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Topkapi (1964)

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3:45 | Trailer

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A conman gets mixed up with a group of thieves who plan to rob an Istanbul museum to retrieve a jewelled dagger.

Director:

Jules Dassin

Writers:

Monja Danischewsky (screenplay), Eric Ambler (based on the novel "The Light of Day")
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
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Crime | Thriller
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Melina Mercouri ... Elizabeth Lipp
Peter Ustinov ... Arthur Simon Simpson
Maximilian Schell ... Walter Harper
Robert Morley ... Cedric Page
Jess Hahn ... Hans Fisher
Gilles Ségal ... Giulio the Human Fly
Akim Tamiroff ... Gerven - the Cook
Titos Vandis ... Harback (as Titos Wandis)
Ege Ernart Ege Ernart ... Maj. Ali Tufan
Senih Orkan ... First Shadow
Ahmet Danyal Topatan Ahmet Danyal Topatan ... Second Shadow
Joe Dassin Joe Dassin ... Josef (as Joseph Dassin)
Despo Diamantidou ... Voula
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Storyline

A small-time con man with passport problems gets mixed up with a gang of world-class jewelry thieves plotting to rob the Topkapi museum in Istanbul. Turkish intelligence, suspecting arms smuggling, gets involved, and under pressure, the con man rises to heights of which he'd never dreamed. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's for Thursday, darling, in Istanbul...we've got a leather vest, a surgeon's lamp, a suction cup and a boy-scout knot, also a mastermind, an electronics genius - and a schmo. Come on - you're cut in on the theft of the century! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Turkish | German | Greek | Italian

Release Date:

2 September 1964 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Topkapi kincse See more »

Filming Locations:

Turkey See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$7,000,000, 31 December 1964
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmways Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Peter Ustinov's Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar win was this movie's only Oscar nomination. See more »

Goofs

At runtime 00:57 when Arthur pulls the couch by a rope Elizabeth sits and lays in three different positions depending on which camera shows the scene. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Elizabeth Lipp: It can be done! That's the way it can be done! Aaah... oh, excuse me; I've just had a great idea - something I've been looking for a long time... a very long time.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning, the title and the technical credits are shown, but no credit is given to the actors or to the producer-director. However, at the end, (spoiler) we suddenly see the words "There they go again!", and all of the leading actors appear in a snowbound setting, together with their names. Then the names of all of the other actors, together with the name of the producer-director, appear on the screen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Zong heng si hai (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

The Stars and Stripes Forever
(uncredited) (1896)
Written by John Philip Sousa
Played when Elizabeth steps on Cedric's mock-up of the security platform
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Classic Jewel Heist à la Jean Reno set in Istanbul
14 June 2003 | by homme_des_foulesSee all my reviews

With beautiful camerawork in Istanbul and Greece and an equally intriguing plot, Jules Dassin brings to the screen a film worthy to be considered alongside his masterpieces "Du rififi chez les hommes" and "Naked City". Peter Ustinov follows up his Oscar-winning performance in "Spartacus" with a second award for best supporting actor, while playing a "schmo"--a lowly, disgraceful, British rogue living in Greece as the self-proclaimed "un-crowned king of the nightlife": Arthur Simon Simpson. Getting involved in much more than he bargained for, Simpson enters a ring of double-crosses as an informer for Turkish Intelligence while still hoping to line his pockets with filthy lucre.

The show, however, is stolen by the seductive, raspy-voiced Elizabeth Lipp, played by Greek beauty Melina Mercouri (who was also in the starring role of Dassin's "Phaedra" two years earlier--as well as "Pote tin Kyriaki" (1960), "La Legge" (1958), and "Celui qui doit mourir" (1957)--and whom the director would marry two years later). The curvy enchantress draws in Walter Harper (Maximilian Schell) and Cedric Page (Robert Morley I), offering them their cut on the biggest heist ever--the theft of the sultan's jewel-encrusted dagger from the Istanbul Museum.

However, there is a problem. The museum is impenetrable, equipped with a state-of-the-art alarm system that requires a strong man to hoist an acrobat from above the museum and slowly lower him into the treasure trove while avoiding security (à la "Mission Impossible" and "Oceans Eleven"). An unattended, even ironic, ending makes this film a classic in the genre as the dénouement keeps the viewer attached to the screen all the way up to the credits.

Not quite the masterpiece of a "Bob le Flambeur" or "Rififi", this film is in the top ten of its genre and is crucial in its intrigue and influence on future heist ("casse") films. Highly enjoyable, with the right balance of humor, suspense and allure (thanks to Melina Mercouri) to establish it as a touchstone in the genre, Dassin's caper is a cinema classic.


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