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The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • A debonair, adventuresome bank executive believes he has pulled off the perfect multi-million dollar heist, only to match wits with a sexy insurance investigator who will do anything to get her man.

  • Four men pull off a daring daytime robbery at a bank, dump the money in a trash can and go their separate ways. Thomas Crown, a successful, wealthy businessman pulls up in his Rolls and collects it. Vickie Anderson, an independent insurance investigator is called in to recover the huge haul. She begins to examine the people who knew enough about the bank to have pulled the robbery and discovers Crown. She begins a tight watch on his every move and begins seeing him socially. How does the planner of the perfect crime react to pressure?

  • An unknown man hires four unrelated men to carry off a bank heist of over $2 million. The four meet for the first time during the actual heist itself, which is carried off successfully. Their unknown leader is suave and wealthy Thomas Crown, an executive at the bank that was hit. Eddy Malone, the Boston police detective in charge of the case, is coming up empty in his investigation, that is until beautiful insurance investigator Vicki Anderson comes on the scene. Anderson, admittedly self-serving in that she works on commission, thinks like a thief and works on her instincts. Looking through the evidence, she believes that Crown is her man. Upon meeting, Anderson knows that Crown is the thief. Crown knows what Anderson believes as she tells him as much. Despite their positions, they are immediately attracted to each other and begin a relationship. But this does not stop their cat and mouse chase. However, the role of the cat and the role of the mouse are not always clear cut.

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Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • A private-eye looking man arrives to a deserted hotel corridor. He softly knocks on the door of a room, but waits with the jitterbug in his stomach when one of the cleaning ladies appears, and he won't do anything else until she has gone away to her duties. When he finally enters the room, a strong light hits his face, so he can't look who he's talking to. The man tells him to give a piece of information some time down the line in exchange of 50,000 dollars due in small installments. The man throws him a pocket full of money in order to buy a new car, which he can't use until he's told so. It's a specific kind of car, with wood and red-coloured.

    Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) is a banker who deals with bonus portfolios. He's successful. However, under the name of Charlie, he phones to the public phone booths at a train station, checking that all his men (Richard Bull and Yaphet Kotto) are on their places. Suddenly, he decides it's time to move on. A black man kidnaps a lift full of people, including the bellboy (Charles Lampkin and Paul Verdier). An executive family including the talkative executive woman (Patty Regan) is waiting for the lift. A man who says that his name is Michael Holland points his gun to the booth guard (James Rawley). More people appear are they are told to step into the lift and stay there. One of the criminals shoots one of the people, a man who has started to get nervous because of the situation. Another accomplicce is told to dress as a policeman and create a traffic jam outside the bank. The objective consists on several money bags which are being transported from the hotel via the lift to somewhere else at a fixed time.

    The detective-looking man takes the car to a cemetery, where he has to leave a message - in a particular rubbish bin. He's sweating like a pig, and taking the sweat off with a huge white handkerchief. Right after the detective-looking man leaves, Thomas Crown appears in another car, a black Rolls Royce. He puts on some gloves, takes a funeral garland from the car and puts it at some random tomb. He gets next to the rubbish bin and takes the sacks - supposedly full of money - from it. He gets frantic when the bells start to ring, but then leaves off.

    Back home, his butler, John (John Orchard), asks him whether he's had a good day, and Thomas says it's been a really good day. He gives John a day off.

    Back at the police station, Eddy Malone (Paul Burke) is questioning the people at the bank. They are all talking at the same time. The bank didn't write the numbers of the notes because they were notes of small quantity. The police artist (Nikita Knatz) produces a sketch of one of the men, but it could be almost any male in the universe. The wounded man is OK, there are not fingertips at all, and the red duster the criminals used used to belong to the Army. Thomas phones a woman called Gwen (Astrid Heeren) to invite her to dine out at a restaurant.

    The detective-looking man has his car registered with a random search by a Boston police officer (Ed T. McDonnell) but he's not really a suspect. He pretends to be a door-to-door salesman who is going to sell his products in Portland and is going to stay at the Portland Motel. Meanwhile, Thomas Crown flies to Geneva, with nothing to declare at customs. Once there, Thomas opens up a bank account full of money. In a Swiss bank, the banker (Michael Shillo) opens up the account even though he realizes that there's something fishy with that account.

    Thomas Crown wants his money operations to be dated always on a 19th day. Jamie (Gordon Pinsent) is frustrated because the bank he works for has absolutely been jeopardized by such a loss, as his insurance company had to give 2,000,000 dollars to the bank to compensate them for such a loss. Jamie decides to call on Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway). Eddy and Jamie pick her up at the airport. Vicki is an independent insurance investigator, which makes her living collecting a huge fee after returning the money back to its legitimate owners. She's supposed to be ruthless and excellent at her job.

    Meanwhile, Thomas Crown is playing golf - a game at which he excels. People there respect him and call him Tommy. He likes important bets.

    Eddy checks the backgrounds of the customers and workers in the back and the hotel, but nothing is found. Vicki says that it's important to understand the personality of the crime, which reflects the personality of the criminal. She also says that she'll earn 10% of the money she recovers. The total amount stolen was 2,600,000. Thomas Crown is chilling out and flying his own airplane. His girlfriend worries about his careless manouvers.

    Vicki realises that the accomplices didn't know each other before, so that they didn't know their boss as well. She wants to place an ad asking for somebody to come forward and claim the money. Checking all high-earning bank workers, Vicki pays attention to Thomas Crown, who only worked for six months - years ago- at the bank. His luxiurious appearance calls her attention. She records him playing polo, and she feels that he's her man.

    Tommy and his friend Sandy (Biff McGuire) go to an auction. Thomas buys some lithographs which Vicki wanted, and then he gives them to Vicki. She tells him that she is investigating the bank robbery. In spite of that, he invites her to have dinner with him. Eddy doesn't understand why a man who has earned 4 million dollars is so eager to steal two more millions. Vicki thinks that the reason is emotion, a purpose.

    The wife of a Long Island salesman denounces her husband because of the 25,000 reward. Erwin Weaver (Jack Weston), the detective-looking man, uses 5,000 dollars paid by Thomas Crown to pay off the ransom of his son Jimmy Weaver (Leonard Caron). It was just a trick by Vicki and a disapproving Eddy, to make sure that Erwin has some unexplained extra money. Erwin talks, but he doesn't know much. Anyway, Vicki is not interested in him, but in Crown, as she will only collect her fee if she returns the money.

    Crown wonders at the announcement that the carpet at his exquisite mansion is being renovated. At that very moment, he was saying to Sandy that he's bored, so he may take off for a sabbatical year travelling around the world. He picks Vicki up, and Erwin is there. Eddy and Vicki ask Erwin if he recognises Crown. Vicki admits that Thomas Crown has won this fight. Vicki goes with him to his "deserted old" home. She makes a mental note of everything. While having some brandy, she wonders that it'd be a pity that he have to abandon it all. Vicki moves around as a lioness around her prey, and she stares at a chess game. When he asks her whether she can play, she dares him to play. So they play a game of chess. It's difficult for me to describe the faces of these two characters, their looks at each other, and the sexual tension which hovers over this game of chess. She is about to win, so he pulls her close and they kiss each other, suggesting that they play at "something else". They french kiss and it's implied that they make love.

    Vicki tells Eddy that she's caught Thomas. She is exultant thinking that he's about to fall on her trap. She goes on dating him. Eddy is outraged that she's using herself as a bait. Vicki wants to keep on investigating like that. She gives him a birthday present, a sign which says "Think dirty".

    Thomas Crown points to Vicki the men she's paying to follow him. She says that, lately, following him means also following her, and that she doesn't like it. Thomas gets rid of one of his followers, making him look like a drunk driver. That man was Danny (Patrick Horgan), from the Criminal Department.

    Vicki and Thomas keep on watching each other. She's getting nervous, because it's difficult to catch him. It looks like they are falling in love with each other. They even visit the tomb of the relative of Thomas. In the sauna, she tries to convince him that neither the insurance company nor the government will let him spend his money; he will have to run away for life. She convinces him to reach a deal with the government, but Eddy refuses, point blank. He says that he's got everything that he needs. Another day, in bed, he says that he can rob another bank, and tells her to stay clear, as a witness, while he tries to beat the system at its own game.

    Eddy complains that public funds are being used by Vicki to join the high life. That night, at a beach barbecue, he tells her that he's going to rob another night. He just wants her to wait for him at the meeting point. He tells her that he needs to know what side she's in. Vicki cries because he's testing her and she realises that.

    Cut to another bank which is also moving a lot of money from its headquarters. The method used is similar to the first robbery, although this time the powder used to create confusion is yellow. Vicki has told Eddy the meeting point. Somebody has left something at the rubbish bin in the cemetery. Vicki is nervous through their wait for Thomas Crown to appear. Eddy is getting impatient but Vicki reassures him. The same bell rings. A funeral car appears, at exactly the same time that Thomas' Rolls also drives on. The police jump at the Rolls. A telegram boy gives a note to Vicki. He says that he's taking the money with him and that she can keep the car. Vicki almost cries when she tears up the telegram.

    At that moment, Thomas is flying away, leaving the United States forever.

    CREDITS roll back.

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