17 Actors Who've Played Al Capone: From Tom Hardy to Robert De Niro
Here is a look at the actors who took on the challenge of playing the legendary larger than life bootlegger, racketeer, killer and organized crime boss
Notorious mobster Al Capone was a larger than life bootlegger, racketeer, killer and organized crime boss in the first half of the 20th century, who has been portrayed on big-screen and small for seven decades. Here is a look at the actors who took on the challenge. And, if you’re curious, here is archival footage of Scarface himself.
Rod Steiger – “Al Capone” (1959) • Rod Steiger played Capone with deliberate showiness, from the roar of his voice to the tilt of hid fedora. Although he won a Laurel Award for his performance, Capone’s sister wasn’t crazy about the film – she sued the filmmakers for $10 million for invasion of privacy because they failed to get permission from the Capone estate to make it. The suit was eventually dismissed. Check out Steiger as Capone in a clip here.
Neville Brand – “The George Raft Story” (1961) • Although Neville Brand had an extensive resume that had him appearing in dozens of television shows for three decades, he is most recognizable for playing Capone from 1959-61 in the series “Untouchables” and the film “The George Raft Story.” But giving the famed mobster a broken-English, sort of bad Italian accent in the TV pilot didn’t sit well with the Italian American community. Check out Brand’s performance in the clip here.
Jason Robards – “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” (1967) • Director Roger Corman was criticized for casting the slender Jason Robards as the stout Capone but the future “All the President’s Men” Oscar winner nailed the bad guy’s intimidating and volatile demeanor. Robards, wasn’t Corman’s first choice to fill the role, however… Orson Welles was. Check out Robards’ performance by clicking here.
Ben Gazzara – “Capone” (1975) • The second of three films Roger Corman produced about Capone, this one spattered heavily with blood, nudity and profanity, and one of many gangster projects produced after the wild success of “The Godfather: Part II.” Check out Gazzara’s performance by clicking here.
Robert De Niro – “The Untouchables” (1987) • Of all the actors who have portrayed Capone, Robert De Niro’s performance is probably the one best remembered by most. Ironically, he wasn’t the first actor cast in the Brian DePalma film. That honor went to British actor (and Capone lookalike) Bob Hoskins, who had already been paid $200,000 when the studio decided to go with De Niro. The Oscar-winner not only gained 30 pounds for the role, but he also wore the same style of silk underwear that Capone wore to, well, feel the part. Check out De Niro’s performance by clicking here.
Ray Sharkey – “The Revenge of Al Capone” tv movie (1989) • Also known as “Capone Behind Bars,” this film tells the story of an imprisoned Capone still running his empire and plotting the assassination of the mayor of New Work. Check out Sharkey’s performance by clicking here.
Eric Roberts – “The Lost Capone” tv movie (1990) • Eric Roberts played Al Capone to Adrian Pasdar’s Jimmy Capone in this fictionalized telling of Scarface’s relationship with his older brother, who changed his last name to “Hart” and became a federal prohibition agent. Check out Roberts’ performance by clicking here.
Titus Welliver – “Mobsters” (1991) • A year after playing Al’s brother Ralph in “The Lost Capone,” Titus Welliver nabbed the role of Scarface himself in “Mobsters,” which tells the story of the rise of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello and Bugsy Siegel. Los Angeles Times film critic Peter Rainer wrote, “Mobsters looks like it was made by people who have seen too many gangster films for people who haven’t seen any.” Check out Welliver’s performance by clicking here.
William Forsythe – “The Untouchables” tv series (1993-94) • In 1993, William Forsythe took on the role of Capone in a reboot of the popular TV series of the early ’60s, “The Untouchables.” Check out his performance by clicking here.
William Devane – “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” tv series (1994) • Thanks to a little DNA manipulation by a mad scientist, Capone is regenerated and set on taking over Metropolis like he took over 1930’s Chicago. Check out Devane’s performance by clicking here.
F. Murray Abraham – “Dillinger and Capone” (1995) • In Roger Corman’s third go at telling a story about the notorious mobster, “Amadeus” Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham played Capone to Martin Sheen’s John Dillinger in this imagined tale of the two gangsters teaming up to rob a bank. Abraham again played Capone in the film “Baby Face Nelson” the following year. Check out Abraham as Capone by clicking here.
Jon Bernthal – “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” (2009) • In this sequel to the 2006 comedy starring Ben Stiller, Jon Bernthal’s Capone — along with other baddies Ivan the Terrible and Napoleon Bonaparte — is enlisted to help retrieve the tablet that brought the human and animal exhibits in the museum to life. Check out Bernthal’s performance by clicking here.
Stephen Graham – “Boardwalk Empire” tv series (2010-2014) • Stephen Graham told The Guardian that he and the producers of the HBO series wanted to create a side of Capone that went unseen by most. “We wanted him to be funny because he was just a kid. He was a bright little spark, he did OK at school,” Graham said. “We’ve never really seen him with his family before. He was also true to his wife in the days when they had mistresses left, right and centre.” Check out Graham’s performance by clicking here.
Michael Kotsohilis – “The Making of the Mob: Chicago” miniseries (2016) • This AMC docu-series was the origin story that told the rise and fall of the Chicago mob and Al Capone. Of his role, Michael Kotsohilis told WGN Radio, “I wanted to really show how he evolved and his real change from a young man into this cold-blooded killer.” Check out his performance by clicking here.
Isaac Keoughan – “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” tv series (2016) • DC legends, Thawne, Darhk and Malcolm transport to 1927 Chicago, where they prevent Capone from killing famed Prohibition agent, Eliot Ness. Check out Isaac Keoughan’s performance by clicking here.
Cameron Gharaee – “Timeless” tv series (2017) • Flynn lands in 1931 Chicago to help Capone escape from prison in exchange for a favor. Check out Gharaee’s performance by clicking here.
Tom Hardy – “Capone” (2020) • The “Venom” actor becomes totally unrecognizable playing Capone in the last year of his life, suffering from dementia at his Palm Island, Florida mansion. As TheWrap’s own Steve Pond put it in his review of the film, “You haven’t seen Al Capone until you’ve seen him chomping on a carrot and wielding a machine gun while wearing a droopy diaper.” Check out Hardy’s performance by clicking here.
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