The Italian Job (1969)
By Stefan Pape,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Classic, fun caper has outdated views, moderate violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Leadership is shown, but for criminal and money-oriented gains. Sexist behavior and language is common throughout. The patriotism in the movie borders on xenophobia.
Positive Role Models
Charlie is offered a second chance after being released from prison, but returns to a life of crime -- even leaving in a stolen car. Charlie mentions he used to shoot tigers. He is very money motivated -- something that often leads him into trouble. But he displays strong leadership and problem-solving qualities. Women are talked about in derogatory ways: Italian women are described as being "big," are often leered at and referred to sexually. In one scene, Italians are referred to as "bloody foreigners."
Violence & Scariness
Violence is moderate but always cinematic. Several explosions and cars crashing, with little consequence in regard to human lives. Only the vehicles are shown to be damaged. Characters point guns at each other. The narrative is built around an ambush and a theft. Some fighting -- some with baseball bats, including one man who is knocked off his motorbike by one. A character is pushed by their backside onto a bus by a stranger.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters are seen in lingerie. Group sex is alluded to but not seen. Reference to sexual activity when a character describes others as "doing it."
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Use of the word "bloody."
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Products & Purchases
Characters are motivated by greed and money, although these traits are depicted as being negative.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Several characters are seen smoking and drinking, usually in business meetings and at dinner parties. One character smokes a cigar. Another swigs from a bottle while stuck in a traffic jam.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Italian Job is a classic crime caper from 1969, with plenty of car chases -- and crashes -- cinematic violence, and sexist behavior. Starring Michael Caine as Charlie Croker, a newly released prisoner who immediately plots another heist, the movie inspired a 2003 remake of the same name. Charlie is flawed and domineering, but also intellectual. Along with his crew of criminals, he is very money motivated. But all of the character's greed is displayed as being a negative trait. Women are talked about in derogatory ways, and there is some inappropriate touching, such as when a woman is pushed onto a bus, by her backside, by a stranger. In addition, the female characters are given very little to do and are largely reduced to being superficially attractive for the enjoyment of their male counterparts. The narrative pits the English against the Italians, although it attempts this in a playful manner. But one character does use the term "bloody foreigners" in one scene. There is much violence in the movie, but it's stylized and never too severe. An ambush takes place, and several men hit others with baseball bats. There are plenty of explosions and car chases resulting in crashed vehicles and threat to the general public. But there's never a sense that any lives are lost. Sex is alluded to but not seen, and characters are seen smoking and drinking -- including one character drinking while stuck in a traffic jam.
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The Italian Job (1969)
Based on 1 parent review
Great heist movie
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What's the Story?
THE ITALIAN JOB tells the story of Charlie Croker (Michael Caine), who is released from prison and offered the chance to do one final job. His task is to head to Italy and ambush a vehicle containing millions of pounds worth of gold, from right under the noses of the Mafia. The plan sounds simple: Create a traffic jam across the streets of Turin, steal the gold, and escape. If only it was that easy.
Is It Any Good?
Released in 1969, this is a real classic of its genre, imbued with the charm and wit of British filmmaking. The Italian Job is certainly a little of its time, but the means of storytelling is timeless, following the tried and tested narrative formula of "it was supposed to be so easy." Naturally, the ambush and theft at the heart of this tale is anything but.
Caine is at his beguiling best in the lead role, and truly this film owes much to his central performance. He brings the character to life, and it's his charm and indelible delivery that has taken this from being your substandard crime caper to being a film still watched and talked about today. The car chases are exceptional too, and ahead of their time, as they weave in and out of the picturesque Italian landscape. At just over an hour and a half, this is an easy yet always enjoyable way to spend your time -- and should remain so for decades to come.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how women are portrayed and referred to in The Italian Job. What roles did women play in the movie? How did the male characters refer to and treat them? How did this make you feel? How might the movie have differed if it had been made today? Talk about how media role models matter.
Discuss the violence and action scenes in the movie. Did the fact that much of it was stylized and without serious consequences affect how you reacted to it? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Discuss the notion of patriotism. In this movie, being overtly proud of where you are from is something to be encouraged. Do you think this is still the case today? What is the difference between being patriotic and being nationalistic?
Michael Caine is magnetic in the lead role. Has this inspired you to explore any of his other films?
The film has inspired many others since its release. What other crime capers have you seen that may have taken inspiration from this movie?
- In theaters: September 3, 1969
- On DVD or streaming: October 7, 2003
- Cast: Michael Caine, Benny Hill, Noel Coward
- Director: Peter Collinson
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Classic
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: January 3, 2023
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