibly a hard one), because of some of the blood splattering and [[spoiler:Al Capone bloodily bashing in the head of one of his stooges with a baseball bat]].
* MoneyIsNotPower: This Trope is the entire reason for the film's title. Eliot Ness and his group cannot be bribed, which is Al Capone's usual way of keeping the cops away from him.
* MoralDissonance: Ness is a [[WideEyedIdealist crusader]], but Malone quickly shows him that if he's going make any headway in this war, he needs to operate on the edges of the law, sometimes outside.
* MultipleGunshotDeath: [[spoiler: Jim Malone. Pretty rare for the Trope, he manages to survive long enough to provide Ness a vital clue, although the scene makes it clear that he's in incredible agony]].
* NaturalizedName: George Stone's birth name is Giuseppe Petri, a close-enough translation ("Petri" is close to ''pietre'', Italian for "stones", but Giuseppe's English equivalent is traditionally Joseph, not George; normally, George would be the Anglicized version of "Georgio").
* NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight: Malone provides the page quote and this memorable line, "Now isn't that just like a wop, brings a knife to a gunfight!" [[spoiler:Subverted in that the knife guy is actually just bait meant to lure Malone into Frank Nitti's Tommy gun ambush]].
** Could also be a CallBack to Malone's "Chicago way" speech
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Ness' speech about the Chicago way and all his moves to honor it (read the [[CycleOfRevenge conflict escalation]]) ultimately puts his family in great danger, so that [[spoiler:his wife and daughter have to move away from their house to avoid murder or [[FateWorsethanDeath worse]]]]. Strangely enough, the threat to his family comes as a surprise to Ness, implying that he honestly thought that Capone would never go that far (or, as in his speech he always has the last word, maybe he ''would'' go even further than Capone's murder of his family... [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge Better not to know]]).
* NobleBigotWithABadge: Malone is very vocal about his anti-Italian prejudice, but Stone earns his respect.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Malone is supposed to be Irish, yet Creator/SeanConnery speaks in his normal accent. When asked why he didn't attempt an Irish accent for the film, he reportedly said, "If I didn't talk like this, you wouldn't know who I am." (it was named "[[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3032052.stm Worst Accent Ever]]" by a UK magazine).
* OfCorpseHesAlive: The team are trying to interrogate a mobster to no effect. Malone goes outside to grab the body of a gangster killed in a shoot-out and pops him up against the window in front of the suspect's sight, hiding the man's bullet wound. He then berates the corpse as if interrogating him, pushing a gun to his head and finally shooting it. Naturally, the terrified mobster agrees to tell anything he knows.
* OfficerOHara: Malone and Mike.
* OhCrap:
** Wallace when Nitti turns his gun on him.
** Malone has a tragic one when he sees Nitti waiting with his Tommy Gun and realizes he's been set up.
** Nitti when he realizes Ness [[DisneyVillainDeath isn't taking him into custody after all]].
** The barber trying to shave Capone while he chats with the reporters, after Al moves suddenly and gets a nasty cut on the cheek from his razor.
* OldCopYoungCop: Malone and Ness.
* OldFashionedCopper: Although not a British film, Malone fills this role. He is introduced by being such a hardass that he tells ''Elliot Ness'' to straighten up. His idea of recruiting a new cop? Go directly to the Police Academy and find the guy who shoots straightest.
** Gets downplayed in the end, seeing Malone ultimately picked the second-best shooter, as the best shooter could barely put together an intelligible sentence:
-->'''Malone''': There goes the next Chief of Police!
* OldSchoolChivalry: The Mounties. To such a ridiculous degree that almost blows the whole Whiskey Exchange ambush. Their glorious melodramatic head-on charge gives the gangsters plenty of warning to get ready. If The Untouchables didn't cut them off from behind, the gangsters would have probably escaped.
* OminousMusicBoxTune: The tune is first heard as Elliot helps a woman struggling with her baby carriage up the stairs. The second time we hear it is at the end of the bloody shootout immediately afterward.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Sean Connery's Irish-Scottish brogue. Almost comical when Jimmy Malone's talking to Chief Dorsett (who has a pronounced Irish brogue)... it's even more obvious Connery's accent is Scottish, not Irish.
* PistolPose: The poster has the other three Untouchables holding rifles in the back as [[SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou Ness is about to shoot you]] and under a giant Capone as EvilOverlooker.
* PleaseIWillDoAnything: Happens twice. First when George, the man who was checking the alcohol cargo in the Canadian frontier, gets scared after Jim Malone shoots a gangster's corpse to intimidate him and promises to talk about Capone's tax evasion. Then at the Chicago Train Station, where Walter Payne, Capone's bookkeeper, is held at gunpoint by a gangster and encourages Ness to kill him, promising he will tell anything about Capone's tax evasion in the trial.
