The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  1 March 1973 (USA)
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Reviews: 17 user | 4 critic

A computer programmer decides to become a thief. And when he starts making waves an insurance investigator hounds him. He also meets a woman who becomes his accomplice.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Complete credited cast:
Webster McGee
Laura Keaton
Dave Reilly
Jackie Johnson
Charles Cioffi ...
Gene Henderling
Dynamite Hector
Edmund Lasker
Insurance Man
Margaret Fairchild ...
Mrs. Donner
Jack Manning ...
Tom Preston
Richard O'Brien ...
Police Sgt. Del Conte
George Morfogen ...


Bored and somewhat fed up with the open corruption around him, Webster McGee decides to quit his job as a computer engineer at Houston-based Control Data Corporation. What he doesn't tell his friends and now former associates is that he does have a plan for his future: to become a jewel thief. His initial primary motivation is not the money, but rather be what he considers an honest thief. His first successful theft against corrupt businessman Gene Henderling leads to several things. Out of circumstance, Webster is able to have a long list of potential future targets. Webster begins a relationship with poor but beautiful socialite Laura Keaton, to who he is open about what he now does as a living. Because he leaves at his thefts a calling card in the form a chess piece and a slip of paper with a chess move, Webster, being coined the Chess Burglar by the media, begins a very public chess match with the Houston Post's elitist chess columnist Zukovsky, who dismisses the Chess Burglar as ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Webster and Laura took everything they wanted ... each other ... and a diamond worth $6.000.000.


Comedy | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 March 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A sakkozó tolvaj  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


SEK 870,833 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Walter Hill's screenplay, based on the novel by Terrence Lore Smith, shifts the plot locale from Chicago to Houston and completely leaves out the relationship development between Webster/Dave and Dave/Jackie (called Lina in the book) and the gradual physical change in Webster (in the book, he starts out as balding with a broken nose and scars from college football, but has hair grafts, dental work, rhinoplasty and scar removal, whereas in the film he is "pretty" from start to finish). See more »


The current version of this movie being shown on network television shows two scenes out of order. We see a scene in which Webster evades the police, and then links up with Laura at a party. Then insurance agent Dave shows up at Laura's place to talk to them. After this, we see the scene in which Webster and Laura meet for the very first time at a party. See more »


Jackie: I thought you were honest.
Webster: Only when I'm stealing.
See more »

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User Reviews

Dryly humorous, engaging and well-cast...
8 April 2006 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

Ryan O'Neal gives one of his better, looser performances in this crime-caper, a handsome comedy-drama involving a high society thief planning a major heist. Warren Oates is the investigator in dogged pursuit, Jacqueline Bisset (at her most lovely) plays a love-interest in on the action, Austin Pendleton is very funny as a nerdy chess pro, and wonderfully blithe Jill Clayburgh makes a big impression in the minor role of O'Neal's ex-wife. Engaging fluff with tongue wryly in cheek, well-directed by Bud Yorkin. Terrific non-think entertainment for cable-watchers, yet this did seem a little flat when it played in theaters. **1/2 from ****

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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