Essay: The Untouchable 80s

Adding another entry to our essay’s section is an issue of historical fiction, wherein it is a historical event portrayed in a fictional way…or is it fictional history? Well you comment and decide. Anyways, essay is about the significance, accuracy, and entertainment value of Brian DePalma’s 1987 film, The Untouchables. This essay saved my grade in my Studies in Popular History 490 level class.

Brian DePalma’s “historical” crime film, The Untouchables, was released in 1987, well into a decade well known for excess. The story of the film takes place during 1930’s Nation-wide Prohibition, in which American citizens were restricted by law from buying, selling and consuming alcoholic beverages. This was much to the chagrin of bar tenders, but gave the crime lords of the central United States a large market to work with: crime syndicates, lead by men like Al Capone, secured a profitable black market in liquor sales. The story of the film starts with real-life historical figure, Eliot Ness, bringing his “tin star” to a town full of corrupt officials and gun wielding Mafioso. Chicago, Illinois was the headquarters of the real life Al Capone, and Elliot Ness did in fact start his war and end Capone’s reign in that very city. However, aside from the general setting, the two leading opponents, and the final court case resulting in the arrest of Capone, the heavy weight bought on this stage is mostly a dramatic fabrication of the events that could have (or never did) take place.

You can read the full essay here.