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The Italian Job

Peter Collinson

Hang on a minute, lads...

In many ways, The Italian Job is an unlikely classic of British cinema. On paper it is essentially a standard heist film, with some modish swinging sixties trappings. But there is a special alchemy that goes into making a good film, and somewhere along the line, The Italian Job found the perfect formula. Maybe it’s Michael Caine at his effortless best? Maybe it’s the bizarre casting of Noel Coward as a criminal mastermind? Maybe it’s Quincy Jones’ wonderfully jaunty, tongue-in-cheek score with its sly nods to ‘Rule Britannia’ and other jingoistic favourites? Maybe it’s Troy Kennedy Martin’s very quotable script? Or is it that final getaway in a trio of gorgeous Mini Coopers, which features some of the finest stunt driving you’ll ever see?

The answer of course, is all of these things, along with a genuine sense of playfulness, which finds it apotheosis in the audacious and witty cliffhanger ending.