In his first theatrical feature director Michael Mann entered the world of hard nosed criminals, a genre he constantly still works in.  Frank played by the superb James Caan is a professional jewel thief who only steals gems and money.  He has a code of ethics and will not get involved in home invasions, basically he steals from entities who can afford it.

Unfortunately his ‘fence’ gets thrown out of a window and the gems from his latest heist go missing.  Frank finds out who took them and he soon crosses the path of  Leo the local gangland boss who offers Frank regular ‘jobs’ and the promise of a million dollars in a few short months.

Thief isn’t just a ‘heist’ picture, it covers Frank’s emotions with the girl he is in love with, his friendship with his mentor who is dying played by Willie Nelson as well as the usual criminal activities.  Mann as he continues to do so in all his films, produces beautiful images on screen with deep blacks and neon lighting reflecting on the streets.  Tangerine Dream’s music score is suitably atmospheric and the supporting cast including James Belushi, Tuesday Weld and Robert Prosky are excellent.

All in all, a truly wonderful piece of cinema and with Arrow’s release you get a stack of extras and two cuts of the film.  One is Mann’s original cinema version and the newly jazzed up directors cut.  Essential.

  • Starring James Caan  Dennis Farina  Willie Nelson  Robert Prosky
  • Director Michael Mann
  • Distributor Arrow Video