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Touchez Pas au Grisbi (The Criterion Collection) (1960)

Jean Gabin , René Dary , Jacques Becker  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Gabin, René Dary, Dora Doll, Vittorio Sanipoli, Marilyn Buferd
  • Directors: Jacques Becker
  • Writers: Jacques Becker, Albert Simonin, Maurice Griffe
  • Producers: Robert Dorfmann
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006HC0I2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,519 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Touchez Pas au Grisbi (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Video interviews with actors Lino Ventura and Daniel Cauchy and composer Jean Wiener
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New essays by critics Geoffrey O'Brien and Philip Kemp

Editorial Reviews

Jean Gabin is at his most wearily romantic as aging gangster Max le Menteur in the Jacques Becker gem Touchez pas au grisbi (Hands Off the Loot!). Having pulled off the heist of a lifetime, Max looks forward to spending his remaining days relaxing with his beautiful young girlfriend. But when Riton (René Dary), Max's hapless partner and best friend, lets word of the loot slip to loose-lipped, two-timing Josy (Jeanne Moreau), Max is reluctantly drawn back into the underworld. A touchstone of the gangster-film genre, Touchez pas au grisbi is also pure Becker—understated, elegant, evocative.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The gangster film as ghost story of middle-age and loss. December 14, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
If there is one scene that explains the enduring appeal of 'Touchez Pas Au Grisbi' (basically 'don't touch the loot'), it is this: Max (Jean Gabin at his most Mitchum-esque), an aging hood who has pulled off a massive airport robbery and plans to retire quietly to the country, sits in his apartment one night with his old friend, the somewhat lunk-headed Riton (Rene Dary). Riton's girlfriend (Jeanne Moreau) has left him for a young gangster, Angelo (Lino Ventura in a sensational debut), whom she has informed of the job, and who is trying every means possible to snatch the gold.
So this scene is of crucial generic urgency, with rippling consequences for the development of the plot. What Becker films is entirely without urgency or consequence. In complete silence, he follows the middle-aged men as they enter the apartment, sit down, prepare a light supper, eat and talk; Max then gets up, takes out mattresses and pillows for his friend's bed like a good chambermaid, undresses in the bathroom, brushes his teeth, Riton likewise; then they both go to bed. This beautifully understated, intimate and domestic scene does not replace the crime genre, but co-exists in paralell with it, showing what is at stake.
This split defines the movie, from the conflict between older and younger characters (and men and women); between Max's affable respectability and his latent sadism; between bright interiors of oppressive theatrical artifice and dark outdoor locations; between static scenes where nothing much happens and jolting bursts of brutal violence and action. You even find it in the brilliant closing car chase, as thrilling location work intercuts with Hitchcock-style back projection.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Celler Is Better - No One Will Hear Him Scream." January 23, 2005
By bdlion
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Like a fine wine, TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI has aged wonderfully. Under the expert and loving hands of the folks at Criterion, we have an absolutely pristine print of this understated and refined French gangster movie. Watching the Criterion DVD is to fall completely into the film, as the restored black and white images are simply glorious.

This movie is not like today's heavy-handed violent gangster movies, but a more elegant and sophisticated presentation that focuses on character development and its themes of loyalty, betrayal, and an adherence to a moral code. Jean Gabin, who plays the urbane and respected criminal Max, is the soul of this movie, presenting Max as charming, stoic, and ruthless. Great detail is given to ordinary tasks, like the serving of a meal, brushing of one's teeth, etc., but the effect, instead of arty, goes to the development of the characters and the portrayal of them as regular folks.

Lest you believe this is a slow talky picture, there are moments of explosive violence that will send a chill through you. Suspense is created through the most effective of methods: by what you don't see and what is filled in by one's own imagination. As the tension mounts in the movie, you will be glued to the screen gripping the arms of your chair with withering anticipation. They don't make 'em like this anymore, neither here nor in Europe. This movie is a fine example of both French cinema before the New Wave, and of the gangster genre.

