×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Big Heist

A decently entertaining Mob movie about a famous burglary, A&E's "The Big Heist" covers much of the same ground as Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas," but from a wholly different perspective and with a wholly different tone.

With:
Jimmy Burke - Donald Sutherland Richard Woods - John Heard Frankie Burke - Jamie Harris Maria - Janet Kidder Henry Hill - Nick Sandow Louis the Whale - Michael P. Moran Marty Krugman - Joe Pingue Stax Edwards - Bo Rucker Tommy DeSimone - Rocco Sisto Angelo Sepe - Robert Morelli Paolo Falcone - Joe Maruzzo Paulie Vario - Gino Marrocco Paul Castellano - Sam Coppola John Gotti - Steven Randazzo

A decently entertaining Mob movie about a famous burglary, A&E’s “The Big Heist” covers much of the same ground as Martin Scorsese’s “GoodFellas,” but from a wholly different perspective and with a wholly different tone. Cable pic doesn’t benefit from much comparison with that memorable feature, but it does deliver a lightweight, well-paced, compelling story with a modicum of style and an appealing performance by Donald Sutherland.

Sutherland plays small-time mobster Jimmy Burke, and the film begins with his release from prison in the mid-’70s. A well-mannered Irishman schooled in old-style mob loyalty, Burke is devoted to his gang of dimwitted followers, including the now-famous turncoat Henry Hill (Nick Sandow). When Burke discovers his son Frankie (Jamie Harris) hasn’t paid back his debt to the Gambino family, he leads his motley crew in what remains the largest cash robbery in history, the 1978 Lufthansa heist, which netted $8 million.

Teleplay by Jere Cunningham and Gary Hoffman, who also exec produced, puts the emphasis on Jimmy’s relationship with his son, who craves his father’s approval and can find it only in becoming a crook, and with cop Richard Woods (John Heard), a composite figure who is given a complex history with Burke and doggedly seeks to solve the crime and send his nemesis back to prison. As he gets closer to the truth, the Gambinos begin to demand that Burke kill his own crew members.

Despite inclusion of mob figures John Gotti and Paul Castellano, and even as the pic gets violent, this story remains pretty lighthearted. Director Robert Markowitz and cinematographer Rudolf Blahacek use some freeze-frame imagery and stylish transitions, adding to the sprightly genre sensibility.

Sutherland manages to make the lead character likable, catching the right semi-comic tone without sacrificing basic believability. The work certainly could be criticized for taking death a bit lightly, given that this is a true tale. It’s not especially memorable, and the story’s been told better, but this is a solid telepic nonetheless.

The Big Heist

A&E; Sun., June 10; 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Toronto by Alliance Atlantis in association with Gary Hoffman Prods. Executive producer, Gary Hoffman; producers, Mark Winemaker, Robert Markowitz; director, Markowitz; writers, Jere Cunningham, Hoffman, based on the book "The Heist" by Ernest Volkman and John Cummings.

Crew: Camera, Rudolf Blahacek; production design, Taavo Soodor; costumes, Gersha Phillips; editor, David Beatty; music, Lou Pomanti; casting, Diane Kerbel (Canada), Lou DiGiaimo. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast: Jimmy Burke - Donald Sutherland Richard Woods - John Heard Frankie Burke - Jamie Harris Maria - Janet Kidder Henry Hill - Nick Sandow Louis the Whale - Michael P. Moran Marty Krugman - Joe Pingue Stax Edwards - Bo Rucker Tommy DeSimone - Rocco Sisto Angelo Sepe - Robert Morelli Paolo Falcone - Joe Maruzzo Paulie Vario - Gino Marrocco Paul Castellano - Sam Coppola John Gotti - Steven RandazzoWith: Craig Eldridge, Hamish McEwan, Philip Williams, Scott Wickware, Elizabeth Brown, Ian Alden, Earl McLean Jr., Rory O'Shea, Karen Woolridge, Matthew MacFadzean, Bella Boyana Balta.

More TV

  • Po Kung Fu Panda

    NBCU Will Tie Universal Kids Cable More Directly to DreamWorks Animation Content

    NBCUniversal is rearranging the toys it uses in its kids-programming playground. The company’s Universal Kids will place a bigger bet on its ties to DreamWorks Animation, which NBCU bought in August of 2016 for approximately $3.8 billion.  The network will stop developing original shows that are not based on DreamWorks properties, according to a person [...]

  • I Think You Should Leave Netflix

    'I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson' Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix

    Netflix has renewed the sketch comedy series “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” for a second season. The series makes jokes out of life’s most bizarre and mundane situations, and the first season saw Robinson and a selection of his famous friends navigate awkward workplace dramas, host an intervention in a Garfield themed [...]

  • CBS

    CBS Entertainment Pledges to Audition Actors with Disabilities

    CBS Entertainment has signed the Ruderman Family Foundation’s Audition Pledge, a commitment to audition actors with disabilities for new productions picked up to series. The company, which includes CBS Television Studios and CBS All Access, is the first in the industry to respond to the advocacy organization’s request for increased disabled representation. “We take pride [...]

  • Rob Ortiz Brian Agboh Julie Katchen

    Paramount TV Names Three New Hires To Executive Team

    Paramount Television has made three new hires for its executive leadership team, naming Rob Ortiz as its new senior vice president of physical production, Brian Agboh as senior vice president of business affairs, and Julie Katchen Swidler as director of Paramount TV’s newly created current team. “I’m so excited to welcome these new valuable executives [...]

  • Discovery Corporate New Logo

    Discovery, FuboTV Strike Distribution Pact

     Discovery, Inc. and FuboTV said they have struck a multi-year deal that brings 13 of the cable-programmer’s networks to Fubo’s live-TV streaming service in coming weeks. The agreement extends a relationship that had been in place between Fubo and the former Scripps Networks Interactive, which Discovery acquired in 2018. That pact included carriage of five [...]

  • Rosamund Pike A Private War

    Rosamund Pike to Lead ‘Wheel of Time’ TV Adaptation at Amazon

    The long-gestating “Wheel of Time” TV adaptation has finally found its lead. Rosamund Pike cast been cast as Moiraine, a member of the powerful all-female organization called the Aes Sedai, in the Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television co-production. Based on Robert Jordan’s best-selling fantasy novels, “The Wheel of Time” is set in a high [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Joins Shondaland's Bridgerton Netflix Series

    Julie Andrews is the first person officially cast in one of Shonda Rhimes’ upcoming Netflix shows. Andrews has joined the untitled series based on Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton family novels. She will voice the character Lady Whistledown. Anonymous to readers, the sharp-tongued gossip writer uses a curious mix of social commentary and scathing insult to send [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content