'The Italian Job' movie turns 50

By: Unique Cars magazine

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You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off...

While we reserve this section for cars, every now and then we have to celebrate car-based movies.

It is hard to believe that The Italian Job, a movie about a $4 million gold robbery in Turin and a memorable 11-minute car chase, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Starring a young Michal Caine as Charlie Croker – a snappily dressed smash and grab robber and the eloquent Noel Coward who, as Mr Bridger, runs a gangland empire from a prison cell, Benny Hill as the eccentric computer boffin Professor Peach and Raf Vallone as the Mafia boss, this movie is still hugely popular.   One of its lines "You’re only meant to blow the bloody doors off" is considered one of the most popular movie lines of all time. 

The Italian Job starts with the sight and sound of a Lamborghini Miura driving through the Italian Alps before exploding in a tunnel after smashing into a bulldozer driven by the mafia.

After being released from prison Crocker’s girlfriend throws a wild coming out party before Croker meets the Lambo driving Roger Beckerman’s widow who gives him the plans for the robbery.

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After initially rejecting Croker’s plans, Bridger changes his mind when China delivers a $4 million consignment of gold to Turin, as down-payment to Fiat for building a car factory in Peking.

Crocker assembles a team and heads for Turin but is met by Mafia boss Altabani and his gang in the alps. Croker and Co have their lives spared but their two E-Type Jags and DB4 Aston are flipped over the edge by another Mafia driven bull dozer.

As the gold leaves the airport Turin comes to a horn-honking standstill thanks to Professor Peach’s software glitched program that has been slipped into the traffic control system. Croker and his gang snatch the gold and load it into three Cooper S Minis and in a comedic 11-minute car chase elude Alfa Romeo Giulia driving Polizia as they race through underground shopping arcades, over rooftops including the old Fiat Lingotto factory then across a weir before disappearing into sewer pipes.

They race into the Alps and drive the cars inside a coach and unload the gold while traversing the Alps to Switzerland, throwing the Minis over cliffs as they go. With celebrations in full swing the bus skids in a corner leaving it dangling over the edge of a sheer drop.  As Croker attempts to reach the gold it slips further towards the back of the bus. His last line; "Hang on a minute, lads, I’ve got a great idea! Err..." Did they get away with it?  As there wasn’t a sequel, we will never know.


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