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The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Passed  -  Crime | Film-Noir | Drama  -  23 May 1950 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 15,452 users  
Reviews: 118 user | 58 critic

A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Police Commissioner Hardy
...
Cobby
Barry Kelley ...
Lt. Ditrich
...
Louis Ciavelli
Teresa Celli ...
Maria Ciavelli
...
Angela Phinlay
William 'Wee Willie' Davis ...
Timmons (as William Davis)
Dorothy Tree ...
May Emmerich
...
Bob Brannom
John Maxwell ...
Dr. Swanson
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Storyline

When the intelligent criminal Erwin "Doc" Riedenschneider is released from prison, he seeks a fifty thousand-dollar investment from the bookmaker Cobby to recruit a small gang of specialists for a million-dollar heist of jewels from a jewelry. Doc is introduced to the lawyer Alonzo D. Emmerich that offers to finance the whole operation and buy the gems immediately after the burglary. Doc hires the safecracker Louis Ciavelli, the driver Gus Minissi and the gunman Dix Handley to the heist. His plan works perfectly but bad luck and betrayals compromise the steps after the heist and the gangsters need to flee from the police. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The City Under the City

Genres:

Crime | Film-Noir | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 May 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Asphalt Jungle (The City Under the City)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Huston originally intended the role of Angela Phinlay for Lola Albright. See more »

Goofs

When the police enter Gus's diner, he turns the volume of the music up, but oddly he does it by turning the dial anticlockwise, which would normally turn volume down. When they go, Gus turns the volume down, again turning the dial anticlockwise. See more »

Quotes

Doc Riedenschneider: That copper, he recognized me.
Cobby: How'd you know he was a copper?
Doc Riedenschneider: I can smell one a block off.
Cobby: Oh, don't worry about Ditrich. He's on my payroll. Practically a partner. Me and him, we're like that.
[Cobby holds up his index and middle finger]
Doc Riedenschneider: Experience has taught me never to trust a policeman. Just when you think one's all right, he turns legit.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One Of The All-Time Best Noirs
23 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am a fan of film noir, owning many of them, and this one is right about at the top of the list and climbing each time I view it. It might even have passed Double Indemnity for the number one spot. It's that good.

For anyone who has not seen it: the poster art and the video/DVD cover are both misleading. They usually feature Marilyn Monroe in publicizing this movie, but she only has a small role. Many times they feature Monroe, Jean Hagen and Sterling Hayden all together....and those three are never on screen at the same time. My point being: what you see on the outside is not what's on the inside.

Hayden is the star of the film but Sam Jaffe and Louis Calhern are not far behind. In fact, the more I watch this film, the more I see the latter two as the real stars here, and I especially have begun to appreciate the great acting by Calhern in here.

Actually, everyone performs at a very high level. The diverse and interesting characters are really fun to watch, one of the big reasons I rate this film so high. Hayden, with his big body and tough demeanor, was perfect for film noir. He is a legitimate tough guy, nobody to fool with. Jaffe was fascinating as the little German "doctor" but until I got the DVD and put on the English subtitles, I never understood all his dialog, which is terrific, and "Doc" is my favorite character in this film. Kudos also go to James Whitmore and Marc Lawrence for great supporting role performances.

The two women, Hagen and Monroe, also do their bits nicely. I never understood people who criticized Monroe's acting. I thought she was pretty good right from the start, with this film as an example. I also liked seeing her thin and in shape.

This movie is a gritty, tough, no-nonsense crime story concerning a jewel robbery where things go wrong and eventually does everybody in. Actually, it isn't just a botched robbery that ruins some of them - it's character weakness, from greed to sexual lust.

"You reap what you sow" could be a moral of this story.


88 of 110 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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