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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding crime thriller
This has got to be one of the best crime / thriller movies ever made. James Caan is a superb actor, who when given the right role is in a class of his own. This film is his finest hour and he delivers a moving performance as the main character. Caan plays Frank who is an expert safe cracker with dreams of retiring and starting a family with his lady played by Tuesday...
Published on 30 July 2003 by Mr. A. Thorpe

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Mann's best but still good
It was interesting to see both Will Petersen and Dennis Farina in small,non-speaking roles who would later star in Michael Mann's brilliant Manhunter [DVD] [1986] [1989] which first introduced us to Hannibal Lector.

Here James Caan takes central stage as a world-weary safe-craker needing to pull off one last heist so that he can set up with girlfriend Tuesday...
Published 17 months ago by robert stirling


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding crime thriller, 30 July 2003
This review is from: Thief [DVD] (DVD)
This has got to be one of the best crime / thriller movies ever made. James Caan is a superb actor, who when given the right role is in a class of his own. This film is his finest hour and he delivers a moving performance as the main character. Caan plays Frank who is an expert safe cracker with dreams of retiring and starting a family with his lady played by Tuesday Weld. He foolishly agrees to work for the mob headed by evil Leo (Robert Prosky), safecracking to order in the belief that after 2 or 3 big scores he can leave with a nice nest egg with which to start his family. When Frank decides it's time to move on and leave his life of crime behind him he soon discovers that it's extremely difficult to walk away when the big time crooks don't want to see their meal ticket leave. This film slowly builds up to a final, bloody showdown with the tension almost becoming unbearable as Frank realises that he is going to have to take drastic action if he truly wants out of his shady profession. Superb.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great, 12 Sep 2001
By 
Kevin Pohl (Dayton, OH) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thief [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is Michael Mann's first effort, and also one of his best. James Caan is excellent as the hardened thief that does not give in to anyone. The "you have to be willing to walk out on everything in 60 seconds" theme will be used by Mann in other movies (notably "Heat"). The acting is good all around and so is the soundtrack by TAngerine Dream. Definitely one for the must watch list
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb Transfer of Michael Mann's Best Film and One of the Best Of The 80s, 6 Mar 2014
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Professional thief Frank(James Cann)has spent four years cultivating a rep as a top independent safe breaker but when he comes to the notice of crimelord Leo(Robert Prosky)his carefully constructed way of working is thrown into jeopardy as is his tentative relationship with Jessie(Tuesday Weld)and his plans for the future.

Michael Mann's first movie for the cinema(following his acclaimed tv movie The Jericho Mile)is to my mind still his best.Here we see his Hawksian preoccupations with codes of honour and strict professionalism debuted for the first time(he would return to them in offerings such as Manhunter, Heat and his period tv show,the under-rated Crime Story) and brilliantly essayed in James Caan's wonderful performance as the taciturn Frank, a man making up for lost time.Tuesday Weld and Robert Prosky offer superb supporting performances as for that matter does James Belushi as Frank's right hand man and look closely for Dennis Farina as one of Leo's heavies and William Petersen in a very small bit as a bartender.

Beautifully nuanced character study cum thriller, Thief disappeared quickly in 1981 but acquired a devoted following thanks in part to Tangarine's hypnotic score which underscores the abstraction of Frank's existance as he skulks in between the shadows of everyday life.Acting this good places the film on a pedestal that modern films can only dream of. Today's Hollywood comedians..i mean actors would not cut the mustard in a film of such finesse.
Coming on the coat tails as a last hurrah to golden period of the70s, Thief is one of the best films of the 80s and should be better known.

Criterion's beautiful new region A locked digital transfer,approved by Mann, is presented in it's org aspect ratio of 1:85:1 created in 4k res from the org 35mm camera negative and is such an improvement on the existing stan def versions that is like watching a diiferent film.
The opening nightshots and the famous pan down the fire escapes into the night-time alleys of downtown Chicago are stuNning in their clarity and so it goes for the film as a whole.

