Thieves' Highway (1949)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller  |  10 October 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,427 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 35 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.



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Complete credited cast:
Rica (as Valentina Cortesa)
Barbara Lawrence ...
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 »


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

10 October 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Collision  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to director Jules Dassin, Jack Oakie was completely deaf by the time of this film. "He caused absolutely no delays," Dassin said. See more »


Figlia's Henchman axes Nick's tire dead flat, but at the climax, Nick drives off in his truck and the tire isn't flat anymore.No mention is made of it being fixed. See more »


Mike Figlia: Everything happens to me. The whole street, he's gotta break down in front of my place.
Charles, dock henchman: Tough luck.
Mike Figlia: I'm the original tough luck kid.
See more »


Referenced in L.A. Noire (2011) See more »


Snuggled on Your Shoulder
Music by Carmen Lombardo
Played when Rica is telling the man's fortune toward the end
See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful, Haunting, Heartfelt Noir
15 April 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've seen hundreds of noirs and this small character study is one of the very best. If Dassin's simple but heartfelt story of betrayal and redemption doesn't tug at you hard, you must be made of stone. The acting triumvirate of Conte, Cortez and Cobb has never been better. I get angry just thinking about Cobb's brilliantly callous performance as the deceptive chiseler who destroys lives to make an extra buck. Cortez is subtle sexuality incarnate but she displays real range and sensitivity as the one who first destroys Conte's life then ultimately redeems it. The always reliable Conte is absolutely at his best as the desperately driven truck driver who sets out to right a terrible wrong but soon learns that you can't beat the system. The last shot of the fruit rolling down the hill has to be one of the most evocative and heartbreaking in all of noir.

Tiny budgeted movies sometimes suffer in translating reality, but much of HIGHWAY appears to have been shot on location, particularly in the produce warehouses, shoddy back alleys and winding country roads, which adds a ton of authenticity. The story takes about 15 minutes go get going, but from there it delivers amazing power and emotion. For decades it was one of those buried low budget classics almost impossible to find, but thankfully a couple years ago it finally got the DVD release it deserved. Trust me on this one, noir fans... Thieves' Highway is a haunting trip down a rocky road you want to take.

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