Dick Tracy


Release Date: 1990
Director: Warren Beatty
Running Time: 105 minutes
Cast: Glenne Headly, Charlie Korsmo, Al Pacino, Warren Beatty, Madonna
Comic Artist: Chester Gould
First Appearance: Chicago Tribune (4 October 1931)


The inspiration for Dick Tracy was the turbulent times of the 1930s, prohibition, corruption and gang wars. Gould thought that a comic featuring the anti-thesis of what was happening in real life might be good for selling newspapers. As it happened, he was right.


Warren Beatty directed and starred in this big-budget action comedy featuring Chester Gould's square-jawed, two-dimensional comic strip detective. Ruthless gangster Big Boy Caprice (Al Pacino) touches off a gang war against underworld boss Lips Manlis (Paul Sorvino), with Big Boy and his minions rubbing out enough of Manlis's goons (along with Manlis himself) to take over his nightclub, and a healthy percentage of the city's criminal activities in the process. Caprice also gains proprietary rights to Manlis's girlfriend, nightclub chanteuse Breathless Mahoney (Madonna). Big Boy's next move to is unite the rest of the city's crooks under his command; this wave of corruption attracts the attention of lawman Dick Tracy, who is determined to smash Caprice's criminal network once and for all. As Tracy plots to put Big Boy behind bars where he belongs, Breathless uses her considerable charms in an attempt to sway Tracy from the path of righteousness; this causes no small amount of anxiety for Tracy's long-suffering female companion, Tess Trueheart (Glenne Headly), and the street-smart kid (Charlie Korsmo) they've been keeping an eye on. The various bad guys, heavily made up to resemble Gould's cartoon characters (though Beatty is not made up to resemble Tracy), include Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, R.G. Armstrong, and William Forsythe.

© Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Prequels, Sequels and Follow-ons:

Dick Tracy [15 episode Serial 1937]

Dick Tracy's G-Men [Serial 1939] Directed by: Jon English, William Witney. Starring: Ralph Byrd, Phyllis Isley, Walter Miller, Ted Pearson, Irving Pichel

Dick Tracy vs. Crime Inc. [Serial 1941] Directed by: Jon English, William Witney Starring: Ralph Byrd

Dick Tracy, Detective (aka Dick Tracy - Serial 1945) Directed by: William A. Berke. Starring: Morgan Conway, Jane Greer, Anne Jeffreys, Mickey Kuhn, Lyle Latell, Mike Mazurki

Dick Tracy [Serial 1945] Directed by: Alan James, Ray Taylor. Starring: Ralph Byrd, Richard Beach.

Dick Tracy Returns [Serial 1946] - Directed by: Jon English, William Witney. Starring: Ralph Byrd, Charles B. Middleton, Lynne Roberts, David Sharpe, Jerry Tucker

Dick Tracy vs. Cueball [Serial 1946] Directed by: Gordon M. Douglas. Starring: Morgan Conway, Rita Corday, Anne Jeffreys, Ian Keith, Lyle Latell, Dick Wessel

Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (aka Dick Tracy Meets Karloff; Dick Tracy's Amazing Adventure - Serial 1947) Directed by: John Rawlins. Starring: Ralph Byrd, June Clayworth, Anne Gwynne, Anne Gwynne, Boris Karloff, Skelton Knaggs, Lyle Latell

Dick Tracy's Dilemma (aka Mark of the Claw - Serial 1947) Directed by: John Rawlins. Starring: Ralph Byrd, Kay Christopher, Ian Keith, Jack Lambert, Lyle Latell

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