Rififi (1955)

8.2
  • Not Rated
  • Genre: Crime
  • Release year: 1955 (1955-04-13)
  • Running time: 118 min
  • Original Title: Du rififi chez les hommes
  • Voted: 23172
Du rififi chez les hommes is a movie starring Jean Servais, Carl M?hner, and Robert Manuel. Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes...
#PersonCharacters
1Jean ServaisTony le Stéphanois
2Carl MöhnerJo le Suedois
3Robert ManuelMario Ferrati
4Janine DarceyLouise
  • Influenced Numerous Filmmakers 10/9/2001 12:00:00 AM by eibon09 10

    Du Rififi Chez Les Hommes/Rififi(1955) can on the surface be described as a French variation on John Huston's seminal heist film, Asphalt Jungle(1950). The difference between the two films is Rififi(1955) pays a little more attention in detail to the robbery sequence. Also, the police aren't involved in the aftermath of the robbery in Rififi as much as in Asphalt Jungle. In the end Rififi(1955) is in my opinion a slightly better film than Asphalt Jungle(1950). Remarkable Noir picture that defines 1950s French Cinema.

    Spartacus(1960) may have been the one which broke down the infamous blacklist, but in my opinion Rififi(1955) was the film that began to break apart the unbreakable Hollywood blacklist. First film in five years for Jules Dassin who was victimized by the McCarthy communist hunt of the late 40s to early 50s. He got some sort of retribution when Rififi(1955) became a success around France and Europe. Thus defying the poisonious Hollywood blacklist in a major way that probably inspired others to do the same. Rififi(1955) is the most important film of Dassin's career because it not only restored his name, but also gave him a second chance at making films.

    Jules Dassin gave the filmworld and its ever growing audiences a masterpiece of influential proportions. His handling of the material is exceptional and direction of the actors is flawless. Builds up tense situations with precise craftsmanship. Dassin came full circle in the Film Noir genre by directing his best and last Noir, Rififi(1955). Marked the end of Dassin's period in filmmaking when he was involved in doing Noir pictures.

    Rififi(1955) is the number one film in an arsenal of thirty plus films for director, Jules Dassin. A masterpiece in acting, cinematography, directing, editing, and writing. Not a film to leave your seat for one minute because there is always something memorable going on. As brilliant as anything by Jean Pierre Melville who was a master of this type of film. Masterpieces such as Rififi(1955) are relatively small compared to the probably billions of films made in motion picture history.

    The one fascinating aspect of Rififi is the precise planning and careful execution of a robbery that takes up a bulk of the 118 minute duration. The main characters plan and execute the jewel heist in the same way a film director prepares for the pre-productions, production, and post-production of a film. Shows how difficult a Jewel heist like in Rififi(1955) is in committing and why very few would do something like it. The fact that the scene hardly contains a mess up like in other heist films turns this scene into something even greater. Close as one can get to having a perfect sequence in a motion picture.

    Lack of unnatural sound in the landmark thrity minute heist sequence puts it in a realm of absolute realism. Any dialogue or/and music would ruin any suspense and tension the director is trying to create. The use of natural sound makes the heist sequence a rewarding film viewing experience. Now Filmmakers and producers would use dialogue and music in a scene like this because of a lack of confidence of a mainstream filmgoer's patience. Sustains a level of consistency that never once lets down.

    Maintaining a high level of suspense is what makes the heist sequence tick to perfection. The director achieves suspense in the heist sequence that's rarely equaled in most robbery scenes from heist films. Jean Servais and the rest of the main actors contribute to the suspense with some low key acting. Getting suspense put in a scene is a task few are capable of doing. The robbery sequence of Rififi(1955) reaches a Hitchcockian level of suspense and tension.

    Many filmmakers from the years following Du Rififi Chez Les Hommes(1955) have been influenced if not inspired by it. One filmmaker influenced was Jean Pierre Melville(original choice for director of Rififi)who used variations of the heist sequence in Le Doulos(1961), and Le Cercle Rouge(1970). Another filmmaker influenced was Stanley Kubrick who made a similarly themed film in The Killing(1956). Also, Quentin Tarantino whose debut feature Reservoir Dogs(1992) was inspired by this film. Other film directors influenced are John Woo, Michael Mann, Paul Schrader, Ringo Lam, etc...

    Du Rififi Chez Les Hommes(1955) is comparable to Bob le Flambeur(1955) in many ways. One, Jules Dassin and Jean Pierre Melville directed groundbreaking films in Rififi(1955) and Bob le Flambeur(1955). Two, each film involves an aging criminal who plans and carries out a daring heist. Three, Bob le Flambeur and Rififi finishes in fatalistic fashion. Four, each film shares many motifs and situations that classify the two as film greats.

    Part of Rififi's charm are the colorful characters that surround the story such as Tony le Stephanois, Jo le Suedois, Mario Farrati, and Cesar le Milanais. Most of the violence is implicit yet effectively brutal. The main characters led by Tony le Stephanois abide by a strong outdated code of honor that is remindful of Sam Peckinpah and John Woo. Jean Servais becomes the role of Tony le Stephanois with his cynical outlook and tired looks. Du Rififi Chez Les Hommes/Rififi(1955) became a favorite of mine the moment I saw it on the big screen from beginning to end.

  • It's not just the heist scene 1/9/2003 12:00:00 AM by rob-242 10

    Rififi deservedly gets a lot of mention for the famous heist scene, and, indeed, that scene deserves all the credit it gets. It's a masterful piece of suspense, character interaction and photography. But Rififi isn't just this one scene - every scene in the film is as masterfully put together, and as a whole, the film is not only taught with suspense, plot and character, but an adroitly told moral tale that set the scene for film noire for years to come.

    Cinematically and technically, the heist sequence may be the most impressive scene of the film, but for me, it's the final scene that holds the most power - Tony le Stéphanois's hallucinogenic drive towards redemption.

  • A Magnificent Fim-Noir 7/21/2007 12:00:00 AM by claudio_carvalho 10

    After five years in prison, Tony le Stéphanois (Jean Servais) meets his dearest friends Jo (Carl M?hner) and the Italian Mario Ferrati (Robert Manuel) and they invite Tony to steal a couple of jewels from the show-window of the famous jewelry Mappin & Webb Ltd, but he declines. Tony finds his former girlfriend Mado (Marie Sabouret), who became the lover of the gangster owner of the night-club L' ?ge d' Or Louis Grutter (Pierre Grasset), and he humiliates her, beating on her back and taking her jewels. Then he calls Jo and Mario and proposes a burglary of the safe of the jewelry. They invite the Italian specialist in safes and elegant wolf Cesar (Perlo Vita) to join their team and they plot a perfect heist. They are successful in their plan, but the D. Juan Cesar makes things go wrong when he gives a valuable ring to his mistress.

    "Du Rififi Chez les Hommes" is a magnificent film-noir, certainly among the best I have seen. The screenplay has credibility, supported by an awesome direction of Jules Dassin, stunning performances of the cast and great cinematography. Jean Servais has outstanding performance in the role of a criminal with principles guided by the underworld rules. The famous long silent sequence of the heist is amazing and extremely tense and certainly among the best ones of the cinema history. I am listing this great movie in my list of favorite movies ever. My vote is ten.

    Title (Brazil): "Rififi"

  • Film noir meets New Wave 12/6/2006 12:00:00 AM by DeeNine-2 9

    (Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.)

    Or vice-versa.

    This is a French film noir directed by an American film maker (Jules Dassin) who had to leave the country because of being blacklisted by Hollywood thanks to HUAC. The premise of the story is rather familiar--one last jewel heist for Tony le Stephanois and his buds--and so is the ending with everybody getting... Well, no spoilers here, for sure, since this is the sort of film in which tension toward the ending is important.

