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The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960)

Not Rated | | Crime, History | 15 May 1960 (Japan)
Jack Diamond and his sickly brother arrive in prohibition New York as jewellery thieves. After a spell in jail the coldly ambitious Diamond hits on the idea of stealing from thieves himself... See full summary »


Budd Boetticher


Joseph Landon

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Ray Danton ... Jack 'Legs' Diamond
Karen Steele ... Alice Scott
Elaine Stewart ... Monica Drake
Jesse White ... Leo 'Butcher' Bremer
Simon Oakland ... Lt. Moody
Robert Lowery ... Arnold Rothstein
Judson Pratt ... Fats Walsh
Warren Oates ... Eddie Diamond
Frank DeKova ... Syndicate Chairman
Gordon Jones ... Sgt. Joe Cassidy
Joseph Ruskin ... Matt Moran
Dyan Cannon ... Dixie (as Diane Cannon)
Richard Gardner Richard Gardner ... Vince Coll


Jack Diamond and his sickly brother arrive in prohibition New York as jewellery thieves. After a spell in jail the coldly ambitious Diamond hits on the idea of stealing from thieves himself, and sets about getting close to gangster boss Arnold Rothstein to move in on his booze, girls, gambling, and drugs operations. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Wildest Mobster of the Roaring Twenties! See more »


Crime | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »





English | French | Italian | German

Release Date:

15 May 1960 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

El fin del rey del crimen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

United States Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In an interview about the making of this film, cinematographer Lucien Ballard recalled, "We wanted to go for an authentic atmosphere for the 1920s where the film was showing. So after seeing some of the rushes, the producer went to Boetticher [director Budd Boetticher] and said, 'I thought you said Ballard was a great cameraman - this looks like it was shot in 1920!' And Budd said, 'It's SUPPOSED to look like it was shot in 1920!'* See more »


When Legs Diamond is shot, he falls between two beds face down with his shoes pointed down. The next shot shows him face up. See more »


Teenager: [Staring at corpse] That's not Legs Diamond.
Lt. Moody: [Grabs kid by the collar and forces him to have a good look] Take a look at that, kid. That's Legs Diamond and don't you ever forget it.
See more »


Featured in Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That (2005) See more »


Black and White Rag
Music by George Botsford
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User Reviews

One of the Best of the sixties Depression Era Crime Films

For the record, this film is historically inaccurate: not for the events, but for the true life character portrayals and interactions.

For instance, there is no evidence in the record of the time that Arnold (The Big Bankroll) Rothstein ever formally met with Jack "Legs" Diamond. Nor is there any record of Diamond having anything to do with Rothstein's girlfriend or his gangland assassination.

Despite these gaps in historical fact, this is one of the most highly entertaining ( of the 1960's crop) of films ever made of that era. In fact many film critics hold to the opinion that most, if not all, of the gangster films of the sixties, were poor attempts to copy the style and success of this one. The production is tightly written, well paced and beautifully filmed by a director (Bud Boetticher) who knew his way around black and white photography. And they couldn't have picked a better subject of the Prohibition Era than Jack "Legs" Diamond.

Jack Diamond was not called "Legs" because he worked for a short time as a dancer, but for the fact that he was initially a highly successful 'snatch and run' thief in the garment district. But he did eventually get caught and served a stint in prison. But forget the historical inaccuracies and enjoy this never boring gangster film.

Ray Danton, one of the most highly underrated actors of his time, gives a riveting fast paced portrayal of Diamond that will be hard to surpass. Not only is he believable in the outrageous stunts he pulls, but he just as easily exposes a manic and tragic side to his character as well: all without missing a beat.

This unusual film also allows you to see some of the screens most memorable character actors at their best. But most of all, you get to see two soon to be famous actors on their way up.

This was actress Dyan Cannon's first film, in a memorable role as the character,Dixie. And soon to be veteran character Warren Oates makes his third appearance in the movies as "Legs" Diamond's brother, Eddie. A careful study his early acting skills in this role, clearly defines why he went on to become one of the most endearing and recognizable character actors of all time.

Trust me on this one, fans. Whether you like Depression Era gangster films or not, you will be constantly entertained by this one. Don't miss it!

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