Thief (1981)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  27 March 1981 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 14,155 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 104 user | 79 critic | 8 from

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.



(novel), (screen story), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Top 25 Trivia Items From the Last 25 Years

Here are some amazing facts and figures to deepen your appreciation of the movies you love.

See the full list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 27 May 2012
a list of 21 titles
created 18 Jul 2014
a list of 44 titles
created 10 Oct 2014
a list of 21 titles
created 8 months ago
a list of 30 titles
created 4 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Thief" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Thief (1981)

Thief (1981) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Thief.

User Polls

2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Manhunter (1986)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Former FBI profiler Will Graham returns to service to pursue a deranged serial murderer named "the Tooth Fairy" by the media.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen
Crime | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After his last crime has him looking at a long prison sentence for repeat offenses, a low level Boston gangster decides to snitch on his friends to avoid jail time.

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan
The Keep (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Nazis are forced to turn to a Jewish historian for help in battling the ancient demon they have inadvertently freed from its prison.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Scott Glenn, Ian McKellen, Alberta Watson
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow
Miami Vice (2006)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Based on the 1980s TV action/drama, this update focuses on vice detectives Crockett and Tubbs as their respective personal and professional lives become dangerously intertwined.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong
Rififi (1955)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes...

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel
L.A. Takedown (TV Movie 1989)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Tough Los Angeles cop Vincent Hanna takes on a gang of professional bank robbers led by the precise, enigmatic Patrick McLaren.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Scott Plank, Alex McArthur, Michael Rooker
The Driver (1978)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

"The Driver" is a specialist in a rare business: he drives getaway cars in robberies. His exceptional talent prevented him from being caught yet. After another successful flight from the ... See full summary »

Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani
The Insider (1999)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer
Sexy Beast (2000)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits "retired" safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them.

Director: Jonathan Glazer
Stars: Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Comic caper movie about a plan to steal a gold shipment from the streets of Turin by creating a traffic jam.

Director: Peter Collinson
Stars: Michael Caine, Noel Coward, Benny Hill
Sorcerer (1977)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Four unfortunate men from different parts of the globe agree to risk their lives transporting gallons of nitroglycerin across dangerous South American jungle.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal


Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Signorelli ...
Nick Nickeas ...
W.R. Brown ...
Mitch (as W.R. [Bill] Brown)
Norm Tobin ...
John Santucci ...
Gavin MacFadyen ...
Chuck Adamson ...
Sam Cirone ...
Spero Anast ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

thief | prison | heist | money | criminal | See All (209) »


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


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Einzelgänger  »

Box Office


$4,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Frank favors a Colt's 1911A1 "longslide" in .45 ACP customized by pistolsmith Jim Hoag. Carl is using a High Standard Model 10B "Bullpup-style" 12 gauge Police Shotgun, no longer in production. See more »


When Sgt. Urizzi pulls over Frank for the first time, there is a gold sedan coming the other way, but when the scene immediately cuts to Urizzi going up to Frank's car, the gold sedan is gone. See more »


Frank: You're marking time is what you are. You're backing off. You're hiding out. You're waiting for a bus that you hope never comes because you dont wanna get on it anyway because you don't wanna go anywhere. Ok?
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

a real classic!
21 October 2001 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

Even though this film was made only a little over two decades ago, I consider it a film-noir classic! James Caan said once that this was the film he was in that he was proudest of next to The Godfather. I remember that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel said this was one of the finest films of 1981. Caan is wonderful in a role that he was born to play, a tough guy with his heart on his sleeve. Everything about this film is wonderful from the musical score by Tangerine Dream to the dark lighting effects to the authentic detail about the life of a thief ( I read that Michael Mann actually used real life thieves as technical advisors to this film!). Even though Caan's character is an anti-hero, you have to feel sorry for him because he is caught in a situation where there is no way out! The best scene in the film is where he tells Tuesday Weld about his prison experiences and shows here the picture cut out that he has made of his American dream. Jimmy Caan is truly awesome, he is the only actor that ever made me cry (in Brian's Song) I also wanted to mention another great character actor who is in the film. His name is Robert Prosky and he plays the mob boss who uses Caan. This was his film debut after many years as a stage actor and he is terrific. Watch the scene in the acid plant where he threatens Caan. He is really chilling! Michael Mann created Crime Story and Miami Vice and he also directed Manhunter, but lets not forget this film as well.

49 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
When Barry tackles his wife on the beach ramcamcole
Fans of this film, get the Criterion release NOW! mountainjam819
Drive Countorloc
What does Frank do next? vpking77-276-694061
What's with the lady watching TV at the end? dullatron
The diner scene and other bits and pieces... hankmcn
Discuss Thief (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: