85 user 46 critic

Take the Money and Run (1969)

The life and times of Virgil Starkwell, inept bank robber.



(original screenplay), (original screenplay)

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3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcel Hillaire ...
Fritz - Director
Jacquelyn Hyde ...
Miss Blair
Lonny Chapman ...
Jake - Convict
Jan Merlin ...
Al - Bank Robber
James Anderson ...
Chain Gang Warden
Howard Storm ...
Mark Gordon ...
Micil Murphy ...
Minnow Moskowitz ...
Joe Agneta
Nate Jacobson ...
The Judge
Grace Bauer ...
Farm House Lady
Ethel Sokolow ...
Mother Starkwell
Julius Epstein - The Psychiatrist (as Don Frazier)


This film is presented as a documentary on the life of an incompetent, petty criminal called Virgil Starkwell. It describes the early childhood and youth of Virgil, his failure at a musical career, and his obsession with bank robberies. The film uses a voice over narrative and interviews with his family, friends and acquaintances. Written by Kunal Taravade <kunal.taravade@symbios.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He robbed 16 banks. He got caught 16 times. His record is perfect. See more »


Comedy | Crime


M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 July 1970 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Robó, huyó y lo pescaron  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Virgil's inept attempt to escape prison by carving a gun out of soap and turning it black with shoe polish is loosely based on real life bank robber John Dillinger's famous escape from the Crown Point, Indiana jail using a wooden gun blackened with shoe polish. In an interesting parallel, in the film Dillinger (1973) directed by John Milius and starring Warren Oates as John Dillinger, he is shown using a bar of soap instead of a piece of wood. See more »


When Virgil is cutting a hole in the window, the camera dollies behind him, and the crew and an audience of bystanders are reflected in the glass. See more »


The Narrator: Frankie Wolf, wanted by authorities for dancing with a mailman.
See more »


Referenced in Charlie's Angels (2000) See more »


Soul Bossa Nova
Written by Quincy Jones
Performed by Marvin Hamlisch and His Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable charmer that lacks consistency and depth.
15 December 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Now I'm rarely a man to agree with any 'consensus view' of particular films, yet I very much have to go along with the tide as regards 'Take the Money and Run' - only the second Allen film I have commented upon here, though I have seen many more.

Basically, the film is enjoyable viewing throughout, but not an entirely consistent, successful comedy. Allen had yet to hone his skills in fashioning feature length films; I have reservations more so for 'Bananas', less so for 'Sleeper' and 'Love and Death'; the two films with which he really hits his stride. This is his first film as a director and thus maybe it is to be expected that we'll see a transitional film. One can tell Allen is trying to work out a formula to translate his largely verbal stand-up humour to film. He really does a pretty good job of this. There are plenty of very good jokes and a generally very lightweight, genial tone to this picture. It is seen through by this, yet is hamstrung by its very effervescence; the film is likeable and won me over, yet it is too scattershot in approach and delivery to really satisfy.

Woody himself is an instantly winning figure in his comic persona; that of a physically diminutive and verbally bumbling Jewish intellectual. With in this film the vocation of a bank robber; a displacement which results in much of the expected amusement. There's not yet any attempt to go very deep into this character of his, but this is a pure, light comedy. No real New York or indeed Bergman or Chekhov reference points yet.

One is reminded in Allen of David Thomson's insightful comments on Chaplin and the persona he projected to audiences; trying to charm them and win them over by a certain vulnerability and status as 'underdog'. It is very true that in many of Allen's films, like Chaplin, he is right at the centre of the film, and the world outside is not portrayed with any sense of the mechanics of reality. Conflicts are never all that serious or convincing; he draws from a limited pool of character types, in socio-political terms. Allen has done films with other leads; though his usual concerns always find their way through. 'Take the Money and Run' is full of the Chaplin tendency to have bullish, physically imposing figures, or indeed perhaps a wider society, threatening the 'little man'. There is a wish-fulfilment woman in the languid person of Janet Margolin's Louise; as a character more a projection than of flesh and blood or shades of grey. She works well as a slightly wan, attractive comic foil for Allen, who doesn't mind getting her hands dirty, but she's really not Diane Keaton.

This film is slight, no question about that... it fails under real scrutiny, yet it is largely very enticing stuff; an early glimpse of Allen getting his filmic technique in order. If you like what the man does - and surely most (wryly bespectacled) film cineastes such as I do! - then you are sure to enjoy this film. Just don't count on it being a triumph in the major key.

Rating:- *** 1/2/*****

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