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Film Studies 101
Feature
Become A Heist Films Expert In Ten Easy Movies
Master a genre in just a handful of films

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Become A Heist Films Expert In Ten Easy Movies | The Italian Job (1969)
The Italian Job (1969)

Tagline: “This is the self preservation society”

Take one TV writer, one journeyman director, a van full of odd-ball cameos, some slightly dodgy stereotyping and an innuendo or twelve – and hey presto, you’ve got yourself an indelible slice of cool Britannia. In fairness to director Peter Collinson and writer Troy Kennedy Martin, the action revs along in top gear, the script sings with one-liners (“You must have shot an awful lot of tigers, sir”; “Yes, I used a machine gun”), and the casting is pitch-perfect, right down to Benny Hill’s bottom-fixated Prof. But it’s the heist itself – an audacious grab for a shipment of gold bound for China – that’s still the joyfully nuts highpoint, a blur of red, white and blue that culminates in cinema’s most famous cliffhanger. Arguably the most iconic British movie ever made, it continues to blow the bloody doors off other crime capers.

Iconic moment: To a rowdy chant of “Eng-land”, Mr. Bridger (Noel Coward) takes a bow in prison as Crocker’s Mini adventure unfolds in – and across – Turin.

What to quote: “Hang on, lads; I've got a great idea…”

Pub trivia: The Royal Society of Chemistry ran a competition for the best solution of Croker’s seesawing bus conundrum. The winning idea involved breaking the bus windows, letting down the front tires and waiting for the petrol to run out.

Further reading… The League Of Gentlemen (1959), The Criminal (1960), Sneakers (1992), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), Snatch (2000), Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Catch Me If You Can (2002)

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