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In Thief, James Caan plays Frank, a professional jewel thief who wants to marry Jessie (Tuesday Weld) and settle down into a normal life. In order to achieve his dream of a family, Frank--who is used to working solo--has to align himself with a crime boss named Leo (Robert Prosky), who will help him gain the money he needs to begin his domestic life. Frank plans to retire after the heist, yet he finds himself indebted to Leo and he struggles to break free. Thief is the first feature film from director Michael Mann and it seethes with his stylish, atmospheric direction. Though his cool approach… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A slick Chicago crime-drama with a well-developed sense of pathos running throughout."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Mr. Mann may well become a very good theatrical film maker but, among other things, he's going to have to learn how to edit himself, to resist the temptation to allow dialogue that is colorful to turn, all of a sudden, into deep, abiding purple."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"James Caan gives a standout performance, investing in Frank a sense of determination that runs contrary to the fatalistic drive of the narrative."
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"It's almost as if Mann was shot out of the womb fully formed as a visual artist, because the slick, neon-lit widescreen images of 1981′s Thief echo his later films."
‑ Eric Melin,
"A tough and intense crime thriller. James Caan gives one of his finest performances."
‑ Chuck O'Leary, Fantastica Daily
"A philosophical thriller filled with modernist cool."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Caan delivers what might be the best performance of his career."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"[Michael] Mann has a talent for making cops into Cops, crooks into Crooks, and heroes into Heroes, for telling stories where stark types of the kind found in noir or crime fiction are transformed into legends."
‑ Scott Tobias, The Dissolve
"neo-Melvillian existentialism"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"A cool action film."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"It's one of those films where you feel the authority right away: This movie knows its characters, knows its story, and knows exactly how it wants to tell us about them."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Ground zero for Michael Mann--his origin story..."
‑ Bill Chambers, Film Freak Central
"An ancient time... when master criminals were manly men with giant tools."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"Not just the best film of [Michael Mann's] career, but one of the best American films of the whole of the 1980s."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Thief embues the crime story genre with fresh sophistication."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
More reviews for Thief on Rotten Tomatoes