Topkapi Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 10, 2012
A group of thieves recruit a bumbling fool in their quest to steal a dagger from a museum.
In the tradition of Ocean's Eleven this is a decently plotted heist film. There are a few plot twists that give the script a clever feel, but it's pretty basic. The best part of the film is Best Supporting Actor Oscar-winner Peter Ustinov who makes us both pity and sympathize with Arthur Simpson. Sometimes he's too dumb to know better, and other times he's just clever enough to make him likable.
I didn't like the film's style; the opening credit sequence reminded me of an Adam West Batman fight, and Melina Mercoun's performance as Elizabeth Lipp quickly annoyed me; she's the drunk girl in the bar who can go home with anyone else but me.
Overall, Topkapi is light and sometimes fun but innocuous.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2010
Arthur Simon Simpson: It's not a question of losing my nerve; I never *had* nerve!

A fine heist flick from a man who is pretty much one of the masters of the genre. The film is fairly breezy, taking a plot that would now seem familiar and combining it with the fun of a team consisting of a number of types, all leading up to a great climax involving the heist itself.

Professional jewel thief Elizabeth Lipp (Melina Mercouri) reunites with her former lover and partner Walter Harper (Maximilian Schell) for the score of her life - the theft of an exquisite jeweled dagger from the Topkapi museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Also involved is a small-time con-man, Arthur (Peter Ustinov) with passport problems, who gets mixed up with this gang of world-class jewelry thieves. Turkish intelligence, suspecting arms smuggling, become involved, and, under pressure, Arthur rises to heights he'd never dreamed of.

The film was directed by Jules Dassin, a filmmaker known for making many noir films during his lifetime, including on of my favorites and a just a fantastic film all around - Rififi. That film was famous for, among other reasons, its fantastically filmed heist sequence. In this film, Dassin once again has a showcase heist sequence that is fantastically well filmed, managing to be plenty tense, wonderfully staged, and fulfilling of all the other requirements this sequence would need. It's also nice to note that not only did this film inspire the original Mission Impossible TV series, but the heist in this film clearly influenced the eventual movie remake.

Before getting the the heist sequence, the rest of the film is pretty light and fun. Ustinov is basically our main guy, a man in over his head, working to try and keep his head above water, as he balances his activities with both the investigators and the thieves. The rest of the cast is clearly having fun, as they are all just playing the basic stock heist movie character types. Watching the familiar beats of the team assembling the various aspects of the heist is fine, but it's do to the tone of the film that it all works for the most part.

Another great aspect of this film is it's setting. Being set in Turkey, the scenes where we are made very aware that they are on location are great to see. The heist itself takes place at a famous building, but other wide shots and a sequence involving the large scale wrestling matches are a nice site as well.

Not as much a classic as other older heist films, this is still one that clearly helped in paving the way for future ones and it is still a solid watch.

Maj. Ali Tufan: What made you suspect they are Russian spies?
Arthur Simon Simpson: I deduced it, sir.
Maj. Ali Tufan: From what?
Arthur Simon Simpson: From the cook, sir.
Maj. Ali Tufan: What did the cook say?
Arthur Simon Simpson: That they were Russian spies.
Maj. Ali Tufan: A clever deduction.
Super Reviewer
½ February 5, 2009
I didn't like this movie much. The dagger heist was interesting, and the forerunner of many current heists like the Ocean series. But the rest of the movie seemed pointless, and I found it amazing that Peter Ustinov won an Academy award for this movie.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2008
60s heist movie with charming Mediterranean settings, that doesn't take itself too seriously to the point where it ends up feeling like a camp Carry On film.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2008
Peter Ustinov is good as the reluctant spy--and nearly as reluctant jewel thief--but the rest of the cast is pretty unappealing and the film is at least 20 minutes too long. The excellent heist sequence makes up for a lot but, on the whole, "Topkapi" isn't as much fun as it ought to be. The ending confused me the first time I saw it because I thought they'd deliberately let the bird loose in the museum to set off the alarm system, then raced down to the police station to create an alibi. Shows how thick I am! I couldn't understand a single word Akim Tamiroff said in this movie.
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2007
Awesome little heist film by the master Jules Dassin.

De Palma cribbed the Mission Impossible "Tom Cruise hanging from the ceiling" bit from here.
Super Reviewer
½ February 8, 2007
It was slow to get started with several psychedelic kaleidoscope effects. This was before Mission Impossible. Once they get to the heist it is suspenseful and funny.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2012
Jules Dassin is the master of the hiest genre in "Topkapi". I found the film rather entertaining particularly the great hiest sequence which is reminescent to Dassin's early picture "Raffi". The cast is pretty good. You got Melina Mercouri, Peter Ustinov, Robert Morley and Maximilian Schell
who reminded me of Daniel Day-Lewis.
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2012
A bunch of weird, unintelligible, Europeans attempt a painfully boring heist. The end.
Super Reviewer
½ October 15, 2008
'Topkapi' Still The Tops

Splendid lighthearted caper movie, with a heist sequence imitated countless times since, from The Score to Mission: Impossible.
½ April 5, 2011
One of the classic heist movies set in Turkey. Meliona Mercouri, Peter Ustinov, and Maximillian Schell.
January 7, 2010
I don?t know what it is about Jules Dassin, I just never seem to like his work as much as most. The same with Melina Mercouri, what can I say, she irritates me. It?s a good story, Peter Ustinov is fine, but I just don?t see it as great. Nice locale shooting, colorful, but it just didn?t thrill me.
½ August 17, 2009
Jan 09 - An interesting mystery from Jules Dassin. Even though is not as good as his noir movies but the movie does a good job telling the story and keeping the elements at their places.
December 27, 2006
Really, really weird, but I liked it! Peter Ustinov ROCKS!!! And the jewel heist scene is the most amazing theft scene I've ever watched!!! WOW!!!
January 18, 2015
Deliciosa comedia ,aunque se note el paso de los aƱos , mantiene su interes .Peliculas como Mision Imposible y Ocean Eleven le deben las ideas a este film . Lo mejor la escena del robo filmada con maestria digna de Hitchcock y el personaje de Peter Ustinov.
½ December 31, 2014
This has been one of the most admired and imitated caper films of all time. Sure, it was made in the 60's, so don't look for MTV -type edits, but the story is a lot of fun, keeps you guessing right up until the end, and the characters and settings are very memorable. Peter Ustinov won an Academy Award for his performance, certainly one of his best -- and that's saying a lot. If you're in the business, and haven't yet seen Topkapi, you owe it to yourself to see it.
½ March 17, 2014
The story never enumerate to any answer. We are strangled in the midst of a snow storm like. Horrible portraits except Ustinov s'.
October 4, 2014
A very enjoyable 60's heist movie starring Peter Ustinov, Robert Morley and Maximilian Schell. Not as slick as Ocean's 11, but a lot more tongue in cheek. Peter Ustinov is great, but not worthy of an Oscar award. 1964 must have been a very bad year.
August 10, 2013
Saw this greatest of all caper films theatrically in 1964, and it inspired in me a determination to go to the Topkapi museum in Istanbul and see the sultan's dagger. It took 35 years to fulfill this ambition, but I finally did it in 1999.
½ February 11, 2013
I just Love that kinda movies
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