The Italian Job (1969) Poster

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8/10
"It is a work of genius."
The_Movie_Cat18 January 2001
In a sense I was disappointed to find that I actually liked The Italian Job. For after decades of imitations and student new-lad pub bores crowbarring "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" into conversation, I was all prepared to hate it.

Yet The Italian Job is a good film. A very good film in fact. First-class direction, all pans and upshot angles, and slyly political, though its "Cool Britannia" ethos almost seems to parody devotees of the Union Jack. Anyone watching this film for reconfirmation of the Empire is mistaken, though the team's final downfall notably comes from the only non-Caucasian member.

The humour is self-conscious, but never so that it goes too far; it's always witty. Michael Caine is the archetype Michael Caine, all pointing finger and raised-voice declarations, the version mimics love to portray. Noël Coward is able support in a straightish role, though the wonderful Benny Hill parodies his own image, thus diluting his already fine (And misunderstood) ironic take on the sexual pervert.

Screen realism is not an issue here, with a Mafia cameo who are hardly Don Corleone. Women are also marginalised, with only Maggie Blye getting a largish role as Caine's girlfriend, Lorna. This is the same girlfriend who hires six women to help celebrate his release from prison, and refers to fellow womankind as "birds". Yet while the film is a "boys only" club, it's far from a testosterone-led car chase, as Coward's appearance should attest. And what makes the final climatic chase so rewarding is that it's carefully, and intelligently, set up. The film is metaphorical where you wouldn't expect it to be, and well-acted all round.

All of which leaves me struggling for a way to end this review. Hang on a minute, lads, I've got an idea -
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8/10
A cultural masterpiece
The_Void26 October 2004
The Italian Job is one of the best-loved British classics ever made. Most people in my home country of Britain have seen the film many times (most of those times spent drinking tea and speaking like the queen, of course), but there's more than enough for audiences from other countries to like about this delightful thriller as well. As you almost certainly already know, The Italian Job stars Michael Caine as the criminal at the centre of the job, dubbed 'The Italian Job' (would you believe). Caine is iconic in this film; his voice and mannerisms are often imitated, and it is this film that is probably most responsible for that. The plot follows Charlie Croker (Caine), a freshly released crook that, with a tip off from a deceased friend, decides to steal £4 million from Italy. However, it's not an easy job and there are many risks involved, so the job must be astutely planned and flawlessly executed for it to work right - and it is there that the film really takes off.

The Italian Job is well remembered for two things, the first of which is the Mini's. This is the film that made Mini's cool, so as you might expect, there is a fair amount of stunt work involving the Mini, a lot of which is truly spectacular - these little cars can be seen driving up stairs, onto and across roofs, through shopping centres, flying over various chasms etc and it's all very exciting. The second thing that it is remembered for is, of course, the line - "you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!", which is one of the most quoted of all time. The film's impact on popular culture has been immense, and that line's impact in particular is legendary; people that don't know the film know that line, and I dare say that a lot of them quote it even. It's up there with 'I'll be back' or 'that' line from Dirty Harry. The film also highlights a lot of British culture, most notably the reaction to something going right. English patriotism is a little different to the American version - while in America, the whole country may be united under the stars and stripes, very apple pie-like; England is much more content to chant a little inside of a prison. I know which version I prefer.

I could waffle on all day about this film, but we've both got better things to do, I'm sure so I'll finish by commenting on the ending; which is, simply, sublime and a perfect way to end the film; funny, well executed and absolutely genius. Well played.
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Just the job!
FilmFlaneur1 May 2002
Troy Kennedy Martin, its scriptwriter, has described the central significance of the mini cooper in Peter Collinson's cult heist movie. Perkily speeding through the streets of Turin, it represents the then New Britain: `laddish, self-confident and not taking itself too seriously'. The image of the weaving, dodging, red white and blue cars is the film's abiding one. Outside of their use in the prolonged escape scenes, and several splendid comic moments elsewhere, it remains entertaining, even if surprisingly slight.