    Dassin filmed in realistic lighting in black and white on the streets of Paris using actors and actresses who are not glamorous. The engaging--sometimes intruding--score by Georges Auric nicely enhances the movie and will remind viewers of many a similar score from American film noirs from the forties and early fifties. Jean Servais plays the hardcore, consumptive lead in a fedora much as Humphrey Bogart might have played him. Tony's recently out of prison, past his prime, but still tough and decisive when he has to be, his mind still sharp when focused, the kind of anti-hero whose eyes water even though the tears will never fall.

    Dassin plays the Italian safecracker and would-be ladies man who knows the rules but gets careless.

    In film noir we are forced by the logic and focus of the film to identify with the bad guys. Often there are levels of bad guys, the "good" bad guys we are identifying with and the "bad" bad guys who are out to do in our good bad guys, and then maybe there's a really bad, bad bad guy or two. (Here we have Remi Grutter, played by Robert Hossein, a slightly sadistic druggie.) Then there are the cops who are irrelevant or nearly so. In more modern film noir the bad guys are not even "good" bad guys, and they get away with it or something close to that. In the old film noir, which evolved from the gangster films of the thirties, the usual motto, following the old Hollywood "code," was "Crime Doesn't Pay," with every criminal having to pay for his or her crime before the end of the movie.

    Probably the most impressive feature of Rififi is how nicely the film moves along. The plot unfolds quickly and seamlessly much the way the great film directors always did it, directors like Stanley Kubrick, Louis Malle, and the best of Hitchcock. Some have actually compared this to Kubrick's The Killing (1956) and suggest that Kubrick stole a little. Well, directors always steal if need be, and there are some perhaps telling similarities, such as it being "one last heist" for the protagonist, and having the girl gum up the works. The similarities may go deeper because as this film was nearing its end I suddenly thought, oh, no! the suitcase in the back seat is going to fly out of the convertible, hit the ground, burst open, and all the money is going to fly into the air! Those of you who have seen The Killing may recall what happened to the money near the end of the film! Which reminds me of another film with something bad happening to the money: Oliver Stone's U Turn (1997) starring Sean Penn. There the money in his backpack gets blown to smithereens by a shotgun blast. Ha, ha, ha! Getting the dubbed version of this film would be an act of sacrilege since the dialogue (when there is some: the heist itself is done entirely without dialogue, about 30 minutes worth) is terse and easy to follow requiring only an occasional glance at the subtitles, which, by the way, are quite utilitarian and guiding as opposed to having every word spelled out.

    One other thing: all the brutality is done as sex used to be done in film, that is off camera. A guy gets his throat slit. We don't see it. I kind of like this approach. We don't have to see the gore. You could almost let your kids see Rififi--almost.

    Catch this one now and be on the lookout for a Hollywood reprise starring Al Pacino and directed by Harold Becker coming out next year in which you can be sure that the violent scenes will be played out in full.

  • Simply stunning. 11/6/2002 12:00:00 AM by meejoir 10

    I see alot of movies at the cinema (103 so far this year) and I have to say that this is by far and away the best film I have seen this year, even though it was released back in 1954!

    I sat in awe and watched this work of genius and felt quite ashamed that I had never even heard of it before my local art house cinema decided to show it for a week on what looked like a new print.

    The best part of the whole movie has to be the 28 minute break in where there is no speech and no music, merely the sound of the men carrying out the heist. Pure quality.

    Although really dark in places it is lightened with the dry humour.

    Not many films score 10 out of 10 but this does and also gets a gold star for effort!!

    If you ever get a chance to see this movie, please do not hesitate, it's a classic.

#PersonCrew
1Jules Dassindirector
2René Bezardproducer
3Henri Bérardproducer
4Pierre Cabaudproducer
5Auguste Le Bretonwriter
6René Wheelerwriter