7.4/10
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112 user 95 critic

Thief (1981)

Becoming closer to his dream of leading a normal life, a professional safecracker agrees to do a job for the mafia, who have other plans for him.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screen story) | 1 more credit »

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2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Jessie
...
Okla
...
Barry (as James Belushi)
...
Leo
Tom Signorelli ...
Attaglia
...
Carl
Nick Nickeas ...
Nick
W.R. Brown ...
Mitch (as W.R. [Bill] Brown)
Norm Tobin ...
Guido
John Santucci ...
Urizzi
Gavin MacFadyen ...
Boreksco
Chuck Adamson ...
Ancell
Sam Cirone ...
Martello
Spero Anast ...
Bukowski
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Storyline

Frank is an expert professional safecracker, specializing in high-profile diamond jobs. After having spent many years in prison, he has a very concrete picture of what he wants out of life--including a nice home, a wife, and kids. As soon as he is able to assemble the pieces of this collage, by means of his chosen profession, he intends to retire and become a model citizen. In an effort to accelerate this process, he signs on to take down a huge score for a big-time gangster. Unfortunately, Frank's obsession for his version of the American Dream allows him to overlook his natural wariness and mistrust, when making the deal for his final job. He is thus ensnared and robbed of his freedom, his independence, and, ultimately, his dream. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

thief | prison | heist | money | criminal | See All (230) »

Taglines:

Tonight, his take home pay is $410,000...tax free.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Einzelgänger  »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,300,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene in Leo's house, James Caan improvised mispronouncing "elected" as "elected-ed" to show that Frank was an uneducated man who tried project an air of sophistication. See more »

Goofs

During the gunfight in Leo's house, no empty shell cases are ejected from Frank's Colt semiautomatic as he fires it. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Knowles: I see on your application here - by the way, you misspelled mail, it's M-A-L-E, the other's what we put in post boxes - I see you put under employer: 1959 to 1976, Joliet State Penitentiary.
Frank: Yes.
Mrs. Knowles: You worked for the state, I take it?
Frank: After a fashion.
Mrs. Knowles: And what did you do at the prison?
Frank: Desks. I, uh, I spot-welded desks, and then I got promoted to shoes.
Mrs. Knowles: You were in charge of the shop?
Frank: Lady, I was a convict, I was doing time.
Mrs. Knowles: You were what?
Jessie: Frank, let's go.
[...]
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User Reviews

Sublime Mann & Caan character study of a career criminal
23 April 2003 | by (fairview, nj) – See all my reviews

THIEF (1981) *** James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, James Belushi, Robert Prosky. Michael Mann's atmospheric and realistic profile of a seasoned professional thief (Caan in a brilliant turn) out for one lucrative score with a dream to lead a normal life with some dire circumstances standing in the way. Great production design and waycool score by Tangerine Dream.

Excellent photography and a genuine storyline since copied to death. A small gem of a film. Noteworthy: look quick for Dennis Farina and John Santucci who would star in Mann's tv series "Crime Story' and William L. Petersen as a bar room bouncer who'd collaborate with Mann in 'Manhunter".


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