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Probably the best of French Film Noir...and that's saying a lot!
MartinHafer10 September 2010
The 1950s and 60s brought the Film Noir style to France. Up until then, the darkly lit and grim crime stories were the domain of American directors--such as Jules Dassin--the man who actually directed "Rififi". In the late 1940s and very early 50s, he made four of the best films Noir had to offer--"Night and the City", "The Naked City", "Brute Force" and "Thieves Highway". So, it seems that he was THE link between the two cinemas--bringing the best of American Noir and fusing it with French sensibilities and actors. In a sad way, it was a GOOD thing (at least for cinephiles) that the Black Lists forced Dassin to relocate to Europe to make films (for more on this, by the way, watch the interview with him that's included as an extra on the DVD).

I was surprised when I saw one reviewer referring to this film as an early example of "French New Wave". I didn't get this at all--it clearly was like Dassin's American films in most every way--except, perhaps, it tended to possibly glorify criminals in a way his earlier films had not done and the budget was lower. This film just doesn't look like that of famous New Wave directors like Truffaut or Godard--and I am happy about this, as New Wave did NOT work well with Noir (a great example is the failure of Godard's "Alphaville" as Noir--it just didn't seem at all like any Noir film unless you are taking LSD while viewing!). Perhaps it IS a lot like the French director Melville's films in many ways--and I am sure Melville was influenced strongly by Dassin.

I would say that "Rififi" is among the best Noir films ever--and probably the best Noir France has to offer--and that's saying a lot, as I often prefer the French Noir films--they are THAT good. That's because even more so than the American versions, the criminals are incredibly cold and scary. Because of this, there was a wonderful realism. Instead of the often bigger than life criminals in the American versions, the French ones were more restrained--and as a result more believable.

So what is so wonderful about this film? First, there are so many wonderful caper films (such as "Bob le Flambeur" and "Grand Slam")--yet this is THE best of them. Second, the caper itself was brilliantly handled. Having thirty minutes of dialog-free action without music really, really heightened the tension and was riveting. My deaf daughter usually hates this sort of film, but she sat transfixed as well. Third, the ending was wonderful. It was very dark and free of sentimentality and it also was tense and well-made--and it's hard to imagine anything better. Fourth, the film is just perfect--there is NOTHING I can thing of that I would change! About the only Noir films I might like better (and this is hard to say for sure) might be "The Killers"....maybe. It's also a film that cinephiles must see...period.

By the way, look closely at the Italian thief in the gang--that's Dassin himself. He did act in a few movies here and there in addition to directing--and his most famous acting role was probably in "Never on a Sunday" (in which he co-starred with his wife).

If you liked this film, some other wonderful French crime films would include "Bob le Flambeur" (which, in many ways, is a re-tooling of "Rififi"), "Le Samourai", "Un Flic" and "Le Circle Rouge" (all by Jean-Pierre Melville), "Le Balance" (sort of an early 80s reinvention of Noir) and even "Diva" (yes, it's NOT Noir but has many Noir qualities). There are many other films, but frankly my review is getting a bit long-winded and I have other things I must do!
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Great heist film
SnoopyStyle13 March 2014
Tony le Stéphanois gets out early after 5 years in prison. He has a plan to rob the jewelry store Mappin & Webb with his friends Jo and the Italian Mario Ferrati. He finds his old girlfriend Mado who abandoned him for the gangster Louis Grutter. He viciously beats her. For the job, he wants to hit the safe and gets Cesar the Milanese. The heist goes off perfectly but that's not the end of it.

