Chicago, 1963: Lieutenant Mike Torello (Dennis Farina) is a hair-triggered cop who can bend the law and pummel punks in the same breath. Ray Luca (Anthony Denison) is a ruthless young gangster on the rise in the vicious Ch... more »icago underworld. Together, these two desperate men will turn the streets of Chicago into their own personal battlefield of justice, revenge, and murder. David Caruso, Stephen Lang, Darlanne Fluegel, and Bill Campbell co-star in this stunning pilot feature from executive producer Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Heat) and director Abel Ferrara (King of New York, Fear City) that launched the cult classic television series.« less
"Two of my favourite shows of the Eighties were Crime Story (1986-1988)and Wiseguy (1987-1990). Both shows introduced the Arc format in which a compelling story was told over a number of episodes. Wiseguy kept it to around 10 (at most) but I remember reading an article in which the creators' of Crime Story envision each season as a 22 chapter novel.Back in the early 90's STARMAKER released the entire series on ten video tapes entitled Crime Story: The Complete Saga. This was fantastic at the time since I did not tape CS when it was on NBC. Some tapes were only 96 minutes (Pilot, Vol 5: Luca's Fall) but others lasted 144-288 minutes or higher (Part 2: The Mafia War, Part 9: Damaging Testimony). I believe these tapes may still be available on Amazon in the VHS section. Its fun to watch such notable actors as Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Julia Roberts, Laura San Giacoma, Gary Sinise (who also directed episodes of the show)and more early in their careers.Unfortunately, the video quality of these tapes were substandard as they were duplicated in something called Quality Extended Play which is really just SLP mode. And of course tracking became an issue depending on the quality of your VHS player.This has changed with the impending release of the Crime Story pilot on DVD. Although it appears to be a bare bones "movie-only" edition the video and audio can only be improved upon. Also, it appears Anchor Bay has taken care in creating new artwork for the DVD. Oddly enough, it looks like Anthony Denison is the good guy (Torello) instead of Luca. Perhaps this has occurred because of Farina's roles in such films as Midnight Run and Get Shorty?Hopefully, if the pilot sells well Anchor Bay may release the entire 2 seasons in a similar fashion to the recent X-Files DVD set. Hmm... maybe enough interest will be developed to provide a resolution to 1988's cliff hanger (I won't spoil here but its a corker!). Heck, even Wiseguy got a tv movie back in 1996 (with a regular Crime Story actor: Ted Levine as a villain)."
Television At It's Best
John P. Richardson | Colorado Springs, CO | 09/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As with the other folks above, I remember watching Crime Story each week during it's two years on the air. It made TV bearable for a little while; remember, this show came in the days of such "classics" as Who's the Boss and The A-Team. The last couple of episodes of season one blew me away; a story arc that lasted a season with all the loose ends being tied up in an finale that was definitely unconventional.I own the boxed VHS set from Starmaker. Although it is nice to have the entire run in one collection, the picture quality leaves something to be desired. Also, it is nearing the end of it's shelf life (the average for VHS is about 15 years) so a DVD set would be very welcome.Thanks to Anchor Bay for taking the time to put this gem back on the market and here's hoping they release the rest of the series."
Gritty Ellroy-esque crime show
Cubist | United States | 07/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Crime Story is a a lean, mean cop show drama that features politically incorrect police officers battling it out with nasty criminals.It's a testimony to Michael Mann's reputation at the time that Crime Story was even greenlighted. NBC would have never gone for the casting of Dennis Farina, with his pockmarked face and lack of acting experience, had Mann been a neophyte producer with no proven track record. The choice of cult film director Abel Ferrara (pre-Bad Lieutenant) must have also freaked out network execs. His previous films included a deranged psycho gruesomely killing people with a power tool and a rape survivor viciously killing the men who attacked her with a .45 pistol.And yet, the final product proves that Mann's instincts were right on the money. Farina delivers the hard-boiled dialogue with the perfect amount of intensity (at one point Farina says menacingly to one goon, "you hurt anybody else, when this is all over I'm gonna find what you love the most and I'm gonna kill it. Your mother, your father, your dog. Don't matter what it is -- it's dead."). You can see it in his eyes and the way he barks out orders that this a no-nonsense guy who isn't going to let anything get in the way of his job.Ferrara directs with the same proficient skill of crime auteur, Don Siegel. Crime Story depicts a harsh world where life is cheap and characters will do anything -- even if it means bending or breaking the law -- to achieve their goals.One of the most striking aspects about Crime Story is that it feels like it was ripped right from the pages of a James Ellroy novel. It is even more surprising that this show was done before Ellroy had written his famous L.A. Quartet of books that features L.A. Confidential, which Crime Story most closely resembles. The author claims that he hadn't seen the show until after he wrote these novels but he does admit to being a fan since then. This, of course, begs the question, when is someone going to reunite Farina and Ferrara to do a proper Ellroy adaptation?The DVD disappoints in the extras department. No audio commentaries from Ferrara or Mann (both of whom have done them before), or even the show's creator, Chuck Adamson. A retrospective featurette would have been nice but instead we are left with nothing.If you are willing to overlook the appalling lack of extras and are a fan of Michael Mann or James Ellroy's fiction then this is definitely worth checking out. Hopefully, the folks at Anchor Bay will redeem themselves with the first season of Crime Story that their website says is due out in July of this year with the second season coming out in December."
As Good As TV Gets
Anne M. Wunderli | Belmont, MA United States | 03/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It only took a couple of seconds to know that this was going to be great. By the opening credits, I was hooked by the characters, the action, and the style. (Speaking of the credits, it's too bad that the wonderful montage of stock footage from Chicago intercut with shots from the series was replaced with Torello and company "in formation.") It leaves Miami Vice in the dust. Allow me to add my voice to those above in urging whoever owns the rights to this gem to get both seasons on DVD as soon as possible. It's a keeper."
One of my all-time favorites
Anne M. Wunderli | 07/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Love that show. A great show that didn't have to rely on special effects, but relied solely on emotion. A&E Network is re-running all of "Crime Story" on Monday nights at 8 p.m. central time. I'm taping them, but if the series is released on DVD, I'm there."