Often seen as a quintessential sixties' movie, ‘The Italian Job' is more precisely a definition (or one definition) of Britishness as an optimistic nation at the height of a chic decade. In this atmosphere, pulling a job – or a bird – is practically a national duty. Robbery is considered by Croker and Bridger as a means to `help with the country's balance of payments'. The ultra-patriotic Mr Bridger (a splendidly aristocratic Noel Coward, his cell walls pasted with pictures of royalty) sees the job as much a matter of national pride, a means to demonstrate the efficiency of the British system of work, than a route to amass loot. Characteristically Bridger is more interested in studying balance of payment statistics than examining escape routes for his operatives who appropriately enough travel to their ‘work' on the Free Enterprise 1.

The reference to football is significant and parallels with the sport are deliberate. Most obviously, the robbery is planned for the time of an England-Italy match maximising confusion and even,(as Bridger suggests at one point), possible help from their compatriots. Croker's men at one point assume the identity of a van full of fans, while the impromptu beer celebration in the back of the coach, after ditching the minis, is the team's victory drink. It is clear that the Italians, whether the police or the Mafia, are as much their opponents as the national team playing in the stadium. Back in prison, upon news of the triumph by his ‘team', Bridger descends the stairs, like a penal Alf Ramsey, acknowledging the chants of ‘England!' by celebrating fans.

Caine's cockney player is very much the main character of the film (a role apparently – and amazingly – originally offered to Robert Redford). The actor, who had earlier played the soliliquising womaniser Alfie in the 1966 film of the same name, reprises some elements of that character's optimism and assumptiveness. In the present film he is less of cynical loner, studiously subservient to his criminal employer, though still on the look out for a good thing both professionally and sexually. Like his more famous compatriot, James Bond, he drives an Aston Martin although quickly reduced to a bicycle and then a mini. The Mafia's cliff-side warning dents some of his self assurance, presumably also shaken by the roughing up from Bridger's men (although interestingly the beating is never referred to again, and leaves no physical marks.) Away from his boss he remains very much his own man, although his loyalty is never in doubt: `From now on we work as a team. Which means you all listen to me.' Crocker is always in control, never sentimental, being content to pack his girlfriend off with the minimum of ceremony at the airport. Emotion will slowly filter through Caine's screen persona. His watching of Beckermann's footage early on, to explain the big idea, anticipates Jack Carter's less dispassionate viewing of celluloid in Hodges' gangster film two years later.

Before the long, final chase ensues, the gang's Aston and two Jags are ceremoniously wasted by the Mafia. While making a simple point about the threat and power of the Italian underworld, the removal of ‘competing' vehicles also reaffirms the status of the remaining minis. Ironically if the film has a weakness, it lies in the mini's prominence, which reduces tension during the last part of the film. The stunts remain eye-catching today (the notable roof top jump being filmed on the roof of the Fiat factory), but very often one is aware of watching a demonstration of the vehicle's versatility rather than any dramatic bid for freedom. In one scene filmed, later deleted from the release print, the minis and their Italian pursuers performed gracefully together on an ice rink choreographed to a waltz, slowing the action even further. That such a scene was considered, and filmed, gives an indication of how taken the makers had been with the car, and with the *means* rather than the *process* of urgent escape.

Another less satisfactory element of the plot is the disappearing Mafia. Initially presented as a formidable, organised force (as in their synchronised appearance on the hill side for instance), the Italian hoods are sidelined as events unfold, criminal impotents. Their absence from the finale seems odd. With or without the Cosa Nostra's malign shadow, the existing conclusion of the film has excited much comment. With its famous shot of the coach balanced out over the precipice, the gold sliding towards its back end, and Croker's closing `I've got a great idea..', it is a literal cliff hanger. The original script tailed off with the escape, and another twist in the tail was clearly needed. After some debate a studio executive added the existing close, which could easily have appeared lame, but in the event proves a satisfying conclusion. By leaving the coach – and the viewer – hanging, the film has it both ways: the crooks get away with it and yet they don't; a group of white British lads triumph in their cool minis, only to have their plans derailed by a careless black driver of their coach. If the film has been about the state of ‘Britishness' at the time then the uncertainty of its conclusion anticipates, perhaps, the doubts and strife of the ensuing decades.
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Absolutely perfect, flawed, stupid, evening's entertainment
ProfessorPeach28 August 2001
So who can NOT like The Italian Job? Well, I can't speak for those who are not Anglophiles, but I suspect everybody who has ever called themselves British will love it. Sure, it has holes the size of Matron's stockings in it's plot and there are any number of errors apparant in the script and screenplay (Well, we all know that Mini's don't have a rear differential) and the true fanatics (such as myself) are all too aware of the continuity on-screen (that was a heavily disguised Lancia Flaminia that went off the cliff- Well, did you really think it was a REAL Aston DB4? See "Hammer House" for where that turned up). I could go on, as I usually do, about inconsitencies and so forth, but, by God, I have seen the Italian Job in just about every format it was ever shown and I love it all the same. There are no slow parts, every bit is important to the plot, the soundtrack is legendary (only available now after many, many years on CD. Got it before it was on CD and cost a lot; typical!) and is so quotable ("You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!") as to haunt Michael Caine forever more. You'll love it, wherever you come from!
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8/10
A rollicking heist flick with the best car chase ever put on film
sme_no_densetsu6 September 2008
"The Italian Job" is a comedic heist film that is mostly renowned for the extended car chase getaway. In it, a thief recently released from prison (Michael Caine) organizes a scheme to steal a shipment of gold bars by creating a massive traffic jam and using a trio of Mini Coopers to escape with the loot.

The cast is pretty decent with the always dependable Caine perfectly cast as charismatic thief Charlie Croker, Noel Coward as the incarcerated backer of the titular job and Benny Hill in a small role as a computer expert obsessed with plump women. Besides that there's no-one worth remarking on and not much acting that isn't up to snuff.

The script is bold and inventive with much of the humour being understated and unpredictable. The heist itself is clever but the staging of the getaway is a real work of art. Again, there is an inventiveness that is quite refreshing. Nevertheless, I was starting to get a little tired of waiting for the heist to be set in motion. Finally, the ending caps the proceedings in memorable fashion.

The direction by Peter Collinson is solid and above average for an action-comedy. The music, handled by Quincy Jones, is memorable but also characteristic of the era, meaning that it is unlikely to appeal to all tastes.

If you're looking for a lighthearted crime caper this is just the ticket. I particularly recommend the film since it includes what is, in my opinion, the best car chase ever filmed.
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8/10
What a ride!
Jey-and-Mina3 January 2003
This thing starts moving and doesn't let go of you until the end, at which point you wish you were still on the ride going. We were surprised that we'd never herd of this before, especially since so many scenes are in video games these days (and times past).

This isn't one of those movies you spend your time thinking about, just sit down, watch, and let the movie unfold before you. If you're looking for good entertainment, this is it. If you are looking for meaning and some sort of significance, look elsewhere.

Good fast fun! 8/10
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More humor than the re-make.
lima-226 May 2004
A year after I saw the remake, I finally got to see the original for the first time. This movie was released during my freshman year in college, but I certainly don't remember it ever being in any local theaters. From a 35-year hindsight perspective, it has an "Austin Powers" feel to it, primarily because of the sound track and the period-attire worn by the players. The 2003 re-make has a more imaginative yet believable plot, while this original has a sly, tongue-in-cheek undertone of humor to it. Benny Hill as the computer-geek obsessed with "large-boned women" is a real hoot! I think that sub-plot could have been played out further in the form of it creating more complications for master planner Michael Caine. Although I like "Marky" Mark Wahlberg and most of his movies, Michael Caine imbued the Charlie Croker role with more personality. The mini-Coopers are still the centerpiece of both movies, though: good chase scenes! This movie has merits that the re-make does not, and vice versa. It's hard not to compare the two, but try watching both again, as individual movies.
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Not a great film – but a classic caper movie that never fails to cheer me up
bob the moo13 June 2002
At the behest of Mr Bridger, Charlie Croker puts together a crew to pull of a massive job. The job is to rob an armoured car on the streets of Turin and then get away clean. The plan involves explosives a traffic jam, a football match and a load of mini coopers.

I watched this recently on TV – it was shown the night before England played Argentina in World Cup 2002 (1-0, Argentina then dropped put in the first round!). The reason it was shown was simply that it's strength is that it's a good caper movie where the Brits go over there and put one over on the Italians! It may smack of zenophobia but that's what it is!

The criminals even go so far as to use Mini's for the job – in the most famous scene of the film, making them cool for decades! The reason it was shown before the game was just to feed on the fact that national pride was high. Even if you ignore the British element (the song `self preservation society' is now even a football anthem) then it's still quite fun to watch. The build up to the job is breezy and funny with good lines, while the job itself is fanciful but great fun.

The ending must be known to everyone – but it's still good no matter how many times you see it! The cast are all good – with a range of British TV faces in there bringing a distinct British comedy. Caine is great, as are Coward and Hill but the real stars are the Mini's and the daring comedic race across Turin.

Overall this is not a great film – but it is a classic caper movie. It's made even better by the fact that it makes you proud to be British in a weird way! Say it with me my friends – `hang on lads, I've got an idea……..'
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8/10
So very British
bensonmum220 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
  • Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) has been out of prison for less than five minutes when he begins planning his next heist. This one involves robbing an armored car filled with gold in the streets of Turin, Italy. But, it's not just the police that Croker and Crew must contend with. The Mafia doesn't want some outsider to come into their country and steal gold out from under their noses either. The job becomes similar to the football match the Crew uses as a cover - it's about national pride.


  • It's amazing that I had never seen this movie before. I understand that in Britain, it's considered nothing short of a national treasure. After watching, I can certainly see why. Everything about The Italian Job just screams Britannia - the Minis, the song with lyrics that are indecipherable to most Americans, Michael Caine, sensibilities, etc. I don't think that the colors selected for the Minis was an accident. About half way through, I felt like stopping the movie to make tea.


  • The actual theft of the gold is fairly unremarkable. But the chase afterwards is where a lot of the fun in this movies lays. The Minis are characters in their own right. The final third of the movie is the most amazing commercial for an automobile I've ever seen. We see the Minis go down stairs, jump through the air, race across the roofs of buildings, splash through water, swoosh through tunnels, and (if you watch the deleted scenes on the Region 1 DVD) waltz on ice. Sometimes these extended car chase scenes can go on too long for their own good. Not here. I was never bored of watching the Minis race around Turin.


  • I loved the ending. It is left wide open for you, the viewer, to decide just what happens next. Too many newer movies seem to feel the need to explain everything in the most minute detail. It's nice to use your imagination for a change.


  • Finally, the music is another highlight of the movie. It seems a little odd that a movie I have described being very British should have the very American Quincy Jones responsible for the score. I defy anyone to watch The Italian Job and not have Getta Bloomin' Move On! stuck in your head for days.
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The Original - There is no comparison.
wharfmatt6 July 2004
It is unfortunate that the 2003 film was released with the same name as the 1969 film because it clouds the (unsophisticated) mind with subjective judgment. For everyone who compares the two films - stop! The original was filmed in a different time period and the viewer must make a conscious effort to put him/herself in that state of mind to understand it. The film is pure entertainment, and it accomplishes that with humor and some clever stunts. As viewers, we need to be objective and aware of the differences that have arisen on so many levels as the years have passed.

For those who complain that the premise of the heist is not realistic, it was never supposed to be. Consider that if it had been intended as a realistic portrayal, the crooks would have killed those in their way and taken the loot without concern for collateral damage. The existing plot kept the mood decidedly "all in good fun."

Michael Caine made as good a performance as ever in this film. It is fun for fans of him to see the many different roles he has undertaken in his prolific career.
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8/10
" Everyone in the world is bent! "
thinker169119 June 2007
Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) is a lovable, fashionable convict who despite having served five years in prison, is immediately engaged to accepting an "Italian Job" in Italy and in the process, completing the intricate crime of a lifetime. A short but very interesting film about an Italian town called Turin, is sent to him by a good friend and marked man called Beckerman (Rossano Brazzi). The film instructs Croker to take the accumulated plans, get a financial backer and pull off what Beckerman describes as a $4,000,000 gold robbery, through a traffic jam. The minor problems are explained but easily overcome by Bekerman's meticulous plans. However, the main obstacles to the bank heist are no trivial matter. Croker will be up against the highly sophisticated armored convoy with its armed guards, the 'special security' system of the bank, and an entire city in Chaos. Additionally the shipment will be protected by the biggest obstacle of all The Mafia (Raf Vallone). They warn Charlie, if he attempts to steal the gold, he will be sent back to England in a pine box. To his credit, Charlie wins over the confidence of England's version of the Godfather, Mr. Bridger (Noel Coward who is superb.) To further aid Croker, he assembles an odd assortment of characters such as Professor Simon Peach. (Benny Hill who is wonderful) and Stanley Cain as Coco. The entire film is dedicated to the fact that even the most secure treasures can be stolen. However, hanging onto them, crossing the Alps and getting back home is subject to the Law of Gravity. A serious and comic film destined to become a classic, especially with it's haunting theme. ****
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6/10
Hang on lads, I've got a great idea for a film
Sonatine9724 August 2002
A film remembered very much for its quirky ending and amazing car stunts in the middle of Turin, Italy, The Italian Job does a half-decent job to entertain us with light hearted comedy, thrills, spills and average story.

However, I rather think the film would've disappeared had it not been for the charismatic weightiness of the relatively new British actor, Michael Caine. Already well known in the UK from previous films such as Zulu & Alfie, and it particular for his portrayal of Harry Palmer in a succession of spy movies (Ipcress File and Funeral In Berlin) Caine was still largely an unknown on the internation circuit, particularly in Hollywood.

The Italian Job offered Caine the opportunity to shine across the world and move him into super stardom as the cheeky Cockney with a heart of gold and roguish character. Caine has a very interesting presence on screen, a kind of British version of Robert Redford. He looks very self assured, perhaps a touch arrogant but he has the capabilities of either lifting a poor film into a competent one or dragging a goood film down to an average one based purely on his own strengths & weaknesses.

The Italian Job, therefore, is very much an average film even if one includes the stunts & chases. But Caine's marvellous character lifts the movies to a more pleasing one because his character is so large & rounded that even though we know he is very much a dodgy criminal by nature he isn't really a nasty evil man and so we can relate to him and cheer him on all the way through the movie.

I didn't really like Noel Coward's role at all as the Mr Bridger, the highly respected prisoner/criminal overlord that even the prison Governor has to respect. To me it was an embarressment and only served to distract the viewer and slow the pace of the film right down. Coward is far too pompous & boorish and added nothing to the movie at all.

Some of the supporting characters, Benny Hill, Robert Powell, Irene Handl & John Le Measurier are quite familiar to the great majority of UK tv viewers but don't really do themselves much justice in this film, with the possible exception of Hill and his passion for "large" ladies, which would in future years develop into his own TV show "Benny Hill Show".

Although the story is ok it soon becomes bogged down with too many distractions & seems to take for ever to get moving. And of course because this is primarily a British made film with a lot of UK actors the largely Cockney accent from most of the cast does irritate, even to other UK ears.

But again Caine's presence makes us forget about these little faults and all of a sudden the film becomes interesting again. But really this film is far too dependent on those car chases and "that" ending to really make for an enjoyable experience.

What the 2003 version of this film will look like I have no idea, but I suspect it will fall flat on its face very much in the same way the Hollywood remake of another British classic, Get Carter, died a quiet death two years ago.

The Italian Job is ok for a boring Sunday afternoon viewing, but take away Caine and you don't have much to think about.

**/*****
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1/10
Must be a generational thing
cate_smiles31 August 2003
I'm not usually into submitting reviews on films, however I just had to for this movie. I and a few friends went to see the 2003 version of The Italian Job a few weeks ago, and it was reasonably enjoyable, so we decided to watch the original, which we had been told was absolutely brilliant. After sitting through the entire thing (which took some doing - if it hadn't been for the minis I would have fast forwarded large chunks of it) I've come to the conclusion that it must be a generational thing. It must be understandable to those who watched it when it first came out, and not to others. Even allowing for the 60's fashions and the outdated computers, this is a terrible movie. It goes nowhere, and does nothing. Charlie's offsiders are terribly pathetic - they can't seem to do anything right. And the bus driver - don't get me started!! You mean to tell me that he wouldn't know that swinging a dirty great bus like that, with a whole heap of gold and a dozen men in it, from side to side would get him a tad out of control! What an idiot! And Charlie (Michael Caine) even more so for not telling him to control himself till they're home free! I really don't like movies which have non-endings. So, in my humble, post-1969 opinion, this is a bad movie, and I'm very glad I'm not studying it so I don't have to watch it again.
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You will believe a Mini Cooper can fly.
Gromit218 February 2001
This is listed as my favorite movie. 2 reasons, a pretty good story, and some of the best driving and stunts you'll ever see, done in Mini Coopers. The story is a basic "caper plot" with some decent performances from some great talent. but the real stars are the Mini Coopers. Many people do not realize that these cars were not heavily modified, they only had a skid plate/ski added to protect the sump. All the stunts were real (outstanding driving from Reme Julliene's stunt team) and even the traffic jam was real. It's also a fun period piece, complete with score by Quincy Jones. See it, if for no other reason than to find out how the humble Mini won the Monte Carlo 3 times, and was voted European Car of The Century.
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9/10
Just like the cars, they don't make movies like this anymore.
cobram-117 August 2001
If you like cars.....this movie is for you. If you like comedies....this movie is for you. If you like movies without awkward pauses....this movie is for you. If you like a movie you can lose yourself in...this movie is for you. This movie is just plain old fashioned fun. No deep political or social comments, no political correctness, no BS, just a good old fashioned romp with an ending that really "leaves you hanging". Being a car fanatic, I had to watch this movie three times before I could get past the hardware and pay attention to the plot! Plunk your whole family down in front of the TV and enjoy, there's something for everyone in this flick.
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1/10
Horrible! Boring! Stupid! Waste of time!
kiraboo31 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This was one of the worst movies I've ever seen! I was shocked at how bad it was. One of the stupidest plots ever, with ridiculous situations that made no sense (ie, with all their intricate planning, why was it so hard for them to get away from the police?). Michael Caine was totally wasted- it seemed like the director just said "Act angry the whole time". Plot lines went nowhere- the girlfriend just disappeared halfway through the movie, never to be seen again. What kind of movie were they trying to make? Comedy? Crime drama? Wacky farce? They couldn't seem to decide- there was lighthearted, goofy music at times, other times it was quite violent (ie, the clubbing of the guards). Massive quantities of illogic and/or breaking the laws of physics that were impossible to ignore (ie, the whole bus scene at the end). Even the enjoyment of watching cute little Mini Coopers couldn't make up for all the garbage that this movie contained. Watch the newer one instead- it's vastly better.
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1/10
Awful
hector-41 January 2005
I watched this film (not for the 1st time) on television on the last day of 2004. I hope the day of judgement is not nigh as I would hate it to be the last film I ever saw! I think this is the most over-rated film I have ever seen. With one or two exceptions, Raf Vallone and Michael Caine (though far from his best) the acting was disgraceful. The dialogue was laughable and not very funny. Difficult to believe that Troy Kennedy Martin was seriously trying to be funny! Those silly scenes with the doll-like girls who were probably considered the height of sexiness in the 1960's and the whole business of Noel Coward's 'Mr. Big' was ludicrous to the extreme. It was a truly awful film with a waste of not much talent and a whole gaggle of supporting actors who were incapable of rising above the rubbishy lines they were given. I laughed not once, I winced continually. Altogether a pretty poor show! I know that you should not take these plots seriously but this was impossible to even accept as a joke. Derek Crawley Bexhill-on-Sea UK
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2/10
let down
spamcommode22 April 2009
Great locations.

Noel Coward has a too brief run played with parody to fine effect.

BUT

Longfellow would agree with me: when Michael Caine is bad he his horrid. Not that MC had much to work with, I dare say. Dreadful dialogue to the effect of: "listen to me" (repeated throughout the proceedings) or "they're gaining on us."

Fans of Bullitt, Gone In 60 Seconds and Smokey And The Bandit will get hard over the tedious, gimmicky car chases.

The women in the film are treated with disdain and disrespect.

The male sub-characters in the film are so unrecognizable and unlikeable that they make the sub-characters in Reservoir Dogs (another overrated movie) look like Curtin in The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre.

Speaking of, the ending is nicked from The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre.

The upcoming DVD release is rumoured to feature TWO audio commentary tracks which will undoubtedly contain piles of apologies from the knobs involved.

Stick with gold-thieving British caper comedies with Sir Alec Guinness like The Lavender Hill Mob instead.
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8/10
A fun caper comedy and British satire
SimonJack28 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Having commented on the 2003 remake of this movie, I thought I should also review the original – after watching it again. I noted that the 2003 version is good as well, but it is all crime without the comedy, and it's almost all "high tech." The plot of this original does rely on technology – a switched computer tape that runs the city of Turin's traffic system. But, that's taken care of in a few minutes of the film. The rest is a plot of planning, maneuvering and action with interludes of miscues. This is among the earliest films to use a high-tech device in its plot. Before this time, the most commonly used plots with technical devices were security alarm systems in museums and cameras in banks.

Humor is interspersed in all this. It's a British movie filmed in Ireland, England, the city of Turin, Italy, and the Italian Alps. Michael Caine is Charlie Croker, a local bad boy who has just finished two years in the slammer. Noel Coward is Mr. Bridger, the imprisoned king of corruption in Great Britain. Croker has to get Bridger's organization to back the biggest heist of all time -- $4 million in gold. Raf Vallone is Altabani, the Italian mafia leader who's out to stop the British heist.

Besides being a very good comedy caper film, "The Italian Job" (1969) is one heck of a satire of the British penal system. Every scene back at the prison with Mr. Bridger is hilarious. This is the funniest and best mockery portrayal of a big time criminal living the life of royalty in a prison. The film has a large cast of men involved in the heist, but the vast bulk of dialog, scene time and humor is with the three main characters.

The cinematography is excellent and the filming and scripting of the car chase scenes is among the best of that type of action ever filmed. Mr. Bridger's loyalty to Great Britain and the royal family is the cause of some good laughs a few times. Croker saves the lives of his crew when Altabani and his Mafia men intercept them coming into Italy over the Alps. He tells Altabani that if the Mafia kills him and his men, Bridge's organization would come down on the thousands of Italian restaurants and other businesses in Great Britain.

The Mafia is protective of Italy's economy, while Bridger also is interested in bolstering England's lagging economy by causing the hit on Italy's economy through the heist. It's all quite funny. There are some instances of innuendo about Croker and his love life, and a few otherwise clean jokes in places that only the older children are likely to get. So, this is a film that the whole family should enjoy. I think one of the very best scenes is the ending. It's the perfect "unending" to leave an audience to wonder if the old adage is true – that "crime does not pay."
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10/10
A Witty And Intelligent Caper Film
Desertman844 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The Italian Job is a British caper film that tells a story of flashy and fast romp that chases a team of career criminals throughout one of the biggest international gold heists in history.It stars Michael Caine together with Noël Coward,Benny Hill,Raf Vallone and Tony Beckley.It was written by Troy Kennedy Martin, produced by Michael Deeley and directed by Peter Collinson.

Charlie Croker is a stylish robber and ladies man that just out of prison. He returns to becoming a career criminal upon release by taking over the "The Italian Job" - a complicated plan to hijack gold bullion from Italy during the presence of the Italian Police and the Mafia. It seems that Croker lack the experience for such a big heist and that complicates the situation after the supposed leader got murdered.But Croker turns to the eccentric Mr. Bridger,who provides him with a group of career criminals with certain specialties such as computer hackers,bank robbers, hijackers, and getaway drivers.

This was definitely cool film back in the 60's.It was an unpretentious caper comedy.Added to that,the different characters involved and the different type of criminals with different sets of expertise makes it witty and entertaining.No question that the witty dialogues and one-liners adds charm and appeal to it.Finally,it is a smoothly entertaining and slyly intelligent crowd-pleasing type of film that will never go out of style.
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10/10
A Great British crime comedy
Tweekums8 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Mr Beckerman worked hard to plan the perfect crime but unfortunately for him he has an 'accident' in the opening minutes of the film; that isn't the end of the plan though as his widow takes it to Charlie Croker. Charlie has just got out of Wormwood Scrubs but finds himself breaking back in to get permission from Mr Bridger, a suave and patriotic crime boss, to go ahead with the job. Once he has is permission he assembles a team and heads to Italy where they will have to evade the local police and the Mafia, create gridlock in the City of Turin, hold up an armoured car full of gold then drive out of the city along a carefully planned route in three Mini Coopers.

This is one of the great caper movies; the plot may be fairly simple but the execution is a delight. After Beckerman's fatal prologue the film shows its true comedy colours as Croker is picked up from outside The Scrubs in the Pakistani Ambassador's car which his girlfriend had stolen. From then on the film is packed with laugh out loud moments that never seem forced. Once the robbery starts things get fairly exciting and the chase involving the crooks in their three Minis being chased by the Italian Police is one of the all time classic chase scenes; they drive through a shopping arcade, down some church steps, across a weir and even through a sewer. Once they are out of the city and transferred the gold to the bus it looks like they are home and dry but the famous ending is literally a cliff-hanger that leaves it up to the viewer to decide whether or not they got away with it.

