7.4/10
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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 (232) »

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:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only film shot by Michael Mann to be presented in a 1.85:1 standard widescreen ratio. After this film, he has shot all of his movies in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio. See more »

Goofs

During the L.A. heist, the device intended to remove the key-lock assembly from the door leading to the vault is screwed in (undiscernibly) and jerked back without removing the lock, i.e., having no effect whatsoever. In the next shot, the lock assembly is gone. (Maybe it took more than one try.) See more »

Quotes

Frank: Your criteria are so far up your ass, they can't see daylight! This is bullshit!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Heat (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent character drama is worth watching for Caan's superb performance.
23 November 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Frank (James Caan) is a professional thief, who enjoys doing high profile jobs. He also owns an restaurant and sales cars for a living. He's tired of his other life as a thief. He hopes to settle down by having a wife, a family and a house. When he's been contacted by a mysterious business man (Robert Prosky). Which this man is the local crime boss of Chicago, who wants him to do a big score for him by robbing Diamonds. Once he succeed from his job, which Frank was hoping to be last job. But the mob boss turns on his back and treating his life by working for him until he dies. If Frank doesn't work for his boss, he will kill his wife (Tuesday Weld), his best friend (James Belushi) and destroy his entire life.

Written and Directed by Michael Mann (Ali, Heat, The Keep) made an stylish character drama is that extremely well directed and acted by the cast. Caan's performances makes this fascinating film works. It's certainly one of his best roles to date. The supporting cast are excellent as well, including Willie Nelson in a small role. This film was a box office disappointment, when it was first released. Now it's a cult classic... largely because of Mann's visual style, the performance, excellent cinematography by Donald E. Thorin (Midnight Run, Mischief, Tango & Cash) and Tangerine Dream's electronic score (Firestarter, Risky Business, Socerer). Look for some familiar faces as extras and bit-parts. Based on a novel by "The Home Invaders" by Frank Hohimer. Big time Hollywood Producer:Jerry Bruckheimer (Beverly Hills Cop, Black Hawk Down, The Rock) is one of the producers of this picture. This is a underrated movie worth seeing. (****/*****).


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