In any language, TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI means film excellence, especially after the careful, painstaking restoration by Criterion Studios.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Gangster Tale with Class... February 16, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Class is often confused with style and fashion in the regards to how one dresses. In our contemporary society this confusion is frequently expressed through flamboyance, which is usually the result of how money talks. However, this vain perception of class has nothing to do with one's self conduct. Refinement, sophistication, and class are qualities that should be attached with characteristics such as trust, confidence, and mutual respect. These qualities are what define a gentleman. When people see a true gentleman they only see the exterior, and it is this exterior that money buys.

The days of gentlemen criminals are long gone. Films such as Scarface (1983), New Jack City (1991), or any of Takashi Miike's violent gangster illustrations depict the new style of gangsters that contemporary society is facing where disloyal and ill-mannered thugs roll in the direction of dough. These films visualize the frightening power money has on people. This could be seen up close in a grotesque manner in the brilliant Maria Full of Grace (2004) where humans are being regarded as pack mules. Touchez Pas Au Grisbi, which was shot over a half century ago, depicts the coming of this new criminal element.

Nostalgia swallows Jacques Becker's crime story about the aging criminal and gentleman Max (Jean Gabin). The story takes place in Paris where Max lives life with a women half his age while spending untold numbers of nights desiring the same meaningless affection from the women seeking their way into men's wallets. The many visits to the night clubs have led Max to discover that he has grown old, and many of the people around him are older. The life he once desired is no longer as appealing, as he decides that he wants to return home early.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic.
A Classic of cinema. It is in french, but everyone understands it because it is universal. It is a perfect gangster movie that shows reality of life. Just great.
Published 4 months ago by D. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable French gangster film!
I watched this to be honest with no expectations. Having watched Rififi, which I particularly enjoyed for its excitement and realism, and having watched Bob le Flambeur, which I... Read more
Published 10 months ago by T. S. C.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Euro film I've ever seen.
A rare great standout foreign (Euro) film. This is maybe the best Euro film I've ever seen. The story moves along well though slower than USA films. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Shock Writer
5.0 out of 5 stars That's Where The Money Is
Hey, I have been touting crime noir films for the past couple of years so why not review, as here with Jean Gabin's 1954 Touchez Pas au Grisbi, a French crime noir in honor of,... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Alfred Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars A film of brilliant details
As Truffaut stated, this is really more a film about friendship and aging than about gangsters.

Jean Gabin is brilliant as Max, the elegant, dignified underworld leader... Read more
Published on December 25, 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Gabin's Comeback Vehicle
"Touchez Pas au Grisbi," ("Don't Touch the Loot,") (1954). In another triumph of classic French cinema, Jacques Becker's tight - 94 minutes--black and white action/ crime... Read more
Published on April 13, 2011 by Stephanie De Pue
5.0 out of 5 stars Gabin and Becker at their melancholy best
Seen today, Touchez Pas Au Grisbi seems like Jean Gabin's last great role, but in 1954 it was seen as his comeback after a slew of disappointing post-war films that were generally... Read more
Published on September 10, 2010 by Trevor Willsmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic, taut French crime thriller w/ the incomparable Gabin
I just wanted to post this review to give it the 5 stars that it deserves.
I won't be as detailed in my review but the prior reviews have said what I have been thinking about... Read more
Published on May 12, 2009 by Stanley K. Wong
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate French Gangster Movie
Jean Gabin has always been my favorite actor (he should be; I wrote a book about him -- WORLD'S COOLEST MOVIE STAR), and this is really the consummate 'later period' Gabin... Read more
Published on October 21, 2008 by Charles L. Zigman
5.0 out of 5 stars Act Your Age
Jean Gabin is sensational as a dapper old Parisian gangster who knows when his bedtime is. Not so his lovelorn buddy who lets slip to his younger showgirlfriend Jeanne Moreau... Read more
Published on August 30, 2008 by EddieLove
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