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The St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 10 September 1959 (USA)
A gang's plans for a St. Louis bank robbery are complicated when the sister of one of the thieves starts voicing her well-founded suspicions.


Richard T. Heffron (screenplay) (as Richard Heffron)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... George Fowler
Crahan Denton ... John Egan
David Clarke ... Gino
James Dukas James Dukas ... Willie
Molly McCarthy Molly McCarthy ... Ann
Martha Gable Martha Gable ... Eddie's Wife
Larry Gerst Larry Gerst ... Eddie
Boyd Williams Boyd Williams ... W.H. Dalton - Bank Officer
Frank Novotny Frank Novotny ... Pat - Ann's Boyfriend
Nell Roberts Nell Roberts ... Salvation Army Woman
Bob Holt ... Police Dispatcher
May Kohn May Kohn ... Bank Cashier
Jay Elliot Jay Elliot ... Car Salesman
Robert Klauss Robert Klauss ... Phone Repairman
Barney Barnett ... Policeman


George Fowler is drawn into a gang planning to rob a bank in St. Louis that they expect will have a $100,000 on hand on an upcoming Friday. George is drawn into the plan as the gang's driver by Gino, an old girlfriend's older brother. As the gang goes about its planning, George and Gino have to find a way to live for the next two weeks and they turn to Gino's sister, Ann, for help. George is hoping to go back to college and the money he would make would go a long way to helping him do that. Not trusting George to keep his nerve, the gang's leader John Egan moves him to the inside, but the robbery doesn't go off as planned. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Never before in Police annals! Never before in film history! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 September 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


American Heist (2014) is based on The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery. See more »


When Ann writes on the bank window with her lipstick the message reads, "WARNING - YOU WILL BE ROBBED!" Later when we see a bank worker cleaning the message off the window not only is the handwriting different, the message is too: "WARNING - THIS BANK..." See more »


Eddie's Wife: Eddie - don't. It won't do any good - he's just vicious.
George Fowler: [releasing his hostage] I'm not... I'm not... I'm not one of them...
See more »


Referenced in Steve McQueen: The King of Cool (1998) See more »


Night Train
By Bernardo Segall (as Bernardo Segáll) and Peter Udell
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User Reviews

He's a real man, he doesn't need you!
2 November 2005 | by sol1218See all my reviews

(Some Spoilers) True story about the armed robbery of the Southwest Bank in St. Louis and the fate of the four bank robbers who participated in it.

Getting a crew together to knock off the Southwest Bank head crook John Egan, Crahan Denton, wan't his boys to case out the bank for a week before they rob it. The robbers spends hours at a time checking every angle and escape route to make sure that the robbery goes off without a hitch.

Right from the start things start to go sour when one of the robbers Gino, David Clarke, recruits young George Fowler, Steve McQueen, as the wheel man in the operation. George isn't a hardened criminal and only want's to pull off this job to get enough money for him to finish college and make something of himself.

Gino knows Geroge from him being his sisters Ann , Molly McCarthy, boyfriend and feels that he won't choke up when things get hot. That very fact, George being romantically involved with Ann, turns out to be the Achillese Heel of the "Great St. Louis Bank Robbery".

Needing a place to stay until the day of the robbery Gino tells George to go see Ann, whom he recently broke up with, an ask her for $50.00 and tell her that he needs it to keep him from being sent back to prison in Chicago.Reluctant at first Ann gives George the money, with a personal check to send to Gino. Later Ann sees him in the city, St. Louis, and knows that he and George are up to no good.

Depressed at the thought of Gino and George robbing the Southwest Bank, she saw George case it out from a diner across the street, Ann starts to get so out of hand that she jeopardies the impending bank robbery by getting drunk one evening. Later Ann goes a step farther writing in lipstick "this bank is going to be robbed" on the Southwest Bank's windows.

Outraged at Ann's behavior, and George and Gino not being able to control or shut her up, John and his partner Willie take Ann to their hideout where John in a fit of anger throws Ann off the fire-escape killing her. With both Gino and George totally in he dark to what happened to Ann, John and Willie tell them that she flew off to Chicago, the four get ready for the big bank heist. Then for some strange reason George is told that he'll have to take part in the robbery and that Willie is to replace him as the wheel man; it was John's way of keeping Willie quite about his murdering Ann.

The fact that Willie is put behind the wheel and George, who's not only a better driver but far more responsible and loyal to the group, was sent into rob the bank turned out to be a complete disaster. John gets shot by the cops with Gino killing himself when he saw there was no way out, and the thought of him going back to prison was just too much for him to take. George ending up badly wounded is arrested and sent to prison for the rest of his life. This destroys his dream of being able to finish his education and become an honest and upstanding citizen in the community. The man responsible for all this mess happening Willie, the getaway driver, gets away without as much as a scratch on him leaving the three other crooks to face the music, and police bullets.

Solid crime caper with Steve McQueen, as George Fowler, doing his best as he methods acts his way through the movie. McQueen goes from a quite and scared college kid to a hardened and unfeeling criminal within the 89 minutes of the film.

The ending is something to watch as George almost bleeding to death and holding a young couple hostage in the bank, Eddie and his wife of two months( Larry Gerst & Martha Gable), finally sees the light to what he got himself involved in. If George was as smart as he though he was he should have listen to Ann, when she was still alive,and all this would have never happened to him or her.

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