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Thief (1981)  IMDB   Website
Genre Action/Crime MPAA R
Director Michael Mann Rating
Writer Frank Hohimer Runtime 124 minutes
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer Type Movie
Cinematographer Donald Thorin Format DVD
Studio United Artists Disk No. 1/1
Language English Edition
Country USA UPC
Color Color    
Plot Summary

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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.

Summary written by: Tad Dibbern {DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu}
Actor / Character

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James Caan ..... Frank
Tuesday Weld ..... Jessie
Willie Nelson ..... Okla
James Belushi ..... Barry
Robert Prosky ..... Leo
Tom Signorelli ..... Attaglia
Dennis Farina ..... Carl
Nick Nickeas ..... Nick
W.R. Brown ..... Mitch
Norm Tobin ..... Guido
John Santucci (I) ..... Urizzi
Gavin MacFadyen ..... Boreksco
Chuck Adamson (I) ..... Ancell
Sam Cirone ..... Martello
Spero Anast ..... Bukowski
Awards

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(1981) Cannes Film Festival - Competing Film ..... Michael Mann
Review

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Michael Mann's directorial debut is an electrifying profile of a professional thief trying to pull one last job so that he can retire. James Caan stars as Frank, the 40-something diamond thief and ex-con looking to achieve at least a semblance of a normal life. To that end he romances Tuesday Weld while contracting with local mob kingpin Robert Prosky to execute a major heist. Except for his role in Misery (1990), Caan has never had a better leading part in his career, and following a string of bad films, he obviously realized how good an opportunity this was. He inhabits the character of the tough-talking, ruthlessly efficient professional effortlessly, layering in an obsession with white-picket-fence life that would border on the comic were it not so grim. Indeed, the highlight of the film is a weird marriage proposal in which the thief shows his new girlfriend a battered fetish object, a collage he's assembled in prison that represents his idealized normal life complete with photos of a house, children, and a wife. The scene is at once touching, funny, and bizarre. Mann has clearly done his homework on the world of high-tech thievery, and the lengthy heist scenes have a satisfying thoroughness reminiscent of such classics as Rififi. The film is also helped enormously by the insistent, pulsating score of Tangerine Dream. Beside Prosky, the film includes a number of Chicago area veterans in its talented cast, including Dennis Farina, Jim Belushi, Tom Signorelli, and Del Close. --- Michael Costello

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