It's a French heist film with more realism. It is well done with good intense acting. The most interesting thing is how modern the movie is. The formula is well set now, but it was probably more groundbreaking back then. These are the modern anti-hero protagonists.
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Pulling for the Bad Guys
Hitchcoc3 February 2021
As I ignored all those victimized by the jewel thieves, I found myself wanting them to get away with it. It's a kind of viewer's Stockholm syndrome. The incredible effort and creativity needed to pull off the heist is overshadowed by the simple greed and anger of another faction. There is justice ultimately but at a great cost. Performances are quite striking and believable. The world these people live in is so dark. What are they going to do with their wealth after they get it? A remarkable noire film that has really withstood the test of time. A side note. If it had been me, I would have thrown that kid in the river when I had the chance.
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A Magnificent Fim-Noir
claudio_carvalho21 July 2007
After five years in prison, Tony le Stéphanois (Jean Servais) meets his dearest friends Jo (Carl Möhner) and the Italian Mario Ferrati (Robert Manuel) and they invite Tony to steal a couple of jewels from the show-window of the famous jewelry Mappin & Webb Ltd, but he declines. Tony finds his former girlfriend Mado (Marie Sabouret), who became the lover of the gangster owner of the night-club L' Âge d' Or Louis Grutter (Pierre Grasset), and he humiliates her, beating on her back and taking her jewels. Then he calls Jo and Mario and proposes a burglary of the safe of the jewelry. They invite the Italian specialist in safes and elegant wolf Cesar (Perlo Vita) to join their team and they plot a perfect heist. They are successful in their plan, but the D. Juan Cesar makes things go wrong when he gives a valuable ring to his mistress.

"Du Rififi Chez les Hommes" is a magnificent film-noir, certainly among the best I have seen. The screenplay has credibility, supported by an awesome direction of Jules Dassin, stunning performances of the cast and great cinematography. Jean Servais has outstanding performance in the role of a criminal with principles guided by the underworld rules. The famous long silent sequence of the heist is amazing and extremely tense and certainly among the best ones of the cinema history. I am listing this great movie in my list of favorite movies ever. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "Rififi"
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Tough, direct, atmospheric and stylish
bob the moo4 December 2013
I recently watched the 1950 film Night and the City and was so taken by it that I looked up more of the director Jules Dassin. Although I tend to watch quite a lot of films, I am not that well read in cinema and so had not seen several of his other films but it was clear that I was missing out. I decided to watch Du rififi chez les hommes (1955) simply on the basis that on IMDb it shows up first in his "known for" section. This turned out to be a good choice and what I found was a simple but very effective crime thriller with tough edges, Gallic coolness and stylish delivery.

The plot is straightforward enough in terms of a group of criminals try to pull off a robbery from a jewelry store; but there are edges to all the characters and ultimately it works well by building this up in the first half before then delivering a stylish (and silent) robbery section and then raising the stakes in the final third. I found the tough noir- esque tone to be very satisfying and I liked that the film doesn't even have to pretend that Tony is someone that we should like or respect – he is driven by bitterness and anger and I liked this. This tough edge is complimented by a stylish mix of American noir standards, with sufficient French style to make it feel different but yet familiar. The film does this visually but also in the feel of everything – it has an effortless cool toughness that is consistent and never superficial.

This is most memorable in the heist scene itself, which is part of a long sequence where not a word is spoken but yet tension is high and well maintained. This sounds like a very simple thing to do but it is pulled off very well and is impressive for how well it does this just from expressions and atmosphere. It will be no surprise to anyone familiar with heist films to say that ultimately things do not totally work out and this aspect is also done in a satisfying and engaging manner. I'll be checking out more from Dassin soon.
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"We're not out of the woods yet."
classicsoncall24 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Immediately following this film, I watched one of the trailers on the DVD, and in it, The New York Mirror proclaimed that this picture had "enough raw sex to elevate every eyebrow"! Really? Where was that? If that was used as a hook for the movie back in the day, then a great disservice was done to the movie going public.

As far as heist films go, I thought the caper was pulled off rather easily, maybe even too easily with not a hitch during the process. However I never even realized that the thirty minute or so sequence during the robbery was done without anyone speaking. I guess that's the mark of a competent director, to get the viewer so absorbed in an extended scene that time becomes a non-factor. Very well done.

So basically, after the heist was pulled off, you had two rival gangs going at it to secure the gems involved in the safe-crack. With major mistakes committed by the Stephanois' bunch (Cesar giving his gal a ring, then ratting on Mario), I began rooting for Tony as soon as coke-head Remi (Robert Hossein) grabbed the kid. The back and forth tension between the thug groups added a different dimension to the film than it would have had if it was just a caper movie.

Aside from no one benefiting from the jewel heist, I was baffled by the close of the story when Tony collapsed and crashed the car he was driving with the rescued kid in it. With the local gendarme on the scene, Tony's ex, Mado (Marie Sabouret) comes along and just takes the child away from the scene. What? And then it ends. What? It could be I'm missing something, but the accolades accorded the film seem out-sized to the resulting effort. I'd still recommend it, but watching the film with a critical eye reveals enough flaws to temper the acclaim.
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gavin69423 January 2015
Tony Stephanois, just out of prison and angry at his girl Mado's infidelity, decides to join his pals Jo and Mario in an ambitious crime. With Italian safe expert Cesar, they meticulously plan the burglary of a large jewelry establishment.

This film is probably best known for two things: one, the half hour heist sequence that has absolutely no dialogue and no music, just the sounds of the men at work. Which is, by the way, wonderfully brilliant. And two, the fact the director was American but was working in France because he was targeted as part of the Hollywood blacklist.

This is a great film. Obviously not the first film noir, not by a long shot, but clearly influential on future crime movies. Was "Ocean's 11" inspired by this film? Maybe, maybe not, but it seems like the two could be brothers.
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you won't believe your eyes
lee_eisenberg12 June 2013
After watching Jules Dassin's "Du rififi chez les hommes" ("Rififi" in English), all that I can say is that it blew my mind. I don't think that there's ever been a heist movie like this one. Following his blacklist in Hollywood, Dassin went on to direct one of the all-time masterpieces.

Without a doubt the best scene is the heist itself. The protagonists carry out the heist without a word. Their silence and the sweat dripping off their faces creates a level of tension like you can't imagine. Of course it's what happens after the heist that provides a major part of the story.

Basically, this movie is one of the best. The acting, directing, cinematography, and Magali Noël's belting out the theme song combine to make a perfect cinematic experience. On a scale of one to ten it's a twenty. Dassin later directed another great heist movie with "Topkapi" starring his wife Melina Mercouri.
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Film Noir: Paris-Style
ccthemovieman-12 December 2005
As far as I am concerned, this film noir had two totally different things going for it as opposed to the film noirs I am used to viewing: 1 - the setting is Paris, France; 2 - there is 28-minute scene with no dialog.

Both make this movie a bit unique, at least to English-speaking film noir fans. Actually, an American, Jules Dussain, shot the film, so it's not entirely a European film. Initially, I was disappointed in this after I had watched the first 40 minutes. It's an expensive DVD and I was bored. However, once that silent segment started - the actual heist (you already know what's it about), the film picked up considerably and just got better and better.

In fact, I thought the best part of the story was what happened after the heist. The best aspect of the entire film was the cinematography. This is what makes the disc worth owning. It's excellent film noir photography and a real travelogue for those of us who have never seen Paris...and this is Paris in the mid 1950s. There are lots of bleak-but-interesting rain-soaked Paris streets and buildings I found fascinating to view. In fact, there were many more of those great shots than of London in the much better known film, The Third Man.

The lead actor in here, Jean Servais, I think his name is, also is interesting to view. Someone described his face as a cross between Humphrey Bogart and Harry Dean Stanton, and that sums it up perfectly. A warning for those not expecting profanity or nudity in a classic film. This is France, not the United States, so there is a little bit of both in here. I appreciate the DVD offering the choice of subtitles or a dubbed version, too.
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Effective Crime Thriller.
rmax30482323 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Jules Dassin, kicked out of the industry in America for advocating the gentle treatment of pet animals or something, went to Europe and directed some genuine thrillers like this as well as one or two examples of overreach such as "He Who Must Die." He did some successful comedies as well and died in Greece. James Joyce remarked that Ireland's greatest export was talent and, in some ways, the same could be said of Hollywood during the blacklisting period of the early 50s.

A gang of professional thieves is assembled in Paris to pull off the difficult burglary of a jewelry shop. The gang is the usual diverse group with problems at home, jealousies and intrigues in their love lives, and so forth, more or less out of "Asphalt Jungle", though without Huston's exquisite attention to personal details.

The rather low-tech but very suspenseful robbery sequence takes about twenty minutes and was wordless, which was revolutionary at the time. The gang's leader is Jean Servais, who must have the most haggard face on the screen. He looks as if somebody had just taken his lollipop away. He's not a Big Hero. He smiles only once (I counted) and he beats the woman who deserted him for another gangster while Servais was in the slams.

That other gangster, Robert Hossein, isn't in on the burglary but he finds out that Servais' band WAS involved when one of the group, played as an Italian womanizer by Dassin, hides a piece of the jewelry for his own use and gives it to a nightclub singer. Cherchez la femme. Hossein's gang finds out about the gift, recognizes it for the stolen loot it is, and beats a confession out of Dassin. Servais kills him for his betrayal. Shades of "Goodfellas." Once Hossein is onto the Servais gang everything goes to pot. There's a big reward offered for the return of the stolen jewels but Hossein is motivated by a jealous rage over Servais' woman. Other murders follow, some pretty gruesome but not shown on camera.

The climax has a dying Servais driving a convertible crazily through the city streets with an unwitting and happy child in the back seat. There's very little directorial razzle dazzle but Dassin's shots of the bare, stark overhead branches etched in black against a flat sky are almost surreal in their suggestiveness.

Very nicely done job by all concerned. Dassin would outdo himself in silent burglaries with the color-drenched gigantism of "Topkapi" a few years later. "Topkapi", though, was a thriller with an element of comedy. This story is simply tragic.
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Jules Dassin Classic
blanche-226 May 2011
On the street, "rififi" means "likes it rough" or "plays rough." There is sure some playing rough in this brilliant Jules Dassin film, which went a long way toward taking him off the blacklist and breaking it all together.

"Rififi" concerns a 240-million franc jewel robbery in Paris, meticulously planned and carried out by Tony le Stephanois, Jo le Suedois, Mario Farrati, and Cesar le Milanais (Jean Servais, Carl Mohner, Robert Manuel, Jules Dassin), le Stephanois being the master criminal. It's perfect, but there's a 10 million franc reward for info leading to the criminals. And because we're dealing with human beings, there's an inadvertent slip-up that gives a clue as to who they are.

Filmed in black and white in Paris, "Rififi" is gritty, dark, violent, and very unglamorous. It is also filled with incredible tension, particularly at the end of the film, which is heart-stopping. The cinematography is dizzying, with some amazing shots.

The most interesting part of this film is the spare dialogue and an entire, long sequence which shows every move of the robbery as it is carried out, with absolutely no speaking. Fantastic.

The script, pace, and acting are fabulous. This is a no-miss. Jules Dassin was a master of noir, as this and "Night and the City," "The Naked City," etc. prove. A very powerful and influential film.
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a truly methodical, cool hybrid of old-school classy heist films with some extra element...
Quinoa198430 September 2005
Rififi, directed by Jules Dassin, is in line with the Melville crime pictures (particularly Bob le Flameur and to a point Le Cercle Rouge) of being totally focused on story and character and making sure not a word is spoken that doesn't need, and was ahead of its time. Ionically, it still has a kind of professionalism among its characters, a kind of respect (if not for selves than for others, a kind of duty) that rings well in post-WW2 France. Its actors carry faces for these characters that say 'we know what these guys are about', and from there the story takes off. Maybe it's because I have a weak spot for heist pictures, particularly where we see just the nuts and bolts (err, actual physical side) of how a heist is pulled off.

One of the problems with how the actual heist is filmed in today's movies is that it's all very fast (i.e. Snatch), or done in ways we've seen too many times before. Dassin, like Melville years later, decided to create practically a silent film of a heist, sound effects included. The tension that builds up in this scene may not top what Melville had in 'Rouge', but on its own level it achieves its own greatness and momentum, and just as crucial originality to what's been done before. There are some kept close-ups, for example, as the safe is being cracked, that mark some of the best I've seen from France at that time. An added plus for the film, aside from the larval-stage new-wave touch to the film, which in the end makes it a little more modern, is that the story works so well and differently. It becomes completely about character at points, and then keeps up the thrills. The last ten to fifteen minutes are down-right miraculous; like with another classic heist picture the Asphalt Jungle, it's not even the last stop that matters, but all about how much one will go past the call of duty, putting humanism over greed.

You almost wonder in all the exhilaration of the camera flying by the trees at a high speed with the car that he might just make it. Dassin has here a very entertaining and intuitive film of its genre, with a nifty little musical number as well.
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Still rates as an absolute must-see movie!
JohnHowardReid25 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Regarded by many critics as the finest film noir ever made, the 1955 Rififi directed by Jules Dassin is available on a 7/10 Criterion DVD. (Why only 7/10? Two image break-ups, including an extended impasse at the beginning of the robbery which undermines this sequence).

My personal opinion is that the movie runs far too long and tends to out-stay its welcome, thus allowing the viewer to focus on holes in the plot. For example, I feel trims should have been made to Magali Noel's rendition of the title song, as well as the ailing Jean Servais' climactic drive to Tonio's home, both of which seem to go on forever.

The famous, no-dialogue robbery sequence, on the other hand, is commendably taut.

Aside from Jules Dassin himself, who, despite his curiosity value, makes an unconvincing Italian romantic, the cast rates as uniformly fine. Servais is especially impressive. Great lighting photography by Agostini and moody sets by Trauner (as well as the inspired use of real Parisian locations) help secure Rififi a place on anyone's must-see list.
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The Project
tedg9 April 2005
This film is historically interesting, but (except for the kid) not particularly good moviewatching.

Its historical import is usually considered as an example — probably the first — of the heist genre: the standard format is: 1) the collection of the crew 2) the performance of the heist, usually as a matter of spectacular competence and 3) the unravelling, but only if it is a European heist movie.

The genre is a particular type of folding, a meticulously planned project that we watch within a larger project (the film) that we watch. The perfection of the first is carried to the second, giving us the impression of deeper engagement. An effective trick.

This happens to also be a good example of where that effect works well because this isn't a very good film, but it _seems_ expert because the centerpiece event was perfect. The only flaw was passion.

As it happens, during this time there was a huge battle for the cinematic between French and Italian styles of storytelling. The French approach was (and still is) cerebral while the Italian is based on personal contact and engagement in spite of reason. Just like the characters here. Because this is a French film, the careful plan is unravelled by the impetuous Italian. Both types screw around, but the Frenchie has his woman situation managed.

It is photographed well.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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Jewel of the Heist genre films.
searchanddestroy-13 October 2021
The story itself is not about a heist, as OCEAN ELEVEN crap, but of course the heist scene is the highlight of the movie, one anthology sequence which lead to dozens of more or less close rip-offs, more sucessful ones than others. This story is a man's tale, rough, tough, brutal, gritty, unfortunately soften from the novel. In the book, the final fight between Tony - only survivor of the gang - and the only survivor of their enemies, is absolutely terrific; it would have been outstanding on screen, instead of what we finally got. I personnaly knew Auguste Le Breton, just before he died, and he told me that he wrote this novel only to eat, he considered this a a kind of crap, unlike LES HAUTS MURS, which told his own childhood in the awful orphanages between two WW. Irony made that this was RIFIFI that made him famous, before LE CLAN DES SICILIENS and many other films, and also a rich man and permited him to buy a beautiful house in Le Vesinet, near Paris. RIFIFI is ten times tougher than TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI, from the same period, also adapted from an Albert Simonin's novel written in slang, also a hoodlums tale, but smoother. This one RIFIFI is more powerful and memorable. In the book, the heist preparation and the caper itself in not that much emphasized on; that's the only good thing for the film compared to the book. A film a masterpiece though !!!!
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The French caper
jotix10029 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If the caper genre owes a lot to Walter Huston, it also has a debt of gratitude to Jules Dassin, a man that was ahead of his times and who suffered a lot because of his blacklisting when Edward Dmytryk accused him of being a Communist. The end of his American career would have meant the end of Mr. Dassin, but moving to Europe proved he was bigger than the same people that had contributed to his Hollywood demise.

