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The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Drama  |  23 May 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 16,649 users  
Reviews: 123 user | 61 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 7 wins & 9 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
See  »

Did You Know?


The poster showing Marilyn Monroe in a purple dress was created much later, after she became a household name. Monroe was basically unknown when the film was made in 1950, and only has a very small role. She certainly wouldn't have been given top billing at the time. In fact, she wasn't named on the original posters at all. 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 »


Frank Schurz, taxi driver: For $50, I'd drive you to the North Pole.
See more »


Referenced in Boldog születésnapot, Marilyn! (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

John Huston defines the caper.
23 September 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

John Huston, one of the great film makers of all times, was at the top of his craft when he undertook the direction of "The Asphalt Jungle". The book by W.R. Barnett was brilliantly adapted by Mr. Huston and Ben Maddox and the result stunned everyone. In fact, the film has been so influential one sees parts of it in other movies of the genre. The magnificent cinematography created by Harold Rosson speaks by itself. The music score by Miklos Rozsa stays in the background and never interferes with the action.

This is a film that looks as good today, as when it first was released. In fact, one discovers more nuances as one watches it again, when it's shown on cable. The cast of the film is one of its best assets going for "The Asphalt Jungle". Mr. Huston assembled some of the best talent working in the American cinema of that time.

Sterling Hayden, as Dix, gives a tremendous performance. The excellent Louis Calhern, though, steals the picture with his take on Lon Emmerich, the man who finds he is broke and wants to be at the center of the caper, without risking anything. Marilyn Monroe has only two scenes in the movie, but she shines in them. Also Jean Hagen, an actress that should have gone far, but didn't, makes a valuable contribution with her Doll Conovan.

The supporting cast is amazing. James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, Anthony Caruso, Brad Dexter, and the rest, play well together to give the film a seamless look.

"The Asphalt Jungle" shows why John Huston was one of the most influential men in pictures. His films are a must see for all movie lovers and studied by his successors and people working today owe a lot to this master, who pioneered a style that stands as his legacy.

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