The Untouchables: 35th Anniversary Edition (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

You gotta love it as a maestro’s catalog continues to upgrade through to whatever the most up to date format there is for home video. Brian De Palma is slowly but surely upgrading. Milestones help to bump things up to the top, as his film The Untouchables will join Mission: Impossible, Carlito’s Way and Scarface on the format. This notable classic gangster film is the one that nabbed screen legend Sean Connery his Oscar and turned his career around for its third act. You’ll be able to pick this 35th Anniversary Edition up in both a regular and steelbook packaging. All the legacy extras have been carried over and a digital copy is included (No standard Blu-ray disc is included). The Untouchables will grace the shelves (Likely physical and virtual) when it arrives on May 31st. You can pre-order yourself a copy of this bonafide classic by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review.



After building an empire with bootleg alcohol, legendary crime boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro) rules Chicago with an iron fist. Though Prohibition agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) attempts to take Capone down, even his best efforts fail due to widespread corruption within the Windy City’s police force. Recruiting an elite group of lawmen who won’t be swayed by bribes or fear, including Irish-American cop Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery), Ness renews his determination to bring Capone to justice.

Brian De Palma is one of our greatest living filmmakers, an expert at his craft. If you’re going into one of his movies, there are certain expectations you have set. While The Untouchables is perhaps one of his more straightforward movies, it still features everything you’d want to see from him. De Palma’s craft lies in a lot of technical wizardry and the way he simply presents scenes. Be it a simple look, cut, angle or camera movement, you can tell its a Brian De Palma film. And yeah, he does love that split diopter which of course makes its way into The Untouchables.

There’s a lot to talk about with The Untouchables, especially in what De Palma produces, but I’m just going to point to the 2 obvious sequences that happen almost back to back with one another. Jim Malone’s final scene is one of pure De Palma joy. There’s a great set up with the address on the matchbook which then leads us to the hunt. He films the stalking of Malone like a slasher picture and then turns the tables, only to have them turned again. Its a claustrophobic moment which works for both the hunt and the reversal. But once things take to the open, a more safe feeling, the rug is pulled out from under and we meet a chilling doom. There’s a bounce here, a vibe, a dread, a joy and an then the ultimate gut punch. Its great cinema on a smaller scale for a big return in the emotional reaction department.

The other moment is the grand set piece at the train station. In a pure Hitchcock move, it has plenty of set up, patience, dread and the most essential ingredient…comedy. De Palma puts together an overly giddy Rube Goldberg sequences of dominoes to fall in a classic mobster to shootout that place out like some grand ballet. What adds even more to it, is that its all displayed in slow motion yet feels incredibly fast paced and breathless. This scene is so remarkable, that it plays as a short film on its own. You can easily show someone the scene with no explanation, out of context and it STILL would deliver a similar emotional investment and grand entertainment. That’s just how good the guy’s master craftsmanship is.

Of course the fil is one of our best Ness vs Capone depictions on film and television. While Costner isn’t quite the actor he would become yet, he’s able to strum alone for this to work, thanks in part to some strong supporting turns by that of Sean Connery, Andy Garcia and Patricia Clarkson. Connery, of which, won himself an Oscar for this film and its quite easy to see why. He really steals the film and becomes somewhat of an emotional core to it that you feel like your heart has been ripped out when he meets his end. De Niro isn’t in the film as much as you’d think, but his slightly over the top performance and menace keeps him on your brain all throughout the film. All in all, its a pretty well cast movie and the smaller roles prove fun and memorable.

The Untouchables may not rank highly in the film geek portion of the De Palma canon, but it certainly is one his strongest mainstream efforts and probably one of his best, most complete/polished works. His voice an ability is still on display and certainly nobody but him could have made this film like he did. There’s some strong character work found within his wonderful set pieces and good pacing on the classic gangster picture. Ultimately, this film is so well made, it easily works today as well as it did back then, it not maybe stronger looking back with such a desire to have films with bolder films and filmmakers.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail The Untouchables: 35th Anniversary Edition features a delightful looking transfer that really opens up the image to added depth, and polishes a nice new, more full look to the film. In comparison to the previous Blu-ray release, it just feels a bit more rich, with better color saturation, natural blacks and more details/textures showcasing. This is wonderful look for the film on 4K, making De Palma’s work feel all too new again.

Depth: Depth of field is incredible here with tremendous spacing and pushback and confident camera movements throughout the picture. Characters frolic freely and naturally with no issues from rapid action causing any sort of jitter or blurring effect.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and quite lovely here in this mix. Plenty of texture, pattern and information comes easily through the well saturated tones. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty strong here in a more natural slant. They have a nice bold touch to them with strong reds, browns, grays and the like. HDR comes in with some nice glow with fire, car lights, lanterns and sparks from gunfire.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are easily discernible and provide loads of information from any given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Czech 2.0 Dolby Digital, German 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin America) 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, German, Spanish, Spanish (Latin America), French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese, Russian, Roman, Simplified Chinese, Slovakian, Finnish, Swedish, Thai

Dynamics: In its debut on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format, The Untouchables gets an upgrade in the audio department with a fancy new Atmos track. And its a lovely little mix here that fits the film and doesn’t really take it overboard. Its woven across the whole room, but it natural and filling ways to bring the movie a very engaging peak here. Its a balanced mix, blessed with some good depth and layering.

Height: From above you get some interesting and accurate stuff as well as the score building a bit more in concert. This one doesn’t go over the top where it doesn’t have to, but does add some terrific touches to fill out and make the experience just a little extra.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer works harmoniously with the bass, drum, strings and horns in the score as well as car engines, crashes, shotgun blasts and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: Surround mix is pretty terrific in crafting environments. Great ambient sounds are built and flush out the room with reflecting the environments they are production. Sound travel rolls across the room with accuracy and decent force. Some nice unique moments do hide and wander through the film, taking note of offscreen action.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


The Untouchables: 35th Anniversary Edition comes with a redeemable digital code. All extras are legacy features ported over from the previous Blu-ray edition. All of these featurettes are SD upconverted to HD encoding.

The Script, The Cast (HD, 18:31)

Production Stories (HD, 17:18)

Re-Inventing the Genre (HD, 14:24)

The Classic (HD, 5:39)

Original Featurette: “The Men” (HD, 5:26)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:49)


The Untouchables holds up strong here 35 years later as both an example of a more “modern” gangster picture and one where a director has done it with his own imprints placed upon it. Paramount’s 35th Anniversary Edition merely comes as such via a new format, video transfer and audio. And it excels in those 3 facets. Coming along again are the already well rounded special features that have been around since DVD, making this a pretty complete release and the most definitive we are likely to see.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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