Great Scene: “The Untouchables”

Late night. A quiet bridge. Ness and Malone meet for the first time.

A few weeks back, I put the call out on Twitter for some suggestions for the Great Scene series. Got a LOT of responses including this one:

Movie: The Untouchables (1987), screenplay by David Mamet

IMDb plot summary: AL CAPONE. He ruled Chicago with absolute power. No one could touch him. No one could stop him. — Until Eliot Ness and a small force of men swore they’d bring him down.

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Scene Setup: Treasury Department agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) is put in charge of leading the crusade against Capone and his empire. Ness’ initial strategy is to conduct raids using a large squad of uniformed officers, but his first attempt fails when he breaks into a warehouse storing umbrellas (although it is implied by Capone’s reaction to the newspaper headline about Ness’ mistake that it was indeed a liquor warehouse, but his men had been tipped off by the corrupt police chief, Mike Dorsett (Richard Bradford).

Check out the dialogue:

This always struck me as David Mamet’s version of a ‘meet cute’. Apart from their intersection, the whole point of the scene is for Ness to get Malone’s name and department, so he can do this:

Great scenes, both of them.

If you have a suggestion for a Great Scene, don’t be shy, let me hear from you.

For more in the Great Scene series, go here.

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