Two thieves, a magician, a computer hacker, a wannabe actor and a explosives expert plan a robbery to fulfill the dream of Victor Braganza. Will they be successful or will destiny have something different for them?
Abbas Alibhai Burmawalla,
Mastan Alibhai Burmawalla
Charlie's got a 'Job' to do. Having just left prison, he finds one of his friends has attempted a high risk job in Italy right under the nose of the Mafia. Charlie's friend doesn't get very far so Charlie takes over the 'Job'. Using three Mini Coopers, a couple of Jaguars and a bus, he hopes to bring Torino to a standstill, steal the Gold and escape. Written by
Andy Topham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mamma Mia! This classic crime caper still looks good today - 83%
Now this is more like it! Having bought this movie (and getting the wretched 2003 remake free with it), I waited until last night before I refreshed my memory. And despite being more than thirty years older, it scoops up the remake in a snowplough and tosses it down the side of a mountain. This is the superior film and not just because of the whole "English" thing.
Michael Caine plays Charlie Croker, a lovable cheeky Cockney rogue who is given plans for the biggest gold heist of the century after being released for prison. Assembling his finest team of experts, the group head off to Italy to pull off the seemingly-impossible - steal $4'000'000 worth of gold from under the noses of the Italian Mafia and escape through the crowded streets of Turin and dash for the Swiss border. Only, it's not as easy as that...
Caine shines as Croker, turning what could have been a dark character into this almost comedic gem. He has all the best lines for the simple reason that nobody else comes close. Even the great Noel Coward seems to be sleep-walking in his role as Mr Bridger, Croker's Imperialistic mentor who's still behind bars. So the first half of the film belongs to Caine which is just as well because the Mini's steal the second half. Like "From Dusk Til Dawn", this is a movie with a definite switch halfway through as the cars take over and leave the audience struggling to remember anything from the first half.
And even so long after the initial release, the Mini Coopers are still mind-blowing to watch. By far and away the most inventive part of the film, the car chase is what everybody remembers and rightly so. It is a shame because the build-up to the heist is rather funny. This isn't a serious crime movie - no dour detectives or rainy city scenes here. This film is bright, colourful and a joy to watch, even if you will have forgotten the first half by the end of it. And what an ending, possibly the greatest cliffhanger of all time. Literally.
There is much to admire about "The Italian Job". It's an amusing crime caper, a family version of "Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels", which has plenty to involve young and old. It also harks back to a time when it was great to be British - we had won the World Cup, we had the Beatles and the Rolling Stones blazing a new trail throughout the world. We had flower power and the summer of Love. Watching this film, it is impossible for any Englishman to not feel his blood pumping in patriotic fervour. The characters, the story, the cars, the annoyingly catchy soundtrack - everything is geared towards celebrating England and poo-pooing the rest of the world. And quite frankly, it's about time too! Forget "Austin Powers" - this is the real Swinging Sixties and it's just groovy, baby!
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