* PragmaticHero: Malone. In spades. The standout example is his gruesome "interrogation" and "execution" to scare George into cooperating. It's disturbing, but works extremely well.
* PreMortemOneLiner: Ness, to Nitti. Technically, it's still pre-mortem, as Nitti is still falling when Ness says it.
--> '''Nitti''': He died like a pig.\\
'''Ness''': [[BerserkButton What did you say]]?\\
'''Nitti''': I said that your friend died screaming like a stuck Irish pig. Now you think about that when I beat the rap.\\
''[As Nitti walks away, Ness grabs him]''\\
'''Nitti''': Hey! AAHH!\\
''[Ness pushes him off the roof]''\\
'''Nitti''': [[OhCrap AAAHHH!]]\\
* PsychoForHire: Frank Nitti kills people without even battling an eye and takes pride in it.
* PutDownYourGunAndStepAway: The court guard tries this on Nitti when Elliot Ness figures out that Nitti was the one who shot [[spoiler: Malone]], and gets shot for his troubles.
* TheQuietOne:
** Stone almost never speaks, unless when he has to.
** Nitti is usually seen in silence, but when he talks...
* RageBreakingPoint: Ness is fairly a non-violent person but then Capone menaces his family, faces the very gangster himself after [[spoiler:Oscar Wallace is killed by Frank Nitti]] and [[spoiler:throws Nitti off the building rooftop when he says that [[BerserkButton Malone died screaming like a pig]]]].
* RealityIsUnrealistic:
** The infamous baseball bat scene seems like an over-the-top fabrication. But not only did Al Capone really do this... he attacked ''three'' associates during a dinner party this way. At the same time! Capone didn't kill them outright, though; he beat them senseless and then had his bodyguards finish them off with bullets.
** The Chicago police department seems outrageously corrupt for dramatic purposes. But this is more or less what The Feds had to deal with. The Mafia and the local police often were public rivals, but secret partners. As long as the mob kept the violence low and kept to the shadows, they allowed them to bootleg and operate. For a cut, of course. (In addition, Prohibition was basically unenforceable.)
* RecklessGunUsage: Probably unintentional on the part of the filmmakers, but the Untouchables in general and Ness in particular have a problem with this trope. The latter has a nasty habit of pointing at things with his weapon, and even hugs his daughter ''while carrying a .45 with his finger in the trigger well.''
* ReliablyUnreliableGuns: The tommy gun of one gangster jams during a fight. (TruthInTelevision: a problem real tommy guns were frequently subject to, which is one of the many reasons it was never as popular as gangland movies would have you believe.) To the gangster's credit he tries repeatedly to clear the jam, but it gives the mousy accountant among the Untouchables time to get close enough to KO him with the butt of his shotgun.
* RooftopConfrontation: The final showdown between Ness and Nitti takes place on the roof of the courthouse.

* SadisticChoice: During the stairway shootout Ness has to let go of the baby carriage in order to pump the action on his shotgun, so it starts rolling down the stairs. Ness then has a choice between moving for cover or running after the baby carriage. He chooses the latter, but this means the baby is vulnerable to gunfire from everyone shooting at Ness.
* SaveTheVillain: The film both affirms and subverts the trope when Elliot Ness first assists Frank Nitti, whom he had cornered dangling from a rope off the edge of a building, and then after enduring some EvilGloating Ness [[KillHimAlready reappraises the situation]] and casually throws him off the roof.
* SceneryPorn: While they may be on the wrong side of Montana, the Rockies seen in the border raid are breath taking.
* SchiffOneLiner: "I think I'll have a drink". Doubles as a [[MythologyGag meta-continuity nod]] to the TV-series.
* {{Scotireland}}: Sean Connery plays an Irish cop using his real accent, and it's never addressed. This is, however, rather common for Connery.
* ScreamingWoman: A woman's scream starts off the staircase shootout when she sees Elliot Ness take a shotgun out from under his BadassLongcoat. After that her screams are all silent with only the gunshots and the wheels of the BabyCarriage bumping down the stairs being heard.
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Moral crusader Eliot Ness earned his men the nickname "The Untouchables" by his vehement refusal of a large bribe from Al Capone.
* SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou: [[http://img.listal.com/image/149170/600full-the-untouchables-poster.jpg Kevin Costner is about to shoot you while Sean Connery watches!]]
* ShameIfSomethingHappened: Frank Nitti threatens Eliot Ness's family in this manner.
-->'''Frank Nitti:''' Nice house.