You will need a multi region blu ray player to play Thief. Extras are the usual booklet and new interviews with Mann, Caan(disarmingly direct as always) and Johannes Schmoelling(of Tangarine dream)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old school, 21 April 2006
This review is from: Thief [DVD] (DVD)
Old school Michael Mann at his best. This is a slow burner but fascinating to watch. The climax is brutal and shocking. Caan exudes all things Mann-ish, the prototype for Petersen and Cruise, the essential Mann man - mean, ruthless, wrestling with a fragile humanity, the broken idealist in a world of pain. Tangerine dream soundtrack is class too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine mess!, 13 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Thief [DVD] (DVD)
Compelling, well acted, directed movie but clearly largely misunderstood by many. Certainly sobering to those viewing it who have been on the wrong side of the law and are 10 years or so younger who prefer to have a wife and kids instead of being criminals!
Anyway starts off well giving an exciting detailed vision of how a sophisticated group of thieves team up to rob jewellery. One is an expert safe cracker (James Caan) who is mentally unstable ex jail bird who specialises in hardware, another is an elecronics expert (James Belushi) who specialises in tripping alarms and tapping phone lines. Then there is the other little seen thief lookout sat in the car with sophisticated cb radio equipment listening into police radio frequencies. After making a suttle deal with a hoodlum in the usual sleezy bar hangout where James Caan hands over his personal estimated value of $550,000 wholesale diamonds in return for &185,000 usd he is later expecting to be able to acquire with ease, he finds himself set up and duped into working for a mafia boss who mistakenly promises him the world. This new relationship and partnership turns out to be a volatile mistake between both parties. After having previously witnessed and participated in what appears to be the easy bribing of a lawyer and judge in a criminal court case James Caan`s character Frank gets it fixed in his head that if you got the dough and the might its easy to pay the police off which he thinks this new father figure elderly mafia boss guy is able to do because he leads a life of luxury which gives off the impression that he has all the lawyers and entire police force in his pocket. Having agreed to work on a major multi million dollar heist issued to him by this gangland boss with an agreed payment of $830,000 usd in return for successful completion he finds his hands tied with police on his case. He keeps on finding police bugs in his house prompting him to move house plus he has the problem of having to detect police tracking devices frequently attatched to his car. He also has personal problems in the sense he is now 41 and because he has focused too much of his younger life involved in crime and doing jail etc he has missed out on love life and having a wife and kids at a young age. After throwing a childish tantrum in front of the mafia boss due to his anger at the police constantly on his case angrily exclaiming "get the police off my case!" a volcanic personality clash erupts between the 2. After completing the detailed lengthy major heist with the crucial assistance of electronics expert James Belushi the mafia boss decides to pay him no more than $100,000 usd instead of the initial agreed cut of $830,000 usd stating to him sarcastically "we are just keeping the money aside for you Frank because we have gotta pay off the police right!" . This causes his violent character to flip and he makes a nasty death threat to the mafia boss with the ulimatum of 24 hrs I want my money etc. In return the mafia boss violently flips and somehow he screws it all up when he decides to out of sheer anger brutally kill the man who they cant do the job without (James belushi`s mentally stable character). Frank goes beserk, goes on a rampage, destroys everything and kills the boss and his cronies. Now there are many I think including top reviewers who would mistakenly describe Frank`s character as being an honourable thief who mistakenly agrees to work for this mafia boss. The truth is the mafia boss made the mistake approaching him and he made the mistake working for him. The only thief who was honourable was the one portrayed by James Belushi who was the real victim of this new partnership between 2 destructive idiots! Although Frank`s character survives its a kind of sad ending in the sense a sick man has just killed another sick man who wanted to be his father. He was needed to do the job and even though he had the ability to deal with the police, detect the bugs etc he was upset the mafia boss wasnt paying the police off. Of course the mafia boss admired him for being able to handle the police but his disability was obviously you can`t pay the police off and expect not to be double crossed! The father and son relationship between the 2 was doomed to be another fine mess! because the son was an unreasonable selfish hot head who could`nt see further than his nose and the nasty father wanted to possess him!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Mann's best but still good, 25 Jun 2013
By 
robert stirling (tarn,s.w.france) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Thief [DVD] (DVD)
It was interesting to see both Will Petersen and Dennis Farina in small,non-speaking roles who would later star in Michael Mann's brilliant Manhunter [DVD] [1986] [1989] which first introduced us to Hannibal Lector.

Here James Caan takes central stage as a world-weary safe-craker needing to pull off one last heist so that he can set up with girlfriend Tuesday Weld and start a family and live the American Dream.

He's not too old but has been around the block a few times.As in Heat (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] (1995),another Mann gem,his charactor is carefully composed and fleshed out by the director much like Robert De Nero's villian in the later film.

In the way of Caan's dream are the law,unkindly portrayed here as corrupt and vicious and mobster Robert Prosky,cleverly played by this little known actor.These forces contrive to usurp Caan's plans.

All the cast are superb but it's Caan who carries the film to its final shoot-out.A terrific performance.
Highly recommended.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Optimum region 2 anamorphic widescreen!!, 31 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Thief [DVD] (DVD)
Mann's first feature film abused and forgotten upon release then abused by MGM with a lousy non-anamorphic transfer in the early days of DVD. I have read some lukewarm reviews for this outstanding film's Optimum release. All untrue.. as this is struck from a new HD transfer.No it's not perfect, no it's not the director's cut which omits 4 minutes not crucial but detail and colors pop. This is a bare bones release, film only with the original 2 channel dolby stereo track heard in theaters back in 1981. All in all this is a must for the transfer alone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars classic, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Thief [DVD] (DVD)
Not so well known cult movie but what a great movie by James caan

Action from start to finish well worth it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stone Cold Classic!, 19 April 2014
By 
Mr. E. A. Dobson "dwardstings" (West Yorkshire,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thief [DVD] (DVD)
I did own the MGM region 2 dvd release but sold it due to the poor quality print. I don't yet own a blu ray player but I'm mighty tempted just to watch this! However, at the time of writing this it costs £25+! I would pay half that but unless the price drops, I'll hold out for a limited theatrical release.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Must see for Michael Mann afficianados., 13 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Thief [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent under rated slow burn drama. Caan's best work. Michael Mann's first venture into the big screen stuff and great viewing for fans of his later Heat and Collateral. Engaging, exciting and full of plausible realism.
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Thief [DVD]
Thief [DVD] by Michael Mann (DVD - 2003)
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