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Thieves Like Us (1974)

Keith Carradine , Shelley Duvall , Robert Altman  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck, Bert Remsen, Louise Fletcher
  • Directors: Robert Altman
  • Writers: Robert Altman, Calder Willingham, Edward Anderson, Joan Tewkesbury
  • Producers: George Litto, Jerry Bick, Robert Eggenweiler
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2007
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,582 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Thieves Like Us" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The film follows the exploits of three recent prison escapees who become wanted after a string of bank robberies. While on the lam, the youngest member of the group falls for a girl and must balance his newfound love affair with the loyalty he has to his crew. Altman tells an honest story of ordinary people who fell into a life of crime because it was the only thing they knew how to do.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Keith Carradine as Bowie and Shelly Duvall as Keechie inhabit the mouldering hamlets of the 1930s south so naturally and unaffectedly that your throat tightens. This softer, dreamier Bonnie & Clyde-type tale (filmed in 1941 by Nicholas Ray as "They Live By Night")stands, with "The Long Goodbye" at the pinnacle of Robert Altman's extraordinary 1970s body of work -- even above "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" & "Nashville." Shot like old sepia photographs by Jean Boffety, the film boasts extraordinary supporting work by Bert Remsen, John Shuck, the pre-"Cuckoo's Nest" Louise Fletcher, and one unforgettable little girl. Why this masterpiece is all but forgotten is baffling: it's in a royal line of American movies dealing with average men and women trying to live in the twilight between decency and crime.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Altman Effort January 9, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
Director Robert Altman accepted a tough challenge in deciding to do a remake of a film noir classic from 1949. "They Live by Night" starred Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell and was directed by Nicholas Ray, who guided James Dean to his biggest triumph in "Rebel Without a Cause."

Just twenty-five years after Ray's brilliant triumph Altman scored big with his sequel, which he called "Thieves Like Us," which was the name of the Edward Anderson Depression novel from which the films were adapted. While the earlier drama emphasized the wide open spaces of Oklahoma and the dark, moody noir photography in which Nicholas Ray specialized, Altman put his own stamp on the sequel, moving the action from the aforementioned Southwestern state to the Southeast and rural Mississippi.

Whereas Ray emphasized mood and photography to a greater extent, Altman focused on the social climate of the Depression days in Mississippi. Keith Carradine, the sympathetic figure of the film's bank robbers, as was Farley Granger in the original, tells Shelley Duval, the slender young woman who falls in love with him, that yes, he had killed a man earlier and was sent to prison for doing so, but explains the circumstances.

"He had a gun and it was either him or me," Carradine explains. The statement summarizes the dire circumstances of the Depression in backwoods Mississippi, where survival was the paramount factor. Carradine, who played on the prison baseball team, is saddened that he will never have a chance to test his talents in the professional market. Duval holds out hope that perhaps he can, but he knows better. Carradine realizes he is a pawn of fate, having broken out with two seasoned professional criminals, opposites played by John Shuck and Bert Remsen.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars radio fictions July 17, 2006
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
You can pick this video up, new, for about two bucks. Its like getting a novel for a dime and thats fitting since this is a film set during a time when novels were a dime (and cokes a nickle). This film will make you feel like you are in another time and in another place. I suppose that price tag is proof that this film doesn't get much respect but that lack of respect, that underdog independence that marks so many of Altman's films, is just part of their appeal. I can see why this film is kind of a lost classic, because THIEVES LIKE US takes place in a time and place that you don't want to be in. In the rural Mississippi of the 1930's people don't have many options, everyone's just scraping by. The only glimpse of glamour in this world is provided by the radio. The radio is simultaneously the thing that describes the world and also transforms the world it describes by making everything ordinary seem sensational and larger-than-life. It almost seems that since nothing ever happens in this backwards Mississippi world crime like radio is just a way of relieving the tedium. Many of the radio programs involve dynamic capers and crime stoppers and when the three thieves read about themselves in the newspapers its almost like they have transcended their mundane surroundings and have become part of that glamourous radio world. Of course we can see that they haven't. And of course the Shadow knows it too.

