Rififi (Du Rififi Chez les Hommes)

1956

Rififi (Du Rififi Chez les Hommes) (1956)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Rififi depicts the perfect heist in more ways than one, telling its story so effectively that it essentially provided the template for an entire genre to follow.

AUDIENCE SCORE


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Movie Info

Jules Dassin's second European production following his HUAC blacklisting from Hollywood is considered the first heist film, a sub-genre that would later include the likes of everything from The Asphalt Jungle to The Killing to Reservoir Dogs. The film follows the exploits of four thieves--Tony (Jean Servais), Jo (Carl Mohner), Cesar (Dassin himself, under the pseudonym "Perlo Vita") and Mario (Robert Manuel)--who hatch a scheme to rob a Paris jewelry store.

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Critic Reviews for Rififi (Du Rififi Chez les Hommes)

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (12)

Viewers become something like collaborators, invested in working out what, say, that umbrella is going to be used for - and then pleased to discover whether we've gotten it right or not.

Sep 1, 2015 | Full Review…

It took an experienced US director, Jules Dassin, who has lived in France some years, to give the French gangster pic the proper tension, mounting and treatment. This pic has something intrinsically Gallic without sacrificing the rugged storytelling.

Oct 30, 2007 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

The film turns moralistic and sour in the last half, when the thieves fall out.

Oct 30, 2007 | Full Review…

A familiar but effective parable of honor among thieves.

Oct 30, 2007 | Full Review…

Jules Dassin's classic jewel-thief caper of 1955 looks as smart as paint, with its unendurably tense, entirely wordless robbery section.

Oct 30, 2007 | Full Review…

Actually rather overrated, lacking the tension, profundity, and vivid characterisation of similar films.

Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Rififi (Du Rififi Chez les Hommes)

Rififi is a masterpiece employing unknown, but engaging actors that bring life to a story that is endlessly entertaining. You gotta love a script that has the audience rooting for the criminal's victory in breaking the law. What would any crime movie be without colorful characters that form our core crew. Tony le Stéphanois is a gangster recently released from a 5 year prison term. He's the elder statesman of the group, and the godfather to the son of his close friend Jo. Jo approaches Tony for one last diamond heist. Also joining them are a likeable Italian named Mario. His compatriot, César, offers his safecracking skills. He's played by none other than the director himself under the pseudonym Perlo Vita. The jewelry theft is the centerpiece of the saga, but it's not the climax. The heist is only one component of this adventure. There's a pulse pounding sequence of events that follows that makes this account a satisfying commentary on human weakness. One particularly memorable scene shows the violent consequences of betrayal. There's honor among thieves. fastfilmreviews.wordpress.com

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

This is a (French) film noir heist thriller....could it really get any better than that? No, not really. Aside from the fact that it was difficult to read the subtitles at times (black and white film with white/gray lettering), this is a top notch film, and I can see why it is regarded as one of the best and most influential heist films. It's also one of the more artful films of its type too, mostly with how it is constructed and executed. The plot is pretty standard for this type of film: criminal gets out of jail, gets involved in a lucrative score. All seems perfect, and starts off that way, but thigns fall apart, and all hell breaks loose. Much of this film (either plot or certain elements) has turned up in places such as Heat, Mission: Impossible, and the Ocean's trilogy, among others. Sometimes it is just as homage or reference, other times it seems like theft *cue rimshot*. This is just some incredibly thrilling and well done stuff. One sequence that is often mentioned is the film's centerpiece: the heist scene. It is roughly a half hour long, and nearly silent (no talking or music, but some occasional sound). Doing things this way really adds to the atmosphere and builds up the suspense and tension to an almost unbearable level. The final portion of the film involves the fallout of the job, and, for its time, some of this must have seemed rather violent and shocking. Nowadays, not so much, but it's still pretty engaging stuff. A remake of this has been planend for quite some time, and, if it ever gets made, it could be good, but regardless, do yourself a favor and check this one out. It's truly a marvelous and masterful film.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

the awful news of a remake starring al pacino has just ruined my day D: and for those who don't know, dassin wasn't a french filmmaker at all. he was born in connecticut of russian-jewish parents and grew up in harlem. he moved to europe after being blacklisted in 1950 during production of night and the city. did hollywood learn nothing from the pathetic 1992 remake of that film with robert de niro? gah!!!!!!

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Rififi is a truly absorbing, brilliantly executed film by French filmmaker Jules Dassin. In it, a group of four thieves plan the perfect heist, but are ultimately betrayed by their passions and impulses. It is a very pessimistic, dark masterpiece. Jean Servais plays the brooding, lonely main character. He brings the brilliance into the scheme; he's a tortured, experienced criminal who is just out of jail. He is constantly quiet, keeps his motives secret, and conceals with zeal his weak points. Above all, he is the anti hero who redeems himself at the end, if such word as "redemption" can apply. He and his French friend, whose son is his godson, and two Italian thieves -one of which is an expert safebox breaker- begin to plan a 20 million Francs robbery at a jewelry store. During the first half of the film, the group is shown in painstaking observation and evaluation of the routine in and an around the store. Finally, the night comes to execute the plan, and this develops into one of the most fascinating, maybe even exquisite, robbery scenes I have ever seen. For many minutes there is hardly a sound, except perhaps that of the rest of the audience in the theater, hearts beating or nervous breathing. It is wonderfully hypnotizing and mortifying, filmed with such precision and style that it immediately produces admiration. I think that to any film lover this will be close to an ecstatic experience. Technical perfection is not the sole, dominant aspect of Rififi. The four main characters are very well outlined and very well acted; Jean Servais is as archtypical a noir leading man as there ever was in American cinema. Together they embody the carelessness of having nothing to lose, the fierceness of wanting to win everything, and the sadness that such emptiness must helplessly imply. There are also the gloomy, atmospheric shots in the streets of Paris to set the mood, and provide background for the twists and turns of the plot. With a clear narrative style, Rififi successfuly incorporates fragmented scenes, composed of angular takes against the sky and roads of Paris, in a way that reminded me very much of later New Wave films. It is not only a thrilling, suspenseful "action" film, but Du Rififi Chez les Hommes is also a complex drama and styllistic gem. It has violence, humor, sex, and crimes that do not go unpunished. One of those films that really seem to come full circle and satisfy not only us, but themselves.

Elvira B
Elvira B

Super Reviewer

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