Prohibition was lifted in 1933, draining a lucrative revenue source for the Mob. But organized crime continued to flourish. And the public’s fascination endured as well, reflected in endless Mob books, movies and TV shows. The Massacre has been depicted a number of times in the movies.
Prohibition was repealed in 1933, draining a lucrative revenue source for the Mob. But organized crime continued to flourish by focusing on other rackets. And the public’s enduring fascination was evident in the popularity of Mob movies, some of which incorporated the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre into their stories.
Scarface: Shame of the Nation
1932: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson, directors; starring Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, George Raft. Howard Hughes co-produced this loosely fictionalized treatment of Al Capone’s violent rise to gang dominance in the bloody streets of Prohibition-era Chicago.
Some Like It Hot
1959: Billy Wilder, director; starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe George Raft. This classic film opens with two musicians (Curtis and Lemmon) witnessing the Massacre and going on the run disguised as women.
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
1967: Roger Corman, director; starring Jason Robards, George Segal, David Canary. Schlockmeister Corman, perhaps better known for classics such as Death Race 2000, got into the Mob movie business with 20th Century Fox in this period piece on Al Capone’s rise through the Prohibition-era Chicago rackets and, of course, the elimination of seven of Capone’s rivals in the eponymous Massacre in 1929. Well-acted and historically ambitious. Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern both have small roles. Fun fact: You can see whole segments of this film directly recycled in Corman’s 1975 movie for Fox, Capone.
1975: Steve Carver, director; starring Ben Gazzara, Harry Guardino, Susan Blakely, Sylvester Stallone. Roger Corman, king of the B-movies, produced the movie while channeling 1970s disco-era sensibilities into this heavily fictionalized treatment of Al Capone’s rise to power in Prohibition-era Chicago. Corman, working for 20th Century Fox, also borrowed heavily from his 1967 Fox movie, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, including large segments of film featuring places getting machine-gunned. One of Stallone’s first major roles.
Al Capone and His American Boys: Memoirs of a Mobster’s Wife by William J. Helmer
A Killing in Capone’s Playground: The True Story of the Hunt for the Most Dangerous Man Alive by Chriss Lyon
Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster by Jonathan Eig
Capone: The Man and the Era by Laurence Bergreen