The Italian Job (1969)

Spectacular automotive stunt work, Michael Caine’s stellar presence and a jocular overall tone have made this otherwise standard heist picture a favourite with British audiences.
“With a reputation forged on the back of multiple bank holiday afternoon TV screenings, The Italian Job is a classic owned by the people rather than the stuffy critical academia.” Ian Freer, In 1969, England were still football world champions and London was pop-culture’s global nerve centre. If there’s one film that captures that moment of self-confidence it’s this light-hearted caper, in which the English criminal fraternity seeks to whisk millions in gold out of Turin and out of the grasp of their Mafia rivals – a feat to be achieved by red, white and blue-coded Mini Coopers driving rings round their pursuers. Peter Collinson’s direction and the Rémy Julienne stunt team slot everything together with absolute precision, and Michael Caine is an assured lead. Yet the key to the film’s entertainment value is its refusal to take itself at all seriously, undercutting potential flag-waving with utter camp from Noël Coward’s monarchy-loving criminal mastermind – and a nicely balanced ending. The 2003 Hollywood remake begins with a Venice-set robbery (thus justifying its title), but locates its climactic heist, featuring the latest generation of Mini Coopers, in Los Angeles.
1969 USA, United Kingdom
Directed by
Peter Collinson
Produced by
Michael Deeley
Written by
Troy Kennedy Martin
Michael Caine, Noël Coward, Benny Hill
Running time
100 minutes