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The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 June 1950 (USA)
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 & 10 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Lt. Ditrich
Maria Ciavelli
Timmons (as William Davis)
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


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1 June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Asphalt Jungle (The City Under the City)  »


Box Office


$1,232,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,077,000, 31 December 1950

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,137,000, 31 December 1950
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the production, Walter Huston came to Hollywood for his son John Huston's 44th birthday party. Two days later, with John at his side, the legendary actor of stage and screen died of heart failure at age 66. See more »


Dix Handley is supposed to be a native of Boone County, KY but bears no trace of a Southern accent whatsoever. See more »


May Emmerich: Oh, Lon, when I think of all those awful people you come in contact with - downright criminals - I get scared.
Alonzo D. Emmerich: Oh, there's nothing so different about them. After all, crime is only... a left-handed form of human endeavor.
See more »


Version of Cool Breeze (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

Crime drama about a robbery , being perfectly narrated and compellingly performed
31 August 2012 | by See all my reviews

A major heist goes off as planned , an ex-convict (Sam Jaffe) gathering a gang (Sterling Hayden , Marc Lawrence , James Withmore , Anthony Caruso ..) to pull it off until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

This is a realistic study heist ; dealing with the plotting and the gathering of a misfit band that sours , building suspense , intrigue , emotion in Crescendo for any unexpected surprises that might pop up . Plenty of excellent characterization and tautly made , resulting one of the greatest crime movies of all time . The picture is well paced with an electric current that never let up . The movie has the thematic unity of 'Key Largo' , ' We were strangers' , ' Maltese Falcon' or ' The treasure of Sierra Madre' the John Huston's best . This thrilling story is stunningly scripted by Ben Maddow and the same John Huston from a W.R. Burnett novel ; letting the audience in early on what the outcome will be and increasing in power as they scheme the path closer to their destination . Both Director John Huston and ex-communist 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 . The main credit for this masterpiece must be shared among Sterling Hayden as a tough criminal , Louis Calhern as a mean lawyer and especially Sam Jaffe as an old ex-con . Furthermore , top-notch support cast , Jean Hagen as Doll Conovan , James Whitmore as Gus Minissi , John McIntire as Police Commissioner Hardy , Marc Lawrence as Cobby , Barry Kelley as Lt. Ditrich , Anthony Caruso as Ciavelli and debut of Strother Martin and Jack Warden. And of course a splendid bit by Marilyn Monroe as Angela , John Huston originally intended the role of Angela Phinlay for Lola Albright . The musical scoring by Miklós Rózsa is magnificent , being perfectly attuned but extremely scant, occurring only for the main titles, continuing through the opening sequence up to the point where Handley enters the café, and then returns some 107 minutes later when Handley and Doll return to his boyhood farm , total scoring just under 6 minutes

Rating : Above average , this is one of John Huston's best films , a model of his kind , definitely a must see if you are aficionado to Noir Film . Huston broke a new ground with this landmark movie , providing classic scenes and unforgettable dialogs . Also shown in horrible computer-colorized adaptation . Frequentely imitated and remade no less than five times in different styles such as Western in ¨Badlands¨¨ by Delmer Daves with Alan Ladd , Katy Jurado and Ernest Borgnine , set in Egypt titled ¨Cairo¨ by Wolf Rilla with George Sanders , Richard Johnson , Eric Pohlmann and Blaxploitation ¨Cool Breeze¨ by Barry Pollack with Thalmus Rasulala , Judy Pace , Lincoln Kilpatrick , Margaret Avery and Pam Grier .

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