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The Split (1968)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  4 November 1968 (USA)
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Reviews: 11 user | 11 critic

Thieves fall out when over a half million dollars goes missing after the daring and carefully planned robbery of the Los Angeles Coliseum during a football game, each one accusing the other of having the money.



(novel) (as Richard Stark) , (screenplay)
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Complete credited cast:
Ellen 'Ellie' Kennedy
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Harry Kifka
Marty Gough
Herb Sutro
Dave Negli
Harry Hickox ...
Jackie Joseph ...
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A man McClain is tasked with planning the robbery of a sports coliseum after a big game. He recruits four men. They pull the job without a hitch. When they ponder on where to keep the money McClain suggests they leave it with Ellie, his girlfriend. When she is killed and the money is gone. Everyone wonders what happened. And they assume that McClain knows where the money is but he doesn't. They rough him up but McClain escapes and tries to find out what happened. He thinks the cop investigating the robbery and Ellie's death knows more than he is letting on. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"Crime is our business." See more »


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 November 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El atraco del estadio  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Three cast members, Jim Brown, Ernest Borgnine, and Donald Sutherland, had all appeared the previous year in "The Dirty Dozen." See more »


Dave Negli: Listen, Marty, the last man I killed I did it for $5000. For $85,000 I'd kill you 17 times.
See more »


Featured in Jim Brown: All American (2002) See more »


It's Just A Game, Love
Music by Quincy Jones
Lyrics by Ernie Shelby
Sung by Clydie King and Billy Preston
See more »

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User Reviews

Big Heist And Big Complications
12 February 2015 | by (San Gabriel, Ca., USA) – See all my reviews

The books of crime novelist Donald Westlake (usually writing as "Richard Stark") have made for some fairly interesting movies for almost half a century now. The first real one was in 1967, when his novel "The Hunter" was the basis for the John Boorman-directed cult classic POINT BLANK (with Lee Marvin); and there have been others: THE HOT ROCK (with George Segal and Robert Redford, from 1972); THE OUTFIT (with Robert Duvall and Robert Ryan, released in 1974); and BANK SHOT (with George C. Scott, also released in 1974).

And then there's 1968's THE SPLIT.

Based on Westlake's book "The Seventh", the film is a classically themed Hollywood heist film, involving a group of thieves robbing the cash office at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during a playoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Atlanta Falcons. Former NFL legend Jim Brown, who turned to acting after retiring from the Cleveland Browns in 1965 and became a star in Robert Aldrich's 1967 classic THE DIRTY DOZEN, is the leader of this group that includes his fellow DIRTY DOZEN cast members Donald Sutherland and Ernest Borgnine; Jack Klugman (one of the jurors in the 1957 classic TWELVE ANGRY MEN); and veteran character actor Warren Oates. The heist goes off with almost laser-like perfection, but it's what happens thereafter--the complications; the screw-ups; and the betrayals--that are the real payoff. Gene Hackman, who had at the time recently leaped to acting prominence as a result of his role in BONNIE AND CLYDE, portrays a seedy Los Angeles cop (perhaps presaging his Oscar-winning turn in THE FRENCH CONNECTION); and Diahann Carroll and Julie Harris are the women involved. James Whitmore plays a superbly seedy landlord at Carroll's apartment.

By 21st century standards, this must seem terribly old-fashioned: there are no hyper-violent, over-the-top stunts, no CGI bloodshed, or any of that extraneous junk. And this is clearly a film of the late 1960s, in terms of costumes, hairstyles, and all of that—this and, of course, the fact that the Rams were L.A.'s pro-football team too. And yet, even though it doesn't necessarily stand out among the many great crime heist films, from Stanley Kubrick's THE KILLING to Sam Peckinpah's THE GETAWAY, or even the 1988 blockbuster DIE HARD, there's still something hugely fascinating about THE SPLIT, in terms of the way suspense is built up. Perhaps part of the reason it isn't as well-known as it should be is that the director, British-born Gordon Flemyng, was not a known entity, save for a couple of episodes of the TV series "The Avengers", and the 1965's DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS. All the same, though, the cast still does well under Flemyng's direction, with very good cinematography by Burnett Guffey (who won an Oscar for BONNIE AND CLYDE), and a taut, early action film music score by Quincy Jones, who had done major work on THE PAWNBROKER, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, and IN COLD BLOOD. This was also the first film to be released following the establishment of the movie ratings system by the MPAA where the for-adults 'R' rating was placed, even though it is closer to a 'PG-13' rating by today's ultra-violent standards.

Imperfect and dated as it is at times, I'd still give THE SPLIT a '7' rating, simply because of the surface pleasures of the piece.

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