Dortmunder and his pals plan to steal a huge diamond from a museum. But this turns out to be only the first time they have to steal it...

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Murch
...
Greenberg
...
Dr. Amusa
William Redfield ...
Lt. Hoover
...
Sis
...
Ma Murch
...
Warden (as Graham P. Jarvis)
...
Rollo the Bartender
Seth Allen ...
Happy Hippie
...
Cop At Police Station
Lee Wallace ...
Dr. Strauss
Robert Weil ...
Albert
Lynne Gordon ...
Miasmo
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Storyline

Dr. Amusa approaches Dortmunder about a valuable gem in a museum that is of great signifigance to his people in Africa, stolen during colonial times. Dortmunder assembles a crack team of cat burglars and hatches an elaborate plan for stealing the gem. Despite their care and experience, circumstances and plain bad luck keep the gem just out of their reach. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They're out to steal the hottest diamond in town with the funniest schemes in history ! See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 January 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

How to Steal a Diamond in Four Uneasy Lessons  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the Dortmunder novels by Donald Westlake, Kelp always steals cars owned by medical doctors. In the movie, the license plates of the stolen cars have the letters "MD" as part of the plate number. (Kelp's reason is that doctors have expensive tastes, and their cars are usually loaded with the best options - leather seats, stereo, etc..) See more »

Goofs

When the locksmith is attempting to unlock the case in the museum, he's using only a pick. Without a tension wrench, there's no way to turn the lock cylinder, so he would never succeed in picking the lock. See more »

Quotes

Abe Greenberg: If I seem less than enchanted with all of you, it's only because I do not like the way you led my son - the horse's ass - into the path of lawlessness.
Kelp: You're Greenberg's father?
Abe Greenberg: Guilty.
See more »


Soundtracks

Listen To The Melody
Music and arrangement: Quincy Jones
Performed by: Tata with The Ian Smith Singers
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Tale Of The Traveling Rock
8 January 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Hot Rock has a soft spot in my heart because the area of Brooklyn where a lot of the film was shot, I know very well, Eastern Parkway, The Botanical Gardens and most of all The Brooklyn Museum I know very well from years of living in the Borough of homes and churches. The Brooklyn Museum is where the elusive Hot Rock resides or at least where it first resides.

Robert Redford is released from prison and his brother-in-law George Segal is there to greet him. As Redford says to warden Graham Jarvis there ain't no chance in hell he's going straight. Straight into another caper that Segal has lined up for him with Ron Leibman and Paul Sand.

The amiable team is hired by African ambassador Moses Gunn from some fictional central African country to get a national treasure, a rather large diamond on display at the Brooklyn Museum. They do steal the diamond, but through an incredible combination of circumstances have to plan and execute four different break-ins before The Hot Rock is in their hands.

Redford and Segal display a good chemistry, as good as the fabled co-starring chemistry of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Why they were not heralded as a buddy combination is beyond me.

Stealing the film in whatever scenes they are in are shyster attorney Zero Mostel and his doofus of a son, Paul Sand. In the first caper at the museum, Sand gets caught and what he does with the diamond sets up the entire rest of the film.

As for Zero we find he's an attorney with absolutely no scruples whatsoever, the kind they make excellent lawyer jokes about. But he does give us some excellent laughs.

The Hot Rock is something on the order of an American domestic version of Topkapi. The laughs in it are good and strong, although some of the Seventies fashions make me wince. Despite that the film holds up well today. I'm surprised no one is thinking of remaking this one.


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