Thief (1981) - Action, Crime, Drama

Hohum Score



Coming closer to his dream of leading a normal life, a professional safecracker agrees to do a job for the Mafia, who has other plans for him.

IMDB: 7.4
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: James Caan, Tuesday Weld
Length: 123 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 13 out of 129 found boring (10.07%)

One-line Reviews (84)

If you're happy watching pretty flickering images then Thief is an acceptable time waster but it will leave you feeling empty about it because it's characters are shallow.

Perhaps it was the character she was portraying or the dialogue she speaks but she just seemed contrived and fake to me.

Writer-director Mann takes overly-familiar material and, through consummate skill as a filmmaker, turns it into fabulous, hypnotic imagery and intriguing characters which stay in the mind long after the movie is over.

A very intense and emotional scene.

"Normal" is not stealing things or making "one last big score" (the most tired, terribly retreaded cliche of all of these gangster movies) that will somehow launch that person into a regular life.

"Thief" is an entertaining thriller-action/drama with a lot of humanity in it.

He's a fascinating, disagreeable hero, whose arch-nihilistic philosophy of "you gotta get to where nothing means nothing" is both profound and lamentable.

I think this film could be visually stunning if only it was released in a modern format.

The terrific first 9-10 minutes of the movie set the tone for the rest of the film,a movie that shows viewers a film that is filled with a fantastic style and such great substance because when you watch Thief you are pulled into an experience that is cinematic and intriguing,intense and gritty as well as tough and fierce.

In fact, the last image we see is of Frank walking away along an empty street where the bloody massacre has just taken place.

Thief, made way back in 1981, was Michael Mann's directorial debut and it is a fascinating heist film that has a lot more to it than you might think.

v feel, it is engrossing and fulsome.

If there's a criticism to be had, then it's in the formulaic plot.

A compelling action/drama with rich well-developed characters alongside slick fast-paced action.

This is an intense thriller that doesn't let up and like an adrenaline rush, takes you hours to come down after the closing credits.

The ending is a tad predictable and could have been intellectually better, perhaps using a verbal confrontation between Leo & Caan rather than the usual hail of bullets.

James Caan gives the best performance of his career in this compelling, though overlong, drama that first showed off Michael Mann's talent as director.

I thought Thief was James Caan's best performance and that this was an extremely engaging robbery thriller.

Caan's performances makes this fascinating film works.

I would certainly recommend checking out the film and its worth watching for Cann's stellar performance alone.

The film works both as an exciting caper movie, and as a human drama.

Michael Mann's thriller makes great use of the seedier sides of Chicago, with stunning neon lit action enhanced by the cinematography of Donald E.

Tuesday Weld as 'Jessie' was very good also as his girlfriend then wife because she wanted to go somewhere also since she was literally going nowhere herself.

The result is a technically slick and compelling drama.

This is a tight and suspenseful thriller that is like a little gem of 1981.

It's compelling cinema all the way, a neon-lit crime drama on the seedier streets of Chicago, pulsing with Tangerine Dream synth.

Overall, the film may be a little too overlong, but it is gritty, stylish and enjoyable modern noir.

Ho hum.

Most of the movie is about as formulaic as that.

Real-life thief John Santucci is invaluable, first, for the technical advice on the "caper" aspects of the film (all quite fascinating and beautifully filmed) and as a quintessentially "bad cop.

Thief is the clever, compelling, and powerful story of a man who lives by his own rules.

You feel happy for Frank when he marries Jessie whom he met at a restaurant diner and adopts a son with Jessie to start his dream of living a normal life with family and for the first time in his life with the big money he accrued from business as a car dealer and restaurant owner and most of all as a highly skilled thief of valuables to live out the American dream with his newly formed family and catch up on the wasted years and decades of his life and give some meaning to his empty meaningless life.

The tension is there, and it's quite thrilling.

A thrilling, underrated gem ahead of its time .

The look and sound of the film is just sensational – it was all shot on location in Chicago, but the locations look more like sets – wetted-down, neon-reflective, air-brushed, urban chic (a look producer Jerry Bruckheimer has capitalised on ever since) and Donald Thorin's photography is stunning.

But Thief is also an exciting thriller.

Also, that scene where he breaks up with his wife was intense.

James Caan is the only real high point in otherwise drab and occasionally silly crime thriller.

The movie is 2 hours, and unfortunately the first hour and a half are boring as hell.

The editing tries to master some modern poetic mood, getting into the character deep, but when - for instance - it gives the heist's details this undue allegiance, you must feel a little bored.

