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Thieves' Highway (1949)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller  |  10 October 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,366 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 30 critic

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Complete credited cast:
Rica (as Valentina Cortesa)
Barbara Lawrence ...
Jack Oakie ...
Ed Kinney
Joseph Pevney ...
Morris Carnovsky ...
Yanko Garcos
Tamara Shayne ...
Parthena Garcos
Kasia Orzazewski ...
Mrs. Polansky, the Apple Farmer's Wife
Norbert Schiller ...
Mr. Polansky, the Apple Farmer
Hope Emerson ...


The soldier Nick Garcos returns back home from the war very happy with gifts for his parents Yanko and Parthena Garcos and money in his pocket to open a business and get married with his girlfriend Polly Faber. Out of blue, Nick realizes that his father lost both legs and Yanko, who was a truck driver, tells that he was cheated by the dealer Mike Figlia in the San Francisco's market when he delivered a truckload of tomatoes and was not paid. He believes that his accident was provoked by Figlia's gangsters. He also tells that he sold the truck to a driver named Ed Kinney that has not paid him. Nick meets Ed and tells that he will bring the truck back, but Ed proposes a deal with apples, where they may earn a great amount. Nick invests his savings in another truck and buys apples from a Polish farmer. They need to drive directly to the market in San Francisco without sleeping to keep the fruits fresh, but Ed's truck has problem on its axle and Nick arrives first. Mike Figlia hires the ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You Need a Friend, Strong Man, - And I'm Friendly! See more »


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Release Date:

10 October 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Collision  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film started production, in the San Francisco produce market, through the cooperation of the Wholesale Fruit and Produce Dealers Association but when the studio decided to use the title Thieves' Market for the film, the Dealers Association strongly protested. See more »


When Rica tells Nick he looks tired, he responds "You'd be tired too if you drove four hundred miles without sleep." The distance from Fresno to San Francisco is less than 200 miles. See more »


Mike Figlia: Let's say you just rolled into town with a truckload of apples, you know. Now what do you think would have been a fair price?
Nico 'Nick' Garcos: Six and a half bucks a box.
Mike Figlia: Now six and a half is what I got. I'm talking about your end.
Nico 'Nick' Garcos: Your end of nothing is nothing.
See more »


Referenced in Remember the Titans (2000) See more »


If I Could Be with You
Music by James P. Johnson
Played when Rica tends to Nick's wound
See more »

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User Reviews

A huge David Lynch influence
6 December 2006 | by (Los Angeles, United States) – See all my reviews

This film was a huge influence on David Lynch when he was studying film at AFI and you'll find references to it in every film he's made since then -- The grinding gears in Eraserhead, the downtown soundscapes of that film, Dune & The Elephant Man, orchard visuals in The Straight Story, and most directly Isabella Rossellini reprising Valentina Cortese in Blue Velvet.

I'd go so far as to say Blue Velvet is a scene-for-scene crib of Thieves Highway in theme and all its major details, with Dennis Hopper as Lee J. Cobb. Conte's legless father is mirrored in Jeffrey's stroke-ridden father. Both come back from independent lives of young adulthood to help their struggling families in a stultifying world of greed. Both have the corn-fed woman they love and the Italian demoiselle they sleep with. Both find their lives endangered by a corrupt crime boss. There, is that ten lines?

11 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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