* ShooOutTheClowns: [[spoiler:Out of the four main characters, PluckyComicRelief Oscar Wallace is the first to die.]]
* ShootTheHostageTaker: At the climax of ''Film/TheUntouchables''.
-->'''Gangster:''' Me and the bookkeeper are walking out of here, getting into a car, and driving away. Or else he dies. He dies, and you ain't got nothing. You've got five seconds to make up your minds.\\
'''Eliot Ness:''' ''[ignores the gangster, addresses Stone]'' You got him?\\
'''Stone:''' ''[Stone is lying flat on his back, supporting a baby with one hand and holding a revolver in the other]'' Yeah, I got him.\\
'''Gangster:''' One!\\
'''Ness:''' Take him.\\
'''Stone:''' ''[headshot]'' Two.
* ShotgunsAreJustBetter: With the exception of the occasional Tommy Gun, the Untouchables wield pump-action shotguns as their main long arms.
** Malone keeps a double-barrel sawed-off in his apartment for protection, but [[spoiler:never gets to use it before Nitti mows him down]].
* ShoutOut:
** The baby carriage rolling down the stairs in Union Station is a direct homage to the famous "OdessaSteps" sequence in Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 masterpiece ''Film/TheBattleshipPotemkin''.
** This being a Creator/BrianDePalma film, the opening bar bombing owes a debt to Creator/AlfredHitchcock.
* ShutUpHannibal: When [[spoiler:Frank Nitti]] says this to Eliot Ness to taunt him about killing Malone before shoving him off a roof:
--> '''Nitti''': "He died screaming, like a stuck Irish pig. Now you think about that when I beat the rap."\\
(Ness [[TranquilFury gets calmly pissed]] and drags Nitti to the ledge and tosses him off, Nitti screams on the way down)\\
'''Ness''': Did he sound anything like that?!?
* TheSociopath: Capone is a violent psychopath who finds joy in the death of his adversaries, and so does Nitti, his dragon.
* SoundtrackDissonance: [[spoiler:Malone]]'s death scene is interspliced with clips of Capone watching a performance of the opera Pagliacci, and sincerely weeping over the beauty of the singer's voice. The music is not cut off whenever the scene cuts away from the opera it continues to play over both locations.
* SpecsOfAwesome: Besides coming up with the plan to take down UsefulNotes/AlCapone, Oscar Wallace shows himself to be this. During the Canadian border battle, when his tommy gun jams, he charges one of the hoods and knocks him unconscious with the gun butt. [[spoiler: Sadly, after the battle his badassery will be short-lived.]]
* TheSquad: Also a BadassCrew.
** TheHero: Ness.
** TheMentor: Malone. Also doubles as TheLancer.
** TheAce: Stone. He's the best shooter promoted from the police force, and proves it during the train station shootout. He can also be considered TheBigGuy.
** TheSmartGuy: Oscar.
* StandardPoliceMotto: The first cadet interviewed for the team stammers out "To protect and serve" when asked why he wants to join the force. Stone gives a slightly more elaborate, "To protect the property and citizenry of the City of Chicago." Malone isn't impressed by either.
* SteelEarDrums: The baby in the carriage sequence.
* StrikeMeDownWithAllOfYourHatred: Done by Nitti to Ness. He's really just playing a BatmanGambit to toy with him, except it backfires. [[CarCushion Badly.]]
* SuicidalGotcha: Elliot Ness chases Frank Nitti onto the roof where he waits in ambush. Ness rolls to the side to evade his fire, only to roll right off the roof with a scream. A smirking Nitti saunters up to the edge to look over, only to be shot by Ness who's lying on a wooden platform, presumably put up for painting or window washing.
* TeamShot: See the image up there. Also an in-universe example, the four pose for a family photo in a restaurant.
* TitleDrop: "You fellows are ''untouchable'', is that the thing? No one can get to you? Hey, everyone can be gotten to."
* TokenEnemyMinority: George Stone (birth name Giuseppe Petri), is also Italian. This leads to bigotry from Malone, who calls him a "thieving wop" upon discovering that he is Italian. Interestingly enough, Stone is played by Andy Garcia who is actually Cuban, not Italian, but is famous for playing Italian characters.
* TooDumbToLive: No, Mr. Nitti, I don't think it's a particularly good idea to taunt Ness about his partner you murdered when both of you are standing on top of a tall building.
** The Sicilian gunman who tries to shoot Ness with a pistol, when the latter has a shotgun on him, at virtually arm's length.
** Even Ness gets one! Furious at Capone, he draws his pistol and points it at the gangster, whose cordon of gunmen all draw on him. They were well within their legal rights to gun him down, since he was going to pull the trigger on an unarmed man for all they knew.
