Rod Steiger is the screen's first "method mobster" in the title role of Al Capone. The film traces Big Al's progress from a torpedo in the hire of Chicago gangster Johnny Torrio (Nehemiah Persoff) to Capone's takeover of the Windy City's bootlegging operations, and his ultimate downfall at the hands of the IRS. Rod Steiger delivers every line with maniacal gusto, as though it will be his last; sometimes he sounds like Frank Gorshin doing a Rod Steiger impression, but for the most part it is a dynamite performance. Featured in the cast are Murvyn Vye as Bugs Moran, Joe De Santis as Big Jim Colosimo, Lewis Charles as Hymie Weiss, Robert Gist as O'Banion, and James Gregory and Martin Balsam as composite characters, respectively based on honest Chicago cop John Siege and duplicitous newspaper reporter Jake Lingle.
by Hal Erickson synopsis