"Rififi" is an elegant film in which all the right elements come together thanks to Mr. Dassin's vision. He decided to adapt Auguste Le Breton's novel because he saw the possibilities for turning it into a caper film that became an instant classic. Jules Dassin was penniless in Paris when he discovered the city that were going to serve as the background to his film. The bad weather paid off for Mr. Dassin as the streets were always wet and not much had to be done to show them that way.

When we first meet Tony, he is playing cards. Tony appears to be in bad health; he coughs all the time and sweats profusely. After losing all his money, he goes to see Jo, the Swede, who tells him about a possibility for a robbery at Maupin & Webb, the fancy jewelry store at a tony section of Paris. They pass the idea through Mario, who suggests Cesar, the Milanese, an expert safe cracker.

Tony, who has come out of prison recently, learns that Mado, his former lover is now with Grutter, a creep that owns a night club. Upon confronting Mado, instead of love, all he feels is contempt, and the meeting ends badly and he throws her out of his place. Grutter has no love for Tony, who is his natural enemy because of his connection with Mado.

When the day arrives, the gang is able to get to the apartment building where on the second floor, right above the jewelry store, the owner lives, but he is away. Everything goes well and the gang gets away with the jewels. Cesar, the Milanese, a typical ladies' man, takes a ring as a souvenir, which in turn he gives the chanteuse at the Grutter's night club. This tactical mistake is the spark which unravels the well thought plan.

Jean Servais made an excellent Tony. He showed a tired man who was possibly doing his last robbery. Carl Mohner, Robert Manuel and the director, Jules Dassin, are seen as Jo, Mario and Cesar, the quartet jewelry thieves. Marie Sabouret plays Mado. Marcel Lupovici plays Grutter with a subdued intensity. Robert Hussein, who would go to direct movies later on, makes an impression with his Remi, one of Grutter's men.

The film best asset is the great camera work by Philippe Agostini, who captured the atmosphere of Paris and the locales where all these criminals operate from. Georges Auric's music plays well with the action in the film. Jules Dassin was peculiar in his choice of films that he directed, and unfortunately, that is our loss because this man was a genius as proved mainly with "The Naked City", "Night and the City" and "Rififi".
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Stunning heist film is France's answer to "The Asphalt Jungle"...
Doylenf17 March 2011
The highlight of RIFIFI is the meticulously planned heist scene where four Frenchmen manage to use power tools to perform a jewel heist in the middle of the night. The entire heist is photographed in silence as the men go about their work, each assigned to a special task. The suspense is riveting and leads to what happens after they almost get away with it.

The post heist sequences are a film noir lesson in crime doesn't pay. Each of the individuals meet their untimely fate and it's morbidly fascinating to watch how the script dispenses with them.

The acting is uniformly splendid, with director Jules Dassin himself appearing as one of the safe crackers. JEAN SERVAIS and CARL MOHNER are especially strong as leaders of the heist. Dassin's direction keeps the tale moving forward with the emphasis on vivid B&W photography and a pace that quickens once the crime has been committed.

