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Showing 1-10 of 240 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 325 reviews
on January 16, 2014
This has been one of my favorite movies since I saw it at the theater when I was 16. There are some movies that I remember distinctly the experience of seeing them when i was young and this is one of them (as was Jaws and Star Wars).

It has always bummed me out that the home video offerings of this movie were sub par. I thought the DVD was terrible. Watching the Criterion Blu-ray is like seeing the movie again for the first time. The night time footage on my plasma HDTV look insanely good. I watch this movie and I'm simply amazed on how well Criterion has done this transfer. The fact that the movie looks this good after more than 30 years is awesome. Simply put this is a beautiful transfer and any fan of this movie is going to be very happy.

The sound on this Criterion blu-ray is also awesome! The audio is probably as impressive if not more so than the video. Tangerine Dream's atmospheric soundtrack has never sounded better. The dialog, the shootouts, the safe cracking sounds are all perfect.

I'm very happy with this purchase. This blu-ray is well worth the $25. I wish there were some other similar movies that were not really popular that would get this treatment. The extras were modest but nice. All the interviews are in HD and done recently. i really enjoyed watching them. Highly recommended!
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on March 5, 2015
Classic crime thriller Director Michael mann started off Directing TV show episodes & TV movies
before actually Directing feature length films
and THIEF is Michael's first film as Director & writer based on real actual events of Frank Hohimer
Filmed in 1980 released in Theaters 1981
Thief's about safe cracker Frank Hohimer played brilliantly by Actor James caan
who plans to leave the criminal world behind him after one final Diamond Heist
but Discovering escape is not as simple as he hoped
Brilliant performance by James caan he nails the role perfectly
James Belushi, his first film plays Barry, Franks partner
Tuesday weld plays Frank's love interest Jessie
Michael mann also wrote the screenplay aswell as Directing the film

first released on DVD back in 1998 with only Audio commentary as an extra
the staff at Criterion collection Decided to release the film again on Blu-ray this time, it's been a long time coming
but this classic thriller is finally on blu-ray with an all new 4k High Definition transfer in 1:85:1 widescreen
approved by Michael mann himself & it's Michael's Directors cut version in a new HD transfer
with added footage inserted back in the film NOT RATED 124mins
and i tell you the picture quality does look amazing very clear & sharp picture nice bright colours, no Grain or Dirt
incredible picture quality for sure, better than the old DVD release of course
plus the sound quality has been boosted to a new 5.1 Master audio mix, sounds Great through my surround sound system

it does not stop there
Criterion have also added new special features along with the old DVD commentary by Michael mann & James caan
new extras is a New interview with Michael mann added for this blu-ray release
Michael talks in Great Detail about how he started getting into films
he talks about the screenplay and how it's based on real life events of safe Cracker Frank Hohimer
Michael talks about Jerry Bruckheimer who was the producer for THIEF
he also talks about getting the right cast for the film, talks about James caan, Tuesday weld, Robert prosky
and other things about THIEF aswell
very interesting interview goes for 24mins
new interview with Actor James caan, James talks mainly about his character Frank
he talks about working with Tuesday weld, and meeting/working with Michael mann
another Great interview only goes for 10mins thou
and another new interview with Music composer Johannes schmoelling from the band Tangerine Dream
Johannes did the music score for THIEF
the interview is in German language i think which has English subtitles
but Johanne talks about how he got involved with Michael mann for the film, he talks about the music score etc
tragically no new interview with Actress Tuesday weld it would've been Great to hear her comments about THIEF
Tuesday is 70 yo now still alive and well

there's also a thick booklet that comes with this blu-ray
the 4k transfer is talked about in this booklet, it says the black bars at the top & bottom of the screen are normal
for the 1:85:1 widescreen format of THIEF, well i can tell you there are no black bars on the screen when i play the blu-ray
not on my widescreen TV anyway so i think that's misleading info
there's a 2nd Disc in this case, it's the DVD version of the film which i didn't bother with
Blu-ray is the technology to watch now, DVD is out the window

so time to upgrade for sure get this new blu-ray version by Criterion collection incredible picture quality & new extras to
5 stars i gave it
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on February 18, 2014
I am not going to discuss this great film here, except to say that it comes as a close second to my all-time favorite from Michael Mann epic crime classic "Heat" and IMO is the best James Caan performance of all that I have seen (and I've seen most of them).
"Thief" blu-ray looks and sounds stunning - (much better than Heat blu-ray), and possibly even better than its theatrical version. I've seen this film many times and have it on DVD but watching it on blu-ray was like a whole new incredible experience.
Extra features include very informative commentary from Mann and Caan and interviews with both of them and Tangerine Dream band leader Johannes Schmoelling who contributed the film's unique soundtrack.