The three thieves are just ordinary guys (no Clyde Barrow among them). In fact they are each almost painfully plain and they all seem to know it and this is part of their rebellion against not just authority but against life itself.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Altman Classic April 17, 2007
By Art
Nice to see this classic finally get a DVD release in the US. Altman was at the top of his game in the early 70s (between MASH and Nashville) and this movie fits in perfectly alongside such classics as McCabe & Mrs Miller, The Long Goodbye and California Split. Great performances from Shelley Duvall and Keith Carradine dominate this gangster film that's much more interested in the two young lovers than in bullets or blood.

A must-see for all Altman fans. For collectors, be forewarned by the short shelf-life of the California Split DVD and grab your copy now.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the reasons Altman's considered a genius..... December 9, 2006
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This movie, a better rendition, if you ask me, of the whole "Bonnie & Cllyde" type of story, with Shelley Duvall practically owning the movie as Keechie, the quirky love interest of Keith Carradine's Bowie in this film, was made THIRTY-THREE YEARS AGO by the late, legendary Robert Altman. All things seem to come together nicely in this film: the art direction, something which Altman and his protegé Alan Rudolph were noted for on generally small budgets; the acting, by Duvall, Carradine, Remsen, Schuck and Fletcher; the cinematography, which is flawless and denouement, which flows like clear water to its final destination.

Remsen, Carradine and Schuck play bank robbers in this movie, but Altman takes pains not to portray them as monsters, with the possible exception of Schuck's character. Bowie is parlayed by Carradine as a sensitive, good-humored, "aw shucks" type who woos the rail-thin, down-home Keechie all through the movie. Remsen's character, "T-Dub", is portrayed as a bit of a randy old man, but essentially good natured. It is only Schuck's character that gets the standard "criminal [...]" treatment in the film, as a drunken, abusive and violent type. The upshot of this all is, BOWIE is the one who's a convicted murderer, but in the film, he's as gentle as a lamb with Keechie and the children he comes in contact with, all related to "T-Dub" and Louise Fletcher in one way or another.

Duvall's Keechie is her best role to date! Nobody can wield a rocking chair like her! Keechie falls for Bowie, (in fact, Carradine's Bowie is an awful lot like his character in "Trouble in Mind", a thief who wants to keep his family out of it,) and loses it when the inevitable happens at the end.

This was the kind of film Hollywood did beautifully in the 70s...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Altman that deconstructs Bonnie & Clyde mythos
Indispensable 70s Altman work, this time deconstructing the gangster genre. Minimizing the importance of plot and emphasizing character and setting instead, Altman gets fantastic... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Metatron
5.0 out of 5 stars I bought it for her and we loved watching it together
I work for a lady who plays a character in this movie. I bought it for her and we loved watching it together.
Published 2 months ago by Judith D Runyon
3.0 out of 5 stars like in a waking dream
If there's any such thing as a "typical" Altman film from a certain period, this would be it. I watched this back to back with "McCabe & Mrs. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Berigan Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Good purchase.
Excellent transaction. Excellent condition. Perfect all around. A great item at a fantastic price. Words cannot describe my experience on Amazon as of late. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Loralie Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars Wanted more from Altman
OK, it IS a Robert Altman film, and he just doesn't make bad films. I expected a little more old-time gangster action. It moves a little more slowly that what I wanted. Read more
Published 15 months ago by John
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting storyline
This movie has an interesting story line but acting could have been better. Film location was great for this movie.
Published 18 months ago by Robert J. Bailey
I bought this DVD because I live in Mississippi, where the story takes place, and having seen the movie previously, I wanted my own copy. Read more
Published 19 months ago by John R. Mallernee
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating period film rewards the patient viewer well
I'd seen this film for sale at a large retailer many times . I almost pulled the trigger several times . I'm going to get a copy now that I've seen it . Read more
Published 23 months ago by Hammer + Jazz
5.0 out of 5 stars Altman's unique, thoughtful and humanistic view of 1930s gangesters
I teetered between 4 and 5 stars on this. A gentle, slow, and moving study of some none-too-bright bank robbers in the 1930s. Read more
Published on August 2, 2012 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Altman's unique, thoughtful and humanistic vision of 1930s gangesters
I teetered between 4 and 5 stars on this. A gentle, slow, and moving study of some none-too-bright bank robbers in the 1930s. Read more
Published on August 14, 2010 by K. Gordon
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