Thief (1981)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  27 March 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 14,416 users   Metascore: 78/100
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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 »
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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:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Frank evades Urizzi by relocating the transponder onto a bus. McCauley also does this in Heat. See more »


When Frank goes to visit his friend Sam at the steel mill, Sam's totals about the load of copper tubing are incorrect: "18% zinc, 42% copper, 38% tin, and one percent I don't know." This adds up to ninety-nine percent. See more »


Frank: You talking to me or somebody else walk in this room?
See more »


Referenced in Walking Vengeance (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

One of My All Time Faves - But the original is gone I suspect
27 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Saw this in the theater at it's release. Went back the next weekend and scenes were cut. They remain cut in every version I've seen since. Frank snaps chalk lines off traces of blueprints onto the safe face in the opening heist. Guess the crime commission didn't dig that, 'cause that 5 seconds is history in every cut I've seen since. How do the boys and their gear get up on the roof of the bank building? Rocket assisted grappling hook mortars firing mountain lines and Jumar ascenders from the parking lot. You won't see that scene anymore, either. Man, I miss the Corned Beefs at the Belden Deli on Clark where Frank hands the stones to Gags. Long gone. But if you are in Chicago, stop in early at the Green Mill and you might be able to have a drink in that big, round wood booth - still there. Great gun & car flick. Frank's .45 looks like a Bomar Svenson custom combat, tremendous. Watch for the High Standard 12 guage stakeout special at the end - very rare. Take a drive up north on Western Avenue to check out all the used car lots - still there. Great locations. Yup, the creme was ALWAYS cottage cheese at the old Oasis restuarants. Yuch! You know - Tuesday Weld actually even ACTS a little in this movie, amazing. Man that was a gorgeous house in my old neighborhood and yes they blew it up. Notice when they are snuggling on the outdoor patio - it had a two-sided fireplace - indoor and outdoor. Probably the best Chicago movie ever. The phone book and trash can - time honored tools of the early 80's. When I saw it opening night the theater was filled with every crook and detective on the north side with their wives. And everybody just nodded to each other on the way out. Those days are gone but not forgotten. Great, great flick. Cool TD soundtrack album, too. Also probably the best metallurgical movie ever. I want Frank's coat.

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