The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Drama  |  23 May 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 16,862 users  
Reviews: 123 user | 63 critic

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



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Police Commissioner Hardy
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


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


The City Under the City


Crime | Film-Noir | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both director John Huston and star Sterling Hayden were members of the Committee for the First Amendment, which stood against the blacklisting of alleged Communists working in the film industry during the Red Scare. Huston had never been a Communist, although Hayden at one point had been. See more »


When Dix and Doll arrive at the Hickory Wood Farm in their car, you can see the reflection of some of the crew members on the passenger side door. See more »


Dix Handley: Why don't you quit cryin' and get me some bourbon?
See more »


Referenced in Reservoir Dogs (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

One of a kind !!
8 December 2004 | by (Connecticut) – See all my reviews

I guess the great John Huston knew what he was doing when making this film. Get the right cast and so he did.! The timeless touches in this film make it so watchable so often that we forget that a studio like MGM rarley made a gutty film like this.

Every character in the " Asphalt Jungle" has his/her moments! When Angela Phinley says to Emerich( Calhern) what will happen and Emerich responds the appropriate " you'll have lots of vacation".

Marc Lawrence as cobby has never been better since his part as Ziggy in "Key Largo" Jean Hagen shows some real ability and we wonder why she was used in future films to a lessor effect.Hayden, as Dix Hanley has a warped credo for a man on the edge.Sam Jaffe steals the show as enough in most items save for your girls dancing in bars.

Even the supporting cast shines under Huston, Mcintre and the police chief , Brad Dexter as the crooked investigator, Barry Kelly as the corrupt cop with James Whitmore playing a man whose body is warped but whose soul is still intact.

Thanks goodness there is no music( film score) during the jewel heist. This fact alone lets us know this is a real film..unlike the ones being released today.

Mikos Rosza's score is emotional for sure..and the final in a Kentucky field is very poetic a la Huston


C Pope

76 of 86 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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