But Frank, as smart, tough and savvy as he is, seems to thrive on the edge of things, with Mann giving him earthy and honest dialogue to engage us with, marking him out as an identifiable every man protagonist who just happens to be an exceptional thief.

If you're bored of watching your Heat, Donnie Brasco etc. DVDs for the tenth time, give Thief a chance and you will be greatly rewarded.

He is playing an unsympathetic character on surface yet he brings out an inner depth and torment within Frank that is engrossing.

It's also, however, a story which features a selection of fascinating characters that are brought to life convincingly by a fine cast of actors who make everything that transpires seem totally authentic.

The stunning visuals are awash with blue.

In this movie, there is sophisticated equipment, tough talk, shooting, explosions, bad cops, cityscapes, pretty beach scenes, dramatic music, etc. There is even Willie Nelson in a pointless side story that takes less then 10 minutes of screen time.

This maybe for a purpose, yet it somehow doesn't feel right, it feels disjointed or ass about face in some respects.

The beautiful photography by Donald Thorin is great and visually stunning showing the Chicago streets with rain always falling on the ground and the streets constantly soaked and wet adding to the film's atmosphere and you just feel the rain coming off the screen as you're watching it.

Compelling, saddening and very exciting.

The score by Tangerine Dream is amazing,powerful,intense and one of the best scores I've heard in a film and truly adds to the film.

Although I'm not big on action films, the camera work and direction in 'Thief' was compelling to watch and ahead of its time in this 1981 film.

Much later I realized that this talent was the foundation for the Mann's brilliant use of Elliot Goldenthal's riveting music in the "action" sequences of Mann's 1995 film "Heat.

Thanks to an amazing performance by Caan, and a great script, Thief is incredibly entertaining while being depressingly realistic.

Many people seem to find Tangerine Dream's dated synth score to be extremely irritating but I actually enjoyed it and thought it helped build the mood.

The actual plot is pretty exciting and sees Frank trying to get out of the game (with his one last job) and start a new life for himself.

It's worth watching just for the final shot.

It looks great, and the bluray is stunning.

After directing the intriguing television movie "The Jericho Mile", Mann took his efforts to the big screen and delivered "Thief".

The slow motion action scenes and violence were stunning.

It's a very dark and suspenseful film that I have to admit that I enjoyed over all, I would recommend it.

Thief is a Film-Noir in many ways where the main characters whether it thieves,gangsters or cops and the world they are in is very violent and tough and each of the main characters speak in a tough language that is rough and intense where things such as money,guns and violence rule the streets and the streets are not a friendly place to anyone in the film.

Although Thief suffers a bit from the fact that it was shot in an era when Tangerine Dream was the biggest act in town (as does Mann's lesser The Keep), it still is a very, very compelling movie.

"Thief" was Michael Mann's first feature film and as well as being technically impressive and exciting to watch, it contains a certain level of humanity that distinguishes it from the majority of similar thrillers.

Thorin, a riveting story that unfolds at a constant pace, a great moody pulsating score by Tangerine Dream, complex and believable characters, and a fantastic and meticulous major heist set piece that's both gripping and exciting in equal measure, this film packs one hell of a punch.

An uninteresting crime story with uninteresting characters, poorly-photographed with only rare moments of the typically excellent shot composition from Mann.

but boring .

The film works both as an exciting caper movie, and as a human drama.

Thrilling crime drama and one hell of a debut .

Perfect balance to Caan 's character cause Caan was so hyped-up and intense and very low patience level all the time.

Moreover, Mann astutely captures a harrowing sense of raw desperation bubbling just underneath the glossy surface which explodes in the rousing last third with Frank resorting to desperate measures in a violent last bid to retain his integrity and autonomy.

If the plot is predictable, it's still engaging.

Tangerine Dream score is passable in places and completely uninspired and boring in others, sounds incredibly dated as well to the point of being laughable at times.

From the great performances to the breathtaking score by Tangerine Dream, this is a film that is full of Mann trademarks from start to finish.

Excellent character drama is worth watching for Caan's superb performance.

Master crime thriller director Michael Mann makes his big screen debut here and scores with a taut and gripping character study of career criminals.

A compelling crime drama.

I only came across 'Thief' recently and enjoyed it thoroughly.

The experience was overwhelming as the screenplay hit home on so many intriguing ideas.

Engaging film with some lessons attached .

The score did feel a bit asynchronous with the scenes but that was all part of the unexpected style of this film.

Empty humans longing for escape.

The subplot involving Nelson is meant to be touching but is pointless.

A clever and compelling crime thriller .

The dark tone to the film carries it well and the action is pretty exciting.