×

Thief

Michael Mann proves to be a potent triple threat as exec producer-director-writer on Thief. Although there are points where he gets bogged down in the technical aspects of thievery, the film is a slick Chicago crime-drama with a well-developed sense of pathos running throughout. James Caan comes up with a particularly convincing portrait of the central figure and superior soundtrack from Tangerine Dream adds immeasurably to the action.

With:
James Caan Tuesday Weld Willie Nelson James Belushi Robert Prosky Tom Signorelli

Michael Mann proves to be a potent triple threat as exec producer-director-writer on Thief. Although there are points where he gets bogged down in the technical aspects of thievery, the film is a slick Chicago crime-drama with a well-developed sense of pathos running throughout. James Caan comes up with a particularly convincing portrait of the central figure and superior soundtrack from Tangerine Dream adds immeasurably to the action.

Mann, who won awards for his work on the critically acclaimed telefilm, The Jericho Mile, has woven a fine story around a highly honorable man who just happens to be an expert thief with an extensive prison record. Caan plays the thief, a victim of an unfortunate childhood who lands in jail and is hardened with his unsavory environment, with an incredible vulnerability.

In terms of story, Caan is a highly successful crook who takes great pains to maintain his professional independence. Against his better judgment he gives in to ‘godfather’ type Robert Prosky’s request to join forces, mostly in an effort to provide personal stability.

The basic story centers on Caan’s work, which becomes increasingly complicated by his new association. Oddly enough, Mann’s major flaw is being a bit too meticulous in delineating the process Caan must go through in order to make a big score.

[A Special Directorector’s ed ition, trimming some scenes and adding others, was released on homevideo in 1995. Running time is also 122 mins.]

Popular on Variety

Thief

Production: United Artists. Director Michael Mann; Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Ronnie Caan; Screenplay Michael Mann; Camera Donald Thorin; Editor Dov Hoenig; Music Tangerine Dream; Art Director Mel Bourne

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 122 MIN.

With: James Caan Tuesday Weld Willie Nelson James Belushi Robert Prosky Tom Signorelli

More Film

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

  • Hereditary

    The Best Horror Films to Stream Right Now

    Good horror movies aren’t always easy to scare up, but with Halloween on the horizon, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best horror films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. NETFLIX Apostle Cult horror meets religious hypocrisy in this creepy gothic thriller, which follows prodigal son Thomas Richardson, who returns home [...]

  • Brett Gelman

    'Stranger Things' Star Brett Gelman Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse'

    Brett Gelman, best known for his scene-stealing roles in “Fleabag,” “Stranger Things” and “Love,” has joined Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith are also on board. Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known as John Terrence Kelly, a former Navy SEAL who [...]

  • US director Francis Ford Coppola holds

    Francis Ford Coppola Honored With Prestigious Lumiere Prize by Thierry Fremaux, Bong Joon Ho

    Francis Ford Coppola took the stage to claim the Lumière Festival’s lifetime achievement honor, the Lumière Prize, in a stirring celebration that marked the festival’s 10th edition on Friday night in Lyon, France. The four-time Academy Award winner accepted the prize after a series of video tributes, musical performances and testimonials from family, friends and [...]

  • 'Human Capital' Sells to Vertical Entertainment,

    Liev Schreiber, Maya Hawke's 'Human Capital' Sells Rights to DirecTV, Vertical Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV have jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to “Human Capital,” an official selection of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival from director Marc Meyers. The film stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Maya Hawke. The ensemble drama follows numerous interconnected stories surrounding a hit and run, [...]

  • Robert Zemeckis

    Robert Zemeckis in Talks to Direct Live-Action 'Pinocchio' for Disney (EXCLUSIVE)

    Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct Disney’s live-action “Pinocchio.” Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz will produce through their company Depth of Field with Weitz penning the script. “Paddington” director Paul King had originally been tapped to direct but had to leave the project for unknown reasons at the beginning of the year. David [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content