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The Great Riviera Bank Robbery (1979)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  14 May 1980 (Colombia)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 96 users  
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A group of fascists plan to finance their work by pulling off a bank robbery.


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Title: The Great Riviera Bank Robbery (1979)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Malcolm ...
Nigel Humphreys ...
Eric Mason ...
Matthew Long ...
Alain Guano ...
Barry Lowe ...
Jonathan Elsom ...
Arnold Diamond ...
Town Hall Man
Christopher Burgess ...
Kevin Brennan ...
Sheila Ruskin ...
Bank Girl
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A group of fascists plan to finance their work by pulling off a bank robbery.

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Release Date:

14 May 1980 (Colombia)  »

Also Known As:

Dirty Money  »

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Dirty Money
30 September 2010 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Of the four films about the ingenious 1976 robbery of the supposedly impregnable Société Générale bank in Nice by Albert Spaggiari and his gang tunneling their way in through the sewers Les Egouts du Paradis, Loophole and most recently Sans Arme, Ni Haine, Ni Violence - Francis Megahy's Sewers of Gold is by far the most compelling affair. Originally intended as a theatrical feature but debuting on television instead and going under a variety of titles (including Dirty Money and The Great Riviera Bank Robbery), it's blessed with a charismatic lead in Ian McShane and, without Spaggiari looking over its shoulder, able to take a far more critical look at the crime and its perpetrators than the cheeky romp he liked to make it out to be.

While it doesn't use real names (Spaggiari is simply referred to as The Brains here), it's a little less selective with the facts and it makes no bones about their motive - to fund the overthrow of the government - and even throws in some swastikas and a portrait of Hitler in one's apartment just to make sure that we don't mistake them for left wing idealists. The OAS, most famous for their bombing campaigns, indiscriminate killings and bungled assassination attempts on De Gaulle and successful ones on several of his ministers in the early 60s, had effectively been eliminated since the early 60s, but the gang was made up of a mixture of OAS die-hards and professional criminals, and the film doesn't sentimentalise them or gloss over the occasional tension from their clashing motivations. Coming from the British gangster tradition - the film is set in France but no one attempts any accents - there's no need to make either the OAS or crims good or bad guys, the film content to tell the story and let the audience judge. And it tells it surprisingly well and with an economy that doesn't outstay its 102-minute running time while never feeling rushed, in its own very professional way turning what could have been a good heist movie into a much better one that deserves to be much better known.

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