[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the-untouchables_8027.jpg]]

->''"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 PatriciaClarkson in her screen debut. Connery won an AcademyAward for his interpretation.

Based on the exploits of (RealLife) [[TheRoaringTwenties 1920s]] Chicago Prohibiton 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 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:

* 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
* 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.
* BadassMustache: Malone.
* BatmanGambit: [[spoiler:Ness bluffs the judge overseeing Capone's trial to switch juries (as Capone's had been bribed), by telling the judge his name was in the ledger listing all of Capone's payouts. The DA notes that they didn't find the judge's name in that ledger...]].
* BatterUp: Al Capone famously used a baseball bat to savagely murder one of his subordinates.
* BigBad: Capone, of course.
* 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]].
* 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 uses more questionable means 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 [[Creator/SeanConnery Bond]]]].
** Also, Costner's line to Nitti just before.
* ByTheBookCop: Eliot Ness, at least at first.
* CarCushion: [[spoiler:Frank Nitti's in the car after being thrown off the roof by Eliot Ness]].
* 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.
* 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...]].
* CouldntFindAPen: After murdering [[spoiler: Oscar Wallace and George the Bookkeeper]] in an elevator, Frank Nitti uses their blood to write the word "TOUCHABLE" on the wall.
* DangerouslyCloseShave: The opening scene.
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: [[spoiler: Malone died in Ness's arms]].
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: While he's lured to his death quite easily, [[spoiler: Malone]] doesn't die after absorbing [[MoreDakka a full magazine of bullets]], still crawls epically for a few meters to bring a vital clue into Ness' atention and then he delivers his 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]].
* DirtyCop: [[BadCopIncompetentCop The rule rather than the exception]], hence the need for a group of untouchables.
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler: Nitti]].
* 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: Frank Nitti.
* EvilGloating: Something [[spoiler:Nitti]] probably should have done '''after''' getting safely off the roof!
* EvilOverlooker: The poster has Capone looming large like Darth Vader over [[SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou Elliot Ness as he is about to shoot you]] and the other Untouchables in [[PistolPose rifle poses]].
* FakeKillScare: Done with a twist -- Malone scares the crap out of a captured smuggler by letting him see Malone demand that his accomplice reveal information, threaten to blow his head off if he won't talk, and then ''literally'' blow the accomplice's brains out. What the surviving captive (who, terrified, tells all he knows) didn't know was that [[spoiler:the accomplice had already been fatally shot in the gunfight just before: Malone was "interrogating" a corpse]].
* FamousLastWords:
** "What are you prepared to do?" [[spoiler:Malone]]
** "He died screaming, like a stuck Irish pig. Now you think about that when I beat the rap." [[spoiler:Frank Nitti]][[note]]Unless "AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" 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.
* TheFilmOfTheSeries
* {{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?
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* HollywoodLaw:
** 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 - the pool of jurors both sides could select or veto 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.
* 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.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: George Stone.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: On asked what he'll do when Prohibition is over, Ness replies he'll have a drink.
* InfantImmortality: Averted and subverted. [[spoiler: Ness' own young children, 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]]...]].
* 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 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.)
* KnightInSourArmor: Malone. Ness starts as a KnightInShiningArmor, but gradually turns into one of these as well.
* 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.
* LightIsNotGood: Frank Nitti is always seen dressed in white.
* MeaningfulEcho: "What are you prepared to do?"
* ManInWhite: Frank Nitti.
* MentorOccupationalHazard: [[spoiler: Jim Malone]].
* 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).
* 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 [[AFateWorsethanDeath 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.
* OfficerOHara: Malone and Mike.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Sean Connery's Irish-Scottish brogue.
* PsychoForHire: Frank Nitti.
* PutDownYourGunAndStepAway: Subverted.
* 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.
* SchiffOneLiner: "I think I'll have a drink". Doubles as a [[MythologyGag meta-continuity nod]] to the TV-series.
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Moral crusader Eliot Ness earned his men the nickname "The Untouchables" by his vehement refusal of a large bribe from Al Capone.
* ShameIfSomethingHappened: Frank Nitti threatens Eliot Ness's family in this manner.
-->'''Frank Nitti:''' Nice house.
* ShotgunsAreJustBetter: With the exception of the occasional Tommy Gun, the Untouchables wield pump-action shotguns as their main long arms.
* ShoutOut:
** The baby carriage rolling down the stairs in Union Station is a direct homage to the famous "Odessa Steps" sequence in Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 masterpiece ''Film/TheBattleshipPotemkin''.
** This being a Creator/BrianDePalma film, the opening bar bombing owes a debt to Hitchcock.
* TheSociopath: Capone is a violent psychopath who finds joy in the death of his adversaries, and so does Nitti, his dragon.
* 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.
* SteelEarDrums: The baby in the carriage sequence.
* TeamShot: See the image up there. Also a 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."
* 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.
* 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]].
* 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 died by his own hand 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 Elliot Ness. Al Capone and Eliot Ness never met face-to-face.
* WhatTheHellHero[=/=]WhereDoYouThinkYouAre:
-->'''RCMP Captain''': I do not approve of your methods.\\
'''Eliot Ness''': Yeah, well... You're not from {{C|rapsackWorld}}hicago.
* 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...]].
* WouldHurtAChild: The EstablishingCharacterMoment for Capone's organization involves a child being killed when a bar is blown up.
* VillainousBreakdown: Where to begin: [[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]].
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: Capone, who is popular with the media (and somewhat of a celebrity) despite his illegal ties.
* YouHaveFailedMe: Al Capone beats one of his goons to death with a bat.
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