During the Prohibition era, government agent Eliot Ness is sent to Chicago to foil megalomaniacal gangster Al Capone (De Niro), who's making a killing selling illegal hooch in collusion with corrupt local cops and politicos. Dismayed at first by Capone's steely grip on the city, Ness eventually befriends older Irish patrolman Jimmy Malone (Connery), seemingly the city's only honest lawman, who helps squeaky-clean Ness put the screws to Scarface Al.
Inspired by the 1950s TV series and scripted by David Mamet, this absorbing, operatic gangster flick — a box-office hit in 1987 — explores the moral ambiguities of justice, and represents perhaps De Palma's finest moment in the director's chair. In a star-making turn, Costner excels as idealistic G-man Ness, schooled in the ways of the street by Connery, who deservedly picked up an Oscar for his superb portrayal of acerbic veteran cop Malone. With a teeth-clenching, tour de force shoot-out in a train station capping the action, "The Untouchables" is a nimbly directed, top-shelf period thriller.