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'Dirty Money' is one of the greatest heist films of all time and also
probably one of the least known.
Starring a much younger Ian McShane before his 'Deadwood' days ably assisted by Warren Clarke, Christopher Malcolm and Stephen Grief this film details the events which took place in France in 1976.
Following description taken from video release from 1981
'Strongly committed to the ideals of a French right wing alliance with links in high places all over the world, Bert (IAN MCSHANE) conceives of a brilliant plan to obtain finances to buy arms in the cause of an eventual political take-over.
The scene is Nice, playground of the rich and indolent. Over a long weekend the vault of a particular bank will be stuffed with francs. And Bert knows a way in.....through a labyrinthine sewer system, a map of which he has obtained from a contact in the town hall.
With colleagues from former fighting days in Indo-China and Algeria, Jean (WARREN CLARKE) and Serge (CHRISTOPHER MALCOLM), Bert reluctantly has to recruit a band of professional criminals to assist in the robbery. The dangerous elements of crime and passionate politics make for uneasy bedfellows..........The criminals look on the job as merely a passport to money and the good life; they cannot understand Bert's ideological approach summed up as 'without arms....without hatred.....without violence'.
As the job is planned with meticulous and flawless detail, the personality clashes between the two factions become more and more defined.
But the heist goes perfectly and Bert finds more money than he ever dreamed of. There's fifteen million dollars: the biggest bank job in the world.
Though the police are completely baffled at first, the criminal members of the robbery team are soon throwing their money around with reckless abandon. As they are caught one by one, Bert manages to avoid capture but in the end he, too, is cornered.
Even so, he might still be able to offer the police a deal'.
This film is still unavailable on VHS or DVD so you will have to hunt down one of the UK releases on Precision video from 1981 like I did ( It only took me 3 years to find one) - I do not know if there was a VHS release in the US or anywhere else!!!Happy Hunting It'll be worth it
First thing to bear in mind is that there are actually TWO movies ,made
at the same time,dealing with the same subject :a true life event of
ex-firebrands using the sewers to rob a bank.
-The French version,made by Jose Giovanni , ("les egouts du paradis" = sewers of paradise (sic))which kept the hero's real name but is rather listless. The "hero" becomes a nice guy ,some kind of Arsene Lupin,who visits the old ladies in the hospital.
-The English version,which features a best lead (Ian McShane billed as "Brain") and seems more honest.Far from being heroes,like in Giovanni's flick,the characters are fascists (anti communist) and their paramilitary activities are not passed over in silence :in the French attempt,all they show is weapons in the thieves' den in the country.
This movie was released on VHS back in the 1980's, and is very difficult to find (at least in N. America). I really hope a DVD edition comes out soon. Excellent movie! By chance, right after I saw it, The Learning Channel (TLC) aired a special called "Daring Capers: Plunder Under Nice". The movie was very accurate and realistic. It's nice to see a movie without Tom Cruise heroics. I would rate it 9-out-of-10.
I have seen this film several times and impressed with its sharp action.
almost has a slight documentary feel to it.
I am really surprised this film is not wider known. It was on video several years back, but then withdrawn. I have been begging for a copy for years and hope it will be re released soon.
I've seen this film somewhere in the first ten years of my life (some time ago) and I've never seen it, heard of it or found it in a videostore since. I remember minute preparations of the bankrobbers, the accent lying not so much on action sequences but on the careful planning. The movie probably shaped me cause since then I've always looked for this type of plot in films on bankrobberies. Anywayzzz, indeed an undervalued piece of work. As of today i am going on a quest to retrieve this film. I wanna see it again and again and again...
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.
I can't really rate this film as I saw it once when I was about 12, but
what I do remember is that it was fantastic, dirty, gritty and defined
my knowledge of McShane as a great actor.
I remember sewers, drills and bank vaults full of money that the robbers had all weekend to spend robbing I also remember the scene at the end where the hero jumps from a police station window onto a waiting motorbike that speeds away once he is safely seated.
What this post is really about is to see if someone has a copy. I'd happily pay good money, so please drop me a message if you come across one!
This is a nice companion piece to SEWERS OF PARADISE. It was also filmed on location in Nice, France where the actual robbery took place and, naturally, uses many of the same locations as PARADISE. I wonder how the locals liked having two films about the embarrassing robbery shooting at the exact same time? Young looking Ian McShane is the photographer/heist planner this go around. This is just as good as the aforementioned film and might be a little bit better as they delve into the political history of the group a bit more. Interestingly, both films end with a similar shot of the getaway motorcycle driving off into the distance.
This film is just perfect. Why it is not available on video is a
mystery. It is a great caper film.
I do not know much about the Algerian/French nonsense but the implementation of the bank robbery is done very well.
The politics mean nothing. The crime is the thing.
Planning the operation, getting the help, and then getting away are all you really need for a good caper film.
Yeah, they get caught later but spending the cash is where they catch everyone.
Damn good film.
We need this available once again!
This movie really lacks a good director, one with a sense of suspense.
The Great Riviera Bank Robbery, aka Sewers of Gold, aka Dirty Money
(they definitely were at a loss for ideas to market this unexciting
movie) tells the story of the July'76 Société Générale Bank robbery in
Nice. It is very much inspired by facts, and the book by
self-proclaimed Brain Albert Spaggiari (Sewers of Paradise - 1978) and
sticks closely to that line.
Unfortunately all the technical elements of the Master Heist are not enough to make the great premise into a great movie. Reality is less interesting than the make believe art of cinema, especially if your heroes are nationalist wingnuts (and if you deem useful to drive this point home with a Hitler portrait and other Third Reich memorabilia). So we've got a Master Heist being re-enacted with very little tension, and no change in rhythm whatsoever.
A weak movie that does a clean job of putting all the pieces together, it actually feels like the ITV movie of the week it was meant to be, with everything just shot and edited together without much thought.
The 2007 region 2 DVD is a cheap release, sporting a 4:3 ratio which I guess is the original TV framing, so be aware that the "Best Heist Movie ever" other reviewers chuckle over is just a good TV movie.
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