Undoubtedly one of the best heist films you'll ever see, comparable to John Huston's THE ASPHALT JUNGLE in the manner in which it hold the viewer in its grip.
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One of the first caper films--and one of the best
preppy-36 November 2000
Four men plan a daring robbery in France. Everything goes well until one of the robbers does something real stupid and things fall apart quickly and violently. A film noir caper film shot on a shoe string budget in France. It's very well-done and acted and (for its time) extremely violent. My only complaint is that it goes on too long (a little over 2 hours) and the plot seems so familar--but that's because many later, inferior films stole from this. Nonetheless, this is a must see.
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Diamond Geezers
writers_reign11 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
For some reason this eluded me until now - I found the DVD in a Charity Shop - and it was more than worth the wait. It's right up there with Bob, Le Flambeur - ironically Bob, Le Flambeur was made by a Frenchman who wanted to be an American whilst Rififi was made by an American forced by the blacklist to become French. Both films involve heists, both were shot on the streets of Paris in black and white and only months apart and neither film boasted any 'name' actors. I kept looking for weak links but in vain, there aren't any. Auguste Le Breton who wrote the novel on which Dassin based his screenplay, did so in a patois that even French people outside Paris struggle to understand so Dassin took one small incident, a jewel robbery, and constructed his screenplay around that instead; when the two men met - Le Breton was hired to write dialog - the novelist asked Dassin in all seriousness 'where is my book?' Wherever it is Le Breton's loss is our gain for we are treated to a masterpiece of the genre with even the minor roles being played to perfection. One to savor.
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You're not the only one that had an unhappy childhood, there are millions like you, and, in my eyes, *they* are the tough ones, not you!
lastliberal26 April 2009
I heard they were going to remake this French classic in 2007, and I see it is in development for 2011. This will be a shame, as Hollywood kicked writer/director Jules Dassin out because of the infamous blacklist. They should not have the right to remake any of his films.

I love "caper" films and "film noir," and this combines the best of both.

Tony (Jean Servais) gets out after doing a nickle, and after he beats up his old girlfriend (Marie Sabouret), he plans a big score with his friends Mario (Robert Manuel) and Jo (Carl Möhner), What makes this a great caper flick is the attention to detail in planning the robbery. You see that reflected in the George Clooney Vegas capers. Nothing is left to chance.

The caper goes off great but Grutter (Marcel Lupovici) sends his sons, Robert Hossein and Pierre Grasset after Tony and the gang. After blowing it with Mario, they kidnap Jo's son. Lots of bullets fly before it is over.

A great film by a great director. The standard by which other caper films are measured.
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grantss1 June 2019
Fresh out of jail, Tony le Stephanois plans a massive jewel heist. He puts together a team and sets the wheels in motion. He discovers that his girlfriend at the time of his arrest has a new boyfriend, a big-time gangster. Little does he know it but this fact will interfere with the heist.

Superb movie. Written and directed by Jules Dassin, Rififi is classic film noir. Clever, solid plot and excellent direction by Dassin. The heist itself is incredible, with some clever innovations by the thieves and is filmed in absolute silence, just like it would have gone down if it was real life. No music to up the tension, no fake atmosphere, just realism.

The way it all unravels towards the end is wonderfully Shakespearean. Incredibly intriguing, enthralling and original plot development.

Incredibly influential film too. You can see it in the works of Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese and the Coen Brothers, to name but a few.

An absolute classic.
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Stylish and Thrilling
evanston_dad29 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"Rififi" is a terrific heist movie, and one from which subsequent heist films have drawn ever since. Jules Dassin had a feel for the seedy underworld in which these thieves live---you will not find here the Hollywood glamour of "Ocean's Eleven." The robbers in "Rififi" don't rob for the thrill, and they're not playing a game. They rob to survive, to pay for their children's upbringing, to prove to themselves and others that they still have something to offer the world. The much-lauded heist scene is a nail biter, filmed in virtual silence. I did have the feeling that the plot went on a bit longer than it needed to, but the high-speed race to deliver the child to his mother that ends the film is classic.

Be warned---this movie is very bleak. But it's also very good.

Grade: A-
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Rough and Tumble
ferguson-626 September 2014
Greetings again from the darkness. This classic French film is often referred to as the birth of the heist film. Former blacklisted US director Jules Dassin delivers a tense and unique film with terrific atmosphere, blending Film Noir with the French New Wave.

One of the more unusual aspects of the film is that the actual heist is Act II, not Act III - which actually involves a kidnapping and a quest for vengeance. It's easy to view the two Ocean's Eleven films as remakes of this one, and its influence on Stanley Kubrick's The Killing, as well as Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (the table scene), are fun to analyze.

