What does the movie do right?
Despite the issues of basing the movie directly off the book written as the bequest of Ness by Oscar Fraley, the movie was a success and received fifteen nominations; the move won eleven times. The wardrobe design by Marilyn Vance was heavily researched and detailed to the point that she had the socks (not seen in the film) worn by De Niro, sent to a tailor in Italy so that it could be sewn on with the design the gangster had on his socks. Vance claimed that the costume design department spent much of their time researching clothing and wardrobe in the 1930s by looking at Sears catalogs and finding authentic older apparel at secondhand shops. In director Robert De Palma’s recent documentary on himself, he mentioned his casting of Robert De Niro in the movie and said that the actor was so dedicated to playing Capone that he even wore silk underwear because Capone did.
Further, the set design and depiction of Chicago is excellent, and in reviews of the movie, was often positively commented on. In a highly critical Washington Post article reviewing the movie, “frame by frame the movie is exquisite and perhaps the viewer is more impressed with [De Palma’s] mastery of the camera than ever before.”
While The Untouchables film is riddled with accuracy issues, at least the treatment of the time period and illustration of what the streets of Chicago may have looked like during Capone’s reign. Director De Palma never claimed that the movie was historically accurate but instead saw a potential film in a fantastical yet gripping tale. What results is arguably an enjoyable film with an interesting storyline and plenty of mob violence to truly drive home that prohibition-era Chicago was dark and sinister.
 Washington Post Article