Parents' Guide to

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Classic '60s heist film has some violence.

Movie R 1968 102 minutes
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) Poster Image

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Taken at face value, The Thomas Crown Affair is an engaging caper. Casting McQueen as a debonair finance guy in a three-piece suit was a canny departure given his usual film persona as ruggedly unflappable cool guy (the hard-driving cop in Bullitt, for example). He gives an Ivy League financier a renegade roguishness, making him believably obsessed with "who I want to be tomorrow." Some viewers may be nagged by the amorality of both the handsome, well-dressed thief and the beautiful, well-dressed lover-antagonist who seeks to bring him down. The lovers' conflict and attraction have the same roots -- Vicki never hides that she's going after him for a reward and he never denies he's committed the robbery. She is proud of being good at her job, even though she loves him, and he's proud of screwing the system, even though the system has been good to him.

Odd editing (framing different simultaneous action in rectangular windows arranged on the screen likes building blocks), an intrusive jazz score (notably famed composer Michel Legrand's hit song The Windmills of Your Mind, which won Best Original Song Oscar), and an emphasis on style over substance makes this film memorable and dated at the same time. Also, notably, the movie never says it aloud, but it clearly addresses the predicament of the few professionally-successful women who were out there 50 years ago. What Vicki probably had sacrificed in her life to become respected and valued at work might have made it extremely difficult for her to give it all up, even for love.

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