*** Though it should be noted that he wasn't necessarily "dumb," just blinded by rage.
* TookALevelInBadass: Oscar, the federal accountant assigned to Ness's team. More an office worker than a field agent, he takes to wielding a shotgun pretty quickly and gets a few Moments of Asskickery during the Canadian border raid.
* TragicKeepsake: [[spoiler: Malone's keychain]].
* TryNotToDie: Essentially, Malone's first rule of law enforcement: Make sure when your shift is over, you go home alive.
* UnfriendlyFire: Bowtie Driver guns down several civilians who get caught in the crossfire during the shootout in the train station.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Ness and his Untouchables really existed. They really did get Capone on tax evasion. The baseball bat scene and the jury switch are based on real events. On the other hand, quite a lot of the story is just plain made up. The depiction of Ness owes more to dramatic effect than historical accuracy, and the rest of the Untouchables depicted in the film are entirely fictional. In real life there were 11 "Untouchables" not counting Ness, and they all lived to see the end of Prohibition. So did [[spoiler:Frank Nitti]], who took the reins of the Chicago Outfit after Capone went to prison, successfully diversified the Outfit's interests to keep it going after Prohibition ended, and eventually committed suicide in 1943. The tax evasion case was based on information collected by Frank J. Wilson, from the Treasury Department's Bureau of Internal Revenue; the credit for bringing down Capone belongs to him, not Eliot Ness. Capone and Ness never met face-to-face.
** Of note is that Jim Malone is named after Mike Malone, an agent that infiltrated Capone's organization and then served as a witness in the trial. He died of natural causes in 1960.
* VillainousBreakdown:
** Capone's unflappable demeanor slips badly after he learns about the raid at the Canadian border:
-->I want you to get this fuck where he breathes! I want you to find this nancy-boy Eliot Ness, I want him dead! I want his family dead! I want his house burned to the ground! I want to go there in the middle of the night and I want to piss on his ashes!
** During the court case: [[spoiler:As soon as the Judge decides to switch the Juries, Capone freaks out at his lawyer. As soon as his lawyer switches pleas, Capone punches him. When Ness gloats to his face, he repeats the phrase "You're nothing but a lot of talk and a badge" to the point where the more he says it, the more he realizes his life of crime is over]].
* VillainBall: Nitti murders [[spoiler: Jimmy Malone]] by writing his apartment address [[GoingByTheMatchbook on a matchbook]]. Unfortunately for him, he forgets to dispose of it after his hit. When he bumps into Eliot Ness, he offers the matchbook to light his cigarette with. Ness sees the address, and putting two and two together, chases Nitti and [[spoiler: pushes him off a roof [[CarCushion into a car]].]]
** Nitti also can't leave well enough alone! [[spoiler: Ness pulls him up to the roof after considering shooting him when he's hanging by a rope but then Nitti starts gloating about killing Malone, saying that he "died screaming like a stuck up pig" which is what finally makes Ness throw him off the roof.]]
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: Capone, who is popular with the media (and somewhat of a celebrity) despite his illegal ties.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never find out what happened to Chief Mike Dorsett after his fight with Malone.
* WhatYouAreInTheDark: Ness is sorely tempted to shoot Nitti during the rooftop chase, when it's just the two of them there. He decides against it and arrests Nitti instead. [[spoiler:But then Nitti [[BerserkButton just had to go taunting]] about how Malone died by his hand, and how he'll still beat the rap... so Ness tosses Nitti off the roof to punish him, taunting him as he falls to his very KarmicDeath]].
* WhereDoYouThinkYouAre:
-->'''RCMP Captain''': I do not approve of your methods.\\
'''Eliot Ness''': Yeah, well... You're not from Chicago.
* WhyDontYaJustShootHim: A heroic example. When George is outrunning the older (and much heavier) Malone, Malone fires a quick burst from his Tommy Gun in the air to end the chase.
--> "Enough of this running shit..."
* WickedCultured: Capone, resplendent in evening wear, is enjoying a performance of the opera ''Pagliacci'' when his henchman arrives to inform him of another successful hit. TruthInTelevision: the real Capone was an opera lover and also a fan (and impresario) of the hot new sound of his era, jazz.
* WouldHurtAChild: The EstablishingCharacterMoment for Capone's organization involves a child being killed when a bar is blown up. Not to mention Capone ordering the death of Ness' ''infant'' daughter.
* WouldYouLikeToHearHowTheyDied: Frank Nitti tells Elliot Ness how he killed Jim Malone and that he died screaming like a stick Irish pig. It doesn't end well for Nitti.
* YouHaveFailedMe: Al Capone beats one of his goons to death with a bat.