Professional thief Ernie takes Mike on as an apprentice, but while Mike clearly has "larceny in his heart", it will take him a long time to get as good as Ernie.




On Disc

at Amazon

2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Housekeeping (1987)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the Pacific Northwest during the 1950's, two young sisters whose mother has abandoned them wind up living with their Aunt Sylvie, whose views of the world and its conventions don't quite... See full summary »

Director: Bill Forsyth
Stars: Christine Lahti, Sara Walker, Andrea Burchill
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Radio host Alan Bird witnesses how an ice cream van is attacked and destroyed by an angry competitor. This leads him into the struggle between two Italian families, the Bernardis and the ... See full summary »

Director: Bill Forsyth
Stars: Bill Paterson, Eleanor David, Clare Grogan
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Ronnie, Wal, Andy and Vic are four bored, unemployed teens in dreary, rainy Glasgow. Ronnie comes up with a great idea. He has noticed that stainless steel sinks are worth a lot of money ... See full summary »

Director: Bill Forsyth
Stars: Tom Mannion, Eddie Burt, Richard Demarco
Malone (1987)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Ex-CIA hit-man running from his past (Malone) finds just how difficult it is to retire when he runs accross a small town controlled by mercenaries and a family that's resisting their ... See full summary »

Director: Harley Cokeliss
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Cliff Robertson, Kenneth McMillan
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Gregory is a normal teen who is infatuated with a classmate. He must work to win her affection.

Director: Bill Forsyth
Stars: John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn, Jake D'Arcy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Bill Forsyth returns to the romantic comedy of Gregory's Girl. Twenty years after his teenage crush on a football-mad schoolgirl, Gregory is back at his old school, teaching English. When ... See full summary »

Director: Bill Forsyth
Stars: Carly McKinnon, John Gordon Sinclair, John Murtagh
Gator (1976)
Action | Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Agents force a former con man to help them nab a corrupt politician.

Director: Burt Reynolds
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Jack Weston, Lauren Hutton
Hooper (1978)
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Hollywood aging stuntman Sonny Hooper wants to prove that he's still got what it takes to be a great professional in this risky and under-recognized line of work.

Director: Hal Needham
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Jan-Michael Vincent, Sally Field
Local Hero (1983)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An American oil company sends a man to Scotland to buy up an entire village where they want to build a refinery. But things don't go as expected.

Director: Bill Forsyth
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Peter Riegert, Fulton Mackay
Rent-a-Cop (1987)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

When call-girl Della gets caught in the middle of a drug bust at a hotel where she was meeting a trick, she is held hostage by a robber that busted in on the drug agents and the drug ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry London
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Liza Minnelli, James Remar
Certificate: M Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Quietly cocky Robert Redford joins U.S. ski team as downhill racer and clashes with the team's coach, played by Gene Hackman. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  

A collection of characters threaten to cross paths, unknowingly, during a night in the big city. The film focuses on two hit men (Reynolds and Forsythe) who are bound to collide with Cates,... See full summary »

Director: Clive Fleury
Stars: Burt Reynolds, William Forsythe, Giancarlo Esposito


Cast overview, first billed only:
Mike Lafebb
Carrie aka Fontaine
Delphine the Hooker
Johnny Scot, Poker Player
Shoes, Poker Player (as Harry Carey)
Vincent Tucci, Attorney
District Attorney
Richard Key Jones ...
Lou, Bob's Tire & Body
Tom Lasswell ...
Bud, Bob's Tire & Body
Walter Shane ...
Bob's Tire & Body Manager
Frank A. Damiani ...
David Frishberg ...
Nighclub Singer
John Baldwin ...
Sam the Apostle


Professional thief Ernie takes Mike on as an apprentice, but while Mike clearly has "larceny in his heart", it will take him a long time to get as good as Ernie. Written by Jon Reeves <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An amateur thief and a professional robber team up for an outrageous comic heist.


Adventure | Comedy


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Como Ser um Bom Ladrão  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)


$1,877,618 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Final film of Albert Salmi. See more »


Mike Lafebb: Man, I never met anybody who did crime for a living. I mean I had a cousin once who held up a gas station on his bicycle, but he was nuts.
Ernie Mullins: Runs in the family, huh?
Mike Lafebb: Hey, you with some kind of organization?
Ernie Mullins: Yeah, uh, Northwest Homeowners Association.
See more »


Yankee Doodle Boy
Music by George M. Cohan
Published by George M. Cohan Music Publishing Co.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Top Notch Crime Caper
21 January 2004 | by (Bay Area, California) – See all my reviews

I first saw Breaking In (1989) on late night television probably ten years ago and was instantly drawn in. This stars Burt Reynolds as old time Burglar Ernie Mullins. Although Burt is not one of my favorite actors he has made some good movies (Deliverance), (The Longest Yard), (Heat), (The End), and (Boogie Nights) . This is Probably one of his best movies. Along with Reynolds, Casey Siemaszko does a great job as a young Mike Lafeve who runs into Ernie (Burt Reynolds). Brilliant Writing by John Sayles and Great Direction by Bill Forsyth. A great guy flick you shouldn't miss.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Original choice for Ernie Mullins paultricky
Discuss Breaking In (1989) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: