The Italian Job (1969)


Michael Caine at his most likeable stars as a con man who orchestrates a plan to steal $4 million worth of gold from a gridlocked Turin from under the noses of The Mafia.

Also starring Noel Coward and Benny Hill, featuring red, white and blue mini coopers and a theme song that is still the staple of England football fans, The Italian Job is a British institution and couldn’t be more English if the DVDs were made out of recycled spitfires. It’s the granddaddy of the British caper movie and is still quoted by students with alarming regularity whenever they’ve had one too many Shandy Basses. To be honest, the plot is a little thin by the standards of the modern heist movie and the comedy a little too broad in places, but it has such a knockabout charm and swinging 1960’s chic it’s impossible not to like. The centrepiece is of course the car chase and it’s still worth waiting for – although I would have to advise any classic car fanatics to avert their eyes for this one – as is the classic “cliffhanger” ending.

The very idea of an American remake of this film is like an Englishman remaking The Alamo with Stephen Fry starring as Davey Crockett.


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