All in all home run for Criterion and Michael Mann, hope they get around to make the Ultimate blu-ray edition for "The Insider".

For fans of the film and/or Michael Mann - you don't want to miss this one!!
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on November 21, 2015
The crime film to end all crime films. James Caan and Tuesday Weld are two actors that should be remembered when one talks of movie greats. Tuesday Weld came along in the fifties as a child star and excelled in the craft. Like Elizabeth Taylor, child star, of the forties, did Miss Weld ever go through an awkward period but steadily grown in experience graduating fluidly from child to teen to adult star. Unlike so many others she out shown older actors with her flawless, insightful performances and in Thief she gives a brilliant and heartbreaking one as the woman Mr. Caan loves and who he builds his hopes and dreams of a normal life on and who he ultimately has to send away.. Mr. Caan, once again, as in The Gambler, gives an electric, knowing performance. The two actors are people we may not like but understand and we are pulling for them even though we know, in the back of our minds, that things will not turn out well for them. Miss Weld is the heart of the piece going from beaten down beauty to beautiful earthmother. When Mr. Caan has to send her away and tells her she means nothing to him she knowingly lets him off easy without recrimination, though her heart is breaking. There are several scenes where these two actors play off each other wordlessly, however, there isn't a line needed to be uttered by either of them because they now each other so well in the performances. This film is probably what acting is all about. A grim, beautiful film. It should be studied in acting classes because these are two of the true greats in cinema and you don't get to see films being made like this anymore. I only cringe, because the remake of the Gambler just came out and was a disappointment. I can only think some unwise meatheads in Hollywood are thinking "Maybe we should make Thief with Owen Wilson." Cringe.
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on December 9, 2013
I am not a big fan of James Cann, but this must be his best movie ever.
Nicholas Winding Refn must have watched a lot of THEIF before making DRIVE (2011).
The slow pace and anti-hero character development in this movie, make it seem as if it was made by some European director.
It is unbelievable that this great piece of American cinema is Michael Mann's directorial debut film.
This is one moody neo-noir from 1981...another positive aspect of this film is a perfect music score, and some great dialogue.
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on April 25, 2016
This is a fairly decent classic B movie without the condescending T&A. From the outset, it wants you to root for the 'bad guy' because he's just stealing from the uber wealthy. When someone wants to muscle in on his take and 'steal' from him, it becomes personal. The technology is outdated for anyone born after 1990...so, not likely to find an audience there...

If you have followed James Caan (can't believe the billing of my review 'dialog' says "Thief (new line) James Belushi" as if this isn't a James Caan film!) for many years and haven't seen this film, you will want to see it. Otherwise, it is tough to recommend...particularly to a 'younger' generation, who may recognize his voice as "Flint's Dad" in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Caan's best role is still (IMO) Brian Piccolo next to Billy Dee Williams in "Brian's Song." This movie is okay, but no Brian's Song by far. If you're an 'old schooler' then the ancient technology and lack of 'computers' in hacking the security of a building probably won't bother you, but anything as recent as the mid-90s is going to seem light years ahead of this piece.

I recently watched it 'for free' on Prime because I hadn't seen it in quite some time (at least a couple of decades or more).

Watch it if you're a Tuesday Weld fan. Watch it if you're a Willie Nelson fan. He is the only person in the 'play' that seems genuinely 'engaged' with the other actor during the dialog scenes. If you're a Robert Prosky fan, then you have to watch it. One of my favorite lines of all times is when he delivers a "You can't polish a turd" from Christine. And, if you liked him in The Last Action Hero, you can start to appreciate his range.

Overall the movie is very so-so. Back in 1981 is was a lot more interesting and exciting. Today, with the recent James Bond and Mission Impossible sequels, it is tough to compare this to 'modern' action movies. It is a bit more 'raw' in some ways, so that preserves it somewhat. Watch it because you're a fan of some of the actors in it, not because it is the best movie on the planet.
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on April 16, 2014
I have always loved this movie. For this viewer, Thief is a great character study of a thief [powerfully portrayed by James Caan], who wants the last Big Score before he cashes in his chips. Of course, as fate would have it, things don't go exactly as planned. The Criterion blu ray 4K remastering of this film is stunning. Exceptional night time, day time, nature photography,in glorious high definition. Great performances abound: Willie Nelson as his ailing mentor. Tuesday Weