Tom Hardy As Al Capone: How Did Capone Really Die and Did He Have Syphilis?

Tom Hardy is the latest actor to portray notorious Italian-American criminal Al Capone on screen for Capone.

However, unlike other movies that have depicted his crime sprees, Capone charts the gangster's final year before his death in stomach-churning detail.

The biographical crime drama from director Josh Trank was released on video-on-demand services Tuesday.

Al Capone
These photos of Al Capone were made by the Bureau of identification of the Chicago police department, immediately after his arrest in 1931. He received a six-month jail sentence in the Cook County jail when found guilty of contempt in Chicago federal court. He immediately filed motion to appeal. Getty

Movie buffs who have already watched Capone have been shocked by the depiction of an increasingly decrepit and vulnerable Capone who, at one point, soils himself. As Hardy's Capone continues to deteriorate from syphilis and dementia, he begins reliving painful memories from his past.

"It is a movie that has everything right there for you to see," Trank recently told IndieWire. "It's not pretty. It's an ugly, uncomfortable movie. If that makes you angry, then I guess it worked. That doesn't bother me. I'm not worried about a Rotten Tomatoes percentage or anything.

He added: "We're exploring the side of somebody's life that is really uncomfortable. This is not a wish fulfillment gangster movie."

But how realistic is Capone, and did the real Al Capone have syphilis?

Did Al Capone really have syphilis?

Al Capone likely caught syphilis as a teenager in Brooklyn, New York, according to The New York Times. Capone was not officially diagnosed with the infectious disease until years later and the disease is believed to have gone untreated.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it is possible to become infected with syphilis and not notice any symptoms for years. But, "in the late stage, the disease may damage your brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints."

The movie starts by announcing that Capone's "mental and physical health crumbles from neurosyphilis" while in prison in Alcatraz. Neurosyphilis is when syphilis infects the central nervous system and it can cause mental degeneration.

Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy as Al Capone in 'Capone'. Vertical Entertainment

How did Al Capone die?

Al Capone died January 25, 1947, at his home in Palm Island, Miami Beach, Florida.

Capone spent the remainder of his sentence in Alcatraz's hospital wing before his wife Mae's appeal for parole was granted in 1939.

After serving time in prison, Capone was released the same year and referred to a hospital in Baltimore for treatment of paresis, a neurological disorder caused by late-stage syphilis.

He retired to his Florida estate a recluse in 1940 and was one of the first people in history to receive the antibiotic penicillin, which slowed the progression of the disease but the damage was irreversible at this stage and Capone had the mental capabilities of a 12-year-old at the time of his death.

Capone eventually died from cardiac arrest in 1947 at the age of 48.

Capone is available on video-on-demand now.

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