Set in Warsaw in 1930's. After six years in jail, framed for bank robbery by an accomplice, the legendary Kwinto has only revenge on his mind. He is a safecracker in the old style, a thief ... See full summary »


2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonard Pietraszak ...
Witold Pyrkosz ...
Ewa Szykulska ...
Krzysztof Kiersznowski ...
Zdzislaw Kuzniar ...
Józef Para ...
Elzbieta Zajacówna ...
Jacek Chmielnik ...
Zofia Graziewicz ...
Kwinto's Wife (as Zofia Charewicz)
Henryk Bista ...
Jan Rozek
Janusz Michalowski ...
Comissar Karelicki
Leon Niemczyk ...
Wlodzimierz Musial ...
Lena Wilczynska ...
Woman with Cat


Set in Warsaw in 1930's. After six years in jail, framed for bank robbery by an accomplice, the legendary Kwinto has only revenge on his mind. He is a safecracker in the old style, a thief with a sense of pride and loyalty. Upon leaving the jail he learns that his friend with whom he played in the jazz band has been murdered by the same guy - now a bank president - who sent him to prison. Kramer hopes to keep Kwinto's mouth shut by paying him off, but at the same time he hires a paid gun to kill him. Meanwhile, some young, petty crooks hearing that Kwinto is free want to join forces with him for a job. Kwinto, employing a retired professional and two young admirers, pulls his last job to get even with Kramer... Written by Polish Cinema Database <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Crime





Release Date:

1 March 1982 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Go for Broke  »

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Did You Know?


During the safe-cracking scene one of them is cutting a hole in safe's side. He is using a welding torch instead of a cutting torch. This is possible, because his daytime job is car mechanic, thus he has more to do with stitching things together rather than cutting them, hence he might be more used to operate welding torch. See more »


Policeman: Police. We've got an order to bring you to the commissariat.
Henryk Kwinto: Why me?
Policeman: Mr. Kwinto, you can be taken just for your name.
See more »


Referenced in King Size (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Jan Machulski leads a band of bank robbers
3 August 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Juliusz Machulski wrote and directed this excellent film, "Vabank" (1981). He cast his father, Jan Machulski, in the lead role, in which he is perfect. Under his direction, the rest of the cast likewise brings this gem of a film to life beautifully.

Henryk Kuźniar provided the catchy and jazzy music. As a trumpet player myself, it was quite refreshing to have Machulski's character be a trumpet player in a small group paired with another trumpet player. I felt I was hearing a nice meld between the jazz flavor and the Polish small group instrumentation and tunes.

"Vabank" is a caper film in which a bank is robbed but this also involves a confidence game instigated against the bank president, Leonard Pietraszak, because he has had killed a close friend of Machulski who played with him in a band. Machulski is an expert safe cracker. In the gang is an expert alarm man, Witold Pyrkosz, and two young and eager jewel thieves. Aiding the ruse portion is Elzbieta Zajacówna.

I probably miss some jokes because I must use English subtitles. Nevertheless, the style of the film, its humor, its editing, its subtlety, the terrific performances of Pietraszak and Pyrkosz, and the rather deadpan performance of Machulski all make it clear that the film is done masterfully. Although I surely miss some humor, I feel a certain wry, understated, sardonic humor that predominates. This is not broad or slapstick humor.

I would not call the director a Polish Spielberg because that takes away from Machulski's own style, which is exceedingly different from that of Spielberg. Spielberg tends to make big pictures, overblown, overlit, and quite often with gooey and romanticized parts to them. Machulski does none of this. He has a film edited down so that it keeps moving, has surprises and freshness, brings out the characters, looks real and feels more personal and human.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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