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Classe Tous Risques (1960)

Classe tous risques (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 1 April 1960 (Italy)
Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and ... See full summary »



(novel), (adaptation) | 3 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Gibelin
Michel Ardan ...
Simone France ...
Thérèse Davos
Michèle Méritz ...
Sophie Fargier
Evelyne Ker ...
La fille de Gibelin
Betty Schneider ...
La petite bonne
France Asselin ...
Le patron de l'agence privée (as J.P. Zola)
Sylvain Levignac ...
Le détective de l'agence privée
Jeanne Pérez ...
Jacqueline Chapuis
René Génin ...


Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and Raymond commit a brazen robbery to get funds, killing two men; in the escape, more die. Abel arrives in Nice with the boys, calls his pals in Paris, and gets the brush-off. Reluctantly, they send a stranger, Eric Stark, to bring Abel to Paris, but he's getting the message he's on his own. Honor, friendship, and debt now count for little. What can Abel, a wanted man with two small children and only Stark as a friend, do? "Never give ground," he tells Eric, but how long can he hold to his code? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

1 April 1960 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Classe Tous Risques  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,945 (USA) (18 November 2005)


$94,552 (USA) (21 July 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric-Optiphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jean Belmondo's erste Filmrolle. See more »


Referenced in Nel cuore della notte (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

CLASSE TOUS RISQUES (1960) - Italian TV Screening Review
17 June 2004 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I have just watched on Italian TV the excellent crime drama CLASSE TOUS RISQUES (1960; aka: THE BIG RISK), directed by Claude Sautet and starring the late Lino Ventura (in one of his best roles) and a very young Jean-Paul Belmondo.

This film came out at the tail end of a string of French gangster thrillers of the 50s, the most famous of which was, of course, Jules Dassin's seminal DU RIFIFI CHEZ LES HOMMES (1954; aka: RIFIFI). I haven't watched RIFIFI in a long time but I plan to acquire the Criterion DVD some time or other. In fact, I have only postponed it, really, because of the reported audio-synch problem present on the disc's first pressings and, being a non-U.S. resident, Criterion's policy dictates that no defective discs delivered outside Region 1 territories can be replaced! Still, in light of THE BIG RISK, I may risk it [sic] all the same!

When the film came out it converged with a spate of Nouvelle Vague releases including Jean-Luc Godard's A' BOUT DE SOUFFLE (1960; aka: BREATHLESS) starring, of course, Jean-Paul Belmondo himself. It is easy to assume that his characterization in THE BIG RISK is nowhere near as iconic as his Laszlo Kovacs in Godard's film, but after all his is a supporting role (albeit pulled off with confidence and charm) and he is all too obviously overshadowed by the underrated Ventura, who dominates the film from beginning to end. Ventura was a regular in gangster films of the period: he was in Jacques Becker's masterful TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI (1953; aka: HANDS OFF THE LOOT!) playing the main villainous role and in which he conducts an effective vis-à-vis with nominal star Jean Gabin, but he then took the lead for Jean-Pierre Melville's magnificent thriller set in WWII, L'ARMEE' DES OMBRES (1969; aka: ARMY OF SHADOWS).

Incidentally, next week Criterion will release Melville's BOB LE FLAMBEUR (1955) and I hope they can put their hands on other films by this French master, notably LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES (1950), from the play by Jean Cocteau; LE DEUXIEME SOUFFLE (1966; aka: SECOND BREATH), also starring Lino Ventura; LE SAMOURAI (1967), his undisputed chef d'oeuvre; the aforementioned L'ARMEE' DES OMBRES and LE CERCLE ROUGE (1970; aka: THE RED CIRCLE). It is worth noting that the last two may very well be future Criterion DVDs. For the record, I have recorded ENFANTS, SAMOURAI, ARMEE' and CERCLE (which I have yet to watch) off French TV, along with the atypical LEON MORIN, PRETRE (1961) and the little-seen LE DOULOS (1962; aka: THE FINGER MAN), both of which star Jean-Paul Belmondo.

To go back to THE BIG RISK, it was dismissed at the time as old-fashioned in light of the Nouvelle Vague, though the few stylistic touches it has are effective exactly because they are sparse and unexpected. After an explosive start, the film relaxes its grip for the first half in order to establish plot (somewhat unusual in its emphasis on the domestic problems of gangsters) and characterization (particularly in eliciting audience sympathy for the lone anti-hero). The plot does have its improbable turns: for example, Belmondo's and Sandra Milo's characters are a bit too good to be true, aiding Ventura without batting an eyelid (despite the obvious danger involved) just minutes after making his acquaintance, while the ending is a bit of a letdown (the film is abruptly interrupted and the plot resolved with a hurried voice-over explanation)...but Ventura's solid performance as a man betrayed, quietly desperate at first but driven eventually to sudden eruptions of violence, holds the film firmly together and makes THE BIG RISK a classic of its kind.

Other films by Claude Sautet I have watched are LES CHOSES DE LA VIE (1969), MAX ET LES FERRAILLEURS (1971; aka: MAX AND THE SCRAP-MONGERS), CESAR ET ROSALIE (1972), all on Italian TV, and VINCENT, FRANCOIS, PAUL ET LES AUTRES (1974), which I have recorded off French TV. All of these are low-key yet very interesting and thought-provoking films, aided a great deal by a superb selection of actors (Michel Piccoli in CHOSES, MAX and VINCENT; Romy Schneider in the first three titles; and Yves Montand in the last two). VINCENT, FRANCOIS, PAUL ET LES AUTRES is perhaps Sautet's best film: it co-stars Serge Reggiani, Gerard Depardieu (one of his first), Marie Dubois and Stephane Audran (an extended cameo, really, but effective nonetheless).

As I have said, I wish that some of the films I mentioned by Claude Sautet and Jean-Pierre Melville, including of course THE BIG RISK, will one day be released on DVD. Supplements for such films may be hard to come by, I guess, but a quality print in the Original Aspect Ratio with a transfer to match are the least we could expect for them. I know that some of the above-mentioned films are already available on French Region 2 DVD but unfortunately most of them do not carry English subtitles. Although I do have quite a basic knowledge of the French language, I am still not fluent enough to get by without any subtitles. However, I would very much like to read your opinions of French Region 2 DVDs and will affect a search through the Mobius archives for that purpose, though I may still have to post my queries about particular French DVDs which I am interested in purchasing in a new thread in this Forum in the near future.

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