The FBI Story

Watch The FBI Story

"You are crouched in a basement stairway opposite a theatre in Chicago. Keep your eyes on that FBI man across the street. He has set the trap for deadly public enemy, John Dillinger..."
  • Approved
  • 1959
  • 2 hr 29 min
  • 6.5  (3,872)

The FBI Story is a gripping and authentic portrayal of the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, based on real-life events and characters. The film is directed by Mervyn LeRoy, and stars James Stewart, Vera Miles, and Murray Hamilton in lead roles. Released in 1959, the movie is a tribute to the unsung heroes of the FBI who worked tirelessly to protect the country from internal security threats.

The film was based on an autobiography by former FBI agent Don Whitehead, which was adapted for the screen by Richard L. Breen. The story is narrated by Stewart, who plays agent Chip Hardesty, and covers the history of the FBI from its inception in 1908 until the mid-1950s. The movie is divided into different segments, each dealing with a specific period or event in the bureau's history.

The first segment of the film portrays the early years of the FBI, under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover. This period is marked by the formation of a dedicated team of agents who worked tirelessly to gather intelligence on organized crime and other security threats. The movie provides a glimpse into the harsh realities of life for FBI agents at the time, who often worked long hours and faced great danger.

The second segment focuses on the notorious gangster era of the 1930s, when the FBI's efforts to apprehend notorious criminals such as John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson were at their peak. The film shows how the FBI used technology and intelligence gathering to bring down these notorious criminals, and highlights the bravery and dedication of individual FBI agents.

The third segment of the film deals with the FBI's role in World War II. The agency was instrumental in gathering intelligence and foiling enemy plots during the war, and this section of the film highlights the agency's importance in maintaining national security during a time of great peril.

The final segment deals with the FBI's response to the growing threat of communism in the post-war era. This period saw the FBI undertake some controversial initiatives, such as the creation of the "blacklist" of suspected communists and the use of wiretapping and other surveillance techniques. The film provides a balanced portrayal of these events, showing both the positive impact that the FBI had in thwarting communist plots, as well as the challenges and controversies that arose.

Throughout the film, we see the contributions of individual FBI agents and officials, such as the highly decorated Melvin Purvis, who led the manhunt against John Dillinger, and Clyde Tolson, J. Edgar Hoover's longtime associate and confidante. The film also shows the human side of the FBI, as we see the personal lives and struggles of the agents who dedicated themselves to the agency's mission.

The film is shot in a documentary-style format that lends authenticity to the story. The black-and-white cinematography adds to the atmosphere of the film, which has a no-nonsense, hard-boiled quality to it. James Stewart, in particular, delivers a powerful performance as Chip Hardesty, infusing the character with a sense of purpose and quiet heroism.

Overall, The FBI Story is an engaging and informative portrayal of a key institution in American history. It highlights the importance of law enforcement and national security, and pays tribute to the sacrifices and dedication of the men and women who work behind the scenes to keep the country safe. The film is a must-see for fans of crime dramas and historical documentaries, and is a fitting tribute to the real-life heroes of the FBI.

The FBI Story is a 1959 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 29 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.

Where to Watch The FBI Story
The FBI Story is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The FBI Story for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 29 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (3,872)