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Thief (1981)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  27 March 1981 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 10,208 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 95 user | 55 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

Becoming closer to his dream of leading a normal life, a professional safecracker agrees to do a job for the mafia, who have other plans for him.

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(novel), (screen story), 1 more credit »
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Title: Thief (1981)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Jessie
...
Okla
...
Barry
...
Leo
Tom Signorelli ...
Attaglia
...
Carl
Nick Nickeas ...
Nick
W.R. Brown ...
Mitch (as W.R. [Bill] Brown)
Norm Tobin ...
Guido
John Santucci ...
Urizzi
Gavin MacFadyen ...
Boreksco
Chuck Adamson ...
Ancell
Sam Cirone ...
Martello
Spero Anast ...
Bukowski
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Storyline

Frank is an expert professional safecracker, specializing in high-profile diamond jobs. After having spent many years in prison, he has a very concrete picture of what he wants out of life--including a nice home, a wife, and kids. As soon as he is able to assemble the pieces of this collage, by means of his chosen profession, he intends to retire and become a model citizen. In an effort to accelerate this process, he signs on to take down a huge score for a big-time gangster. Unfortunately, Frank's obsession for his version of the American Dream allows him to overlook his natural wariness and mistrust, when making the deal for his final job. He is thus ensnared and robbed of his freedom, his independence, and, ultimately, his dream. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prison | heist | money | safecracker | criminal | See more »

Taglines:

Tonight, his take home pay is $410,000...tax free.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Thief  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,300,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The vault which James Caan's character breaks into in the opening scene was a real vault, purchased at a cost of $10,000, specifically so that Caan could break into it, using the tools and techniques supplied by John Santucci. Every crew member was armed with a fire extinguisher in case of a blaze from the intense heat of the thermal lance. Caan later remarked that although many elements of John Santucci found their way into the character of Frank, he resisted doing a straight impersonation of the boisterous Santucci. See more »

Goofs

When Frank visits Tatallia's office at the plating company, the door hinges are on the left. After Frank leaves, the door hinges are on the right. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Knowles: I see on your application here - by the way, you misspelled mail, it's M-A-L-E, the other's what we put in post boxes - I see you put under employer: 1959 to 1976, Joliet State Penitentiary.
Frank: Yes.
Mrs. Knowles: You worked for the state, I take it?
Frank: After a fashion.
Mrs. Knowles: And what did you do at the prison?
Frank: Desks. I, uh, I spot-welded desks, and then I got promoted to shoes.
Mrs. Knowles: You were in charge of the shop?
Frank: Lady, I was a convict, I was doing time.
Mrs. Knowles: You were what?
Jessie: Frank, let's go.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Clockers (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

a real classic!
21 October 2001 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

Even though this film was made only a little over two decades ago, I consider it a film-noir classic! James Caan said once that this was the film he was in that he was proudest of next to The Godfather. I remember that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel said this was one of the finest films of 1981. Caan is wonderful in a role that he was born to play, a tough guy with his heart on his sleeve. Everything about this film is wonderful from the musical score by Tangerine Dream to the dark lighting effects to the authentic detail about the life of a thief ( I read that Michael Mann actually used real life thieves as technical advisors to this film!). Even though Caan's character is an anti-hero, you have to feel sorry for him because he is caught in a situation where there is no way out! The best scene in the film is where he tells Tuesday Weld about his prison experiences and shows here the picture cut out that he has made of his American dream. Jimmy Caan is truly awesome, he is the only actor that ever made me cry (in Brian's Song) I also wanted to mention another great character actor who is in the film. His name is Robert Prosky and he plays the mob boss who uses Caan. This was his film debut after many years as a stage actor and he is terrific. Watch the scene in the acid plant where he threatens Caan. He is really chilling! Michael Mann created Crime Story and Miami Vice and he also directed Manhunter, but lets not forget this film as well.


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