Almost 60 years later, most film classes still discuss the nearly 30 minute heist sequence that involves no dialogue or music (not counting an inadvertent piano key). The teamwork and stress of this sequence is enthralling and worth watching a few times. We somehow find ourselves pulling for these bad guys (criminals, thugs, gangsters, hoods, crooks). I call this the good-bad guy vs bad-bad guy approach.

The good-bad guys are played by Jean Servais (Tony), Carl Michner (Jo), Robert Manuel (Mario), and the director Jules Dussin (Caeser, the Italian safecracker). The bad-bad guys (worthy of hissing) are led by Marcel Lupovici (Grutter) who is simply mean to everyone.

Paris streets play a huge role, as does the jewelry store set and the simple sound effects that accompany the heist. Also enjoyable is the "casing the place" sequence as the crew plans their process. So many pieces come together to keep this one as a well-deserved entry to the classic film canon.
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"We just need to see how things look by night."
morrison-dylan-fan23 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Despite hearing about the movie for years,I have for some reason have never got round to seeing US director Jules Dassin's visit to French Film Noir.Shortly after finding the title on Netflix UK,I found out that superb film maker Robert Hossein had a co-starring role,which led to me deciding that it was finally time to riff on Rififi.

The plot:

Coming out of jail after 5 years, Tony le Stéphanois meets fellow gangster Jo le Suedois, (who Tony took the jail time for) who gives Tony the offer of joining him on a heist.Originally turning the offer down,Tony soon discovers that his girlfriend Mado has left him for their mutual friend Pierre Grutter.Beating Mado up for "betraying" him,Tony changes his mind and accepts Jo's offer,on condition that they don't do a smash & grab,but go for the prime cuts in a jeweler's high-security safe.

View on the film:

Leaving the US over refusing to testify to the House of Un-American Activities Committee,co-writer/(along with René Wheeler & Auguste Le Breton) co-star/director Jules Dassin crosses the pond with a magnetic confidence. Sketching out the robbery in the first half, Dassin and cinematographer Philippe Agostini rub a rich Film Noir coating over Jo's plans,as blares of traffic and gazes from people walking by inject the movie with an "on the spot" rawness,which is joined by Dassin undressing the gangs hard life backgrounds with night clubs filled with shady lights and shady girls.

Trimming any possible sides of needless dialogue, Dassin delivers a magnificently pure cinematic experience,where a stylish tracking shots collect the beads of sweat falling from the nail-biting Film Noir atmosphere,that makes every stage of the operation one which cranks up the tension to breaking point.Covering them all in long Film Noir shadows and fading coats,Dassin follows the fall-out in tense side-shots and rapid-fire whip-pans capturing the crumbled state that the locations and Grutter/Tony's teamwork has fallen into.

Stepping out of the big house with Tony "le Stéphanois",Dassin, Wheeler and Breton's adaptation of Breton's own book superbly carves in the mistrust between each gang member,via darting from Tony and Jo's on again/off again team work,to Pierre Grutter going behind everyone's back to show them all who really is in charge.Sitting back as the heist takes place,the writers brilliantly use the aftermath to fully display the Film Noir veins packed with unmasking the true faces of the robbers from the heist,which includes a kid kidnapping!

Drilling into events with a supporting role,Robert Hossein gives a very good performance as Remi Grutter,whose craving for heroin stops Remi from seeing the full picture.Taking the role when the actor did not turn up, Dassin gives a surprisingly strong performance as César "le Milanais",due to the focus Dassin casts across César's face flipping the high stakes game that the gang are playing.Being at odds from their first meeting, Jean Servais and Carl Möhner give amazing performances as Tony and Jo,thanks to Servais giving Tony a bruised Film Noir grit,which is neatly counted by the rugged, devilish wit Möhner soaks Jo in,as they discover the Film Noir darkness in the safe with the diamonds.
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The heist is supurb..the rest not as much
movieman_kev5 December 2003
The silent scenes of the crooks pulling off the heist are so great, the rest of the film can't help but seem less then thrilling in comparison. That's not to say this isn't a great noir film, cause it is (and directed by a commie, no less), just that without the aforementioned scenes, this movie would be a footnote in history at best.

my Grade: B-
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