The cast do a fine job; I can't imagine anybody but Michael Caine in the role of Charlie and the supporting cast, which featured some very well known names including Noel Coward, John Le Mesurier and Benny Hill did a fine job too. Obviously if you think about what happens too much you'll spot plot holes but that doesn't matter as it is meant to be a fun caper not a serious drama and without some plot holes it wouldn't work as well as a comedy. The car chase is one of the best I've ever seen; featuring some great stunts that looked genuinely dangerous. If you want a good laugh you could do a lot worse than this; it still feels fresh after over forty years and there is little to offend so it can be enjoyed by all the family... so long as you don't object to having heroes who are crooks!
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Cut to the Chase
tonstant viewer15 March 2001
This film is like a blunt, bottom-drawer impression of a John Huston caper (a long way after) with its shaggy-dog ending. The dialogue strains persistently but always falls short - perhaps Martin's screenplay for "Kelly's Heroes" the following year got polished by someone else. I did like his script for "Edge of Darkness" but not this.

The fat humor is bankrupt and threadbare, the Italians are cartoons and the sole non-white in the cast is the only one of the team to let the side down, which leaves a bad aftertaste. Peter Collinson directed coarsely with his usual trowel.

It's fun to see Noel Coward play the Queen Mum, and Fred Emney is pungent as the aged football fan, but Michael Caine looks more desperate than his character has to, and I don't blame him. Remy Julienne's car team shows more variety of expression.

The caper itself is fun enough, but the characters and events leading up to it are thinner than TP.

Thrills are easy, comedy is hard. The first 50 minutes of this film are a waste of time.

Best bet - skip the setup and cut to the chase.
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1/10
overrated
fatty0530 July 2005
Being English I watched this film expecting to see one of the best Englsh films in history, but I was wrong. It was so boring I couldn't stick through it to the end.

I think this film really shows Its age,the humour is very old fashioned and couldn't really get it, and as for Micheal Caine's acting it isn't as good as everyone says.

I preferred the remake which wasn't the best film in the word, but its a better film than this, the action scene's are better executed maybe because it was made 30 odd years after its predecessor, and the way action sequence's are more doable with CGI and other advances in film making.

maybe seeing the remake first clouded my judgement a little even so its still crap, over all my rating is 1 out 10 and that is purely cause there is no Zero score.
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8/10
What a car chase!
grahamsj314 November 2002
This film has been one of my favorites for years. While it's not overly absorbing or even that well acted, the CAR CHASE towards the end is the absolute BEST I've ever seen (and that INCLUDES Bullitt!). The yarn is about a thief planning to do a heist by creating a massive traffic jam and escaping using small cars able to navigate through "alternative routes". The job is pulled off and the car chase is on. The thieves use Mini-Coopers and lead the Police on one of the greatest car chases ever filmed. They utilize sewers and other very tight places to elude the police. The car chase alone is worth the film but the rest of it is also pretty fair. Look for Michael Caine doing a fine job in this film. Again, this is one of my all-time favorites!
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2/10
Trip back to the swinging sixties : postcard OK but very feeble caper
vostf11 February 2008
The Italian Job has all the good humor and buoyancy of the British TV shows of the sixties. Think the Avengers for instance. Except a TV show can play with nonsense and poor action scenes as a trademark, while in a 90-minutes bona fide caper movie it's bound to be a failure.

Now you can watch the movie only enjoying the swinging sixties spirit it exhales. In that respect you'll not be disappointed. On the other hand if you're looking for suspense, tempo, a sense of rhythm, nice characterizations... you'll be thoroughly distressed as the movie has nothing interesting in it, save the trip back 40 years.

In depth: the movie drags its feet to set up the action, editing in an almost random order scenes where the humor becomes increasingly tired as you get used to it. To put it in a nutshell: cartoon characters with a tilt at spoofing 007 nonchalance make their way in a world where everything is funny and simple. OK that's not a bad thing, but the comedy is fast wooden while the action suffers from it. How can you have a proper caper movie if everything is just fun and no hassle, and eventually not so important? Suspense is never even sidelined, it simply doesn't exist. The story only cashes in on the characters' good time to make things go forward. In the end a very poor movie if you're not a sucker for sixties nostalgia.
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