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The Silent Partner (1978)

1:55 | Trailer
A timid bank teller anticipates a bank robbery and steals the money himself before the crook arrives. When the sadistic crook realizes he's been fooled, he tracks down the teller and engages him in a cat-and-mouse chase for the cash.


Daryl Duke


Curtis Hanson (screenplay by), Anders Bodelsen (based on the novel "Think of a Number" by)
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Elliott Gould ... Miles Cullen
Christopher Plummer ... Reikle
Susannah York ... Julie
Céline Lomez ... Elaine
Michael Kirby ... Charles Packard
Sean Sullivan ... Bank Guard
Ken Pogue ... Detective Willard
John Candy ... Simonsen
Gail Dahms-Bonine ... Louise (as Gail Dahms)
Micheal Donaghue Micheal Donaghue ... Berg (as Michael Donaghue)
Jack Duffy ... Fogelman
Nancy Simmonds ... Girl in Sauna
Nuala Fitzgerald ... Safety Deposit Box Woman
Guy Sanvido Guy Sanvido ... Locksmith
Charlotte Blunt Charlotte Blunt ... Mrs. Packard


A bank teller is held up at gun point in his bank. Luckily for him he receives a clue that this is going to occur and diverts most of the cash into his own safety deposit box, leaving only a nominal amount for the crook. The ruse works well, but for the fact that the crook resents the fact that he has been outsmarted. There ensues a terrific battle of wits involving the clever but basically "moral" teller, and the cunning and totally uninhibited bank robber, which involves several other people in ways which cannot be revealed here. Written by Geoff Jamieson <GJamieso@vitgnos1.telecom.com.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A chilling story interwoven with comedy... sex... terror! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Mick Jagger was considered to play Harry Reikle. See more »


The term "safety deposit box " is used, rather than the correct "safe deposit box". See more »


Miles Cullen: I feel as though I know you very well.
Harry Reikle: Then you know I'm ready to kill you.
See more »


Referenced in From Stereo to Video (2014) See more »


C'mon Downtown
Written and Recorded by Nancy Simmonds
See more »

User Reviews

But He Looks So Harmless
16 July 2017 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Riveting battle of wits. Clever bank teller Cullen (Gould) figures out way to filch cash from bank and get it blamed on a robber (Plummer) who gets away with only a minor amount. Trouble is robber Reikle figures out where the bulk went and decides to harass Cullen into sharing his amount. But Cullen cleverly leads cops to Reikle's flat where they arrest him. Now it looks like Cullen's home free, but is he.

Cullen's a fascinating character. Humorless and nerdy, he appears married to the bank and his big aquarium. But inside that deadpan appearance lurks a calculating brain that knows an opportunity when he sees one. Thus, as Cullen knows, strength can lie in being underestimated as he usually is.

This would seem one of actor Gould's easier assignments since Cullen rarely breaks an expressionless exterior. Nonetheless, the humorless part really requires a lot of self-control, which Gould manages in ace fashion. On the other hand, Plummer doesn't get much screen time, but Reikle's icy stare and mocking voice make an unsettling contrast to Cullen. Girl-wise, the blonde York has a rather thankless role as bank co-worker Julie who sort of likes the diffident teller, but can't figure him out. On the other hand, Cullen seems mildly interested one minute only to turn cold the next as he calculates what his various schemes require. It's really Lomez who gets the plum part as the steamy Elaine. Not bothered by his odd manner, she quickly attaches to the conflicted Cullen who has trouble resisting.

All in all, the plot threads are cleverly woven into a compelling whole, along with an apt ending . And I like the idea of the enclosed but breakable aquarium as a key metaphor. Anyway, the film's an outstanding 110-minutes, whether taken as a solid crime suspenser or as an imaginative character study. Either way, it's highly entertaining.

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Release Date:

16 March 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Silent Partner See more »


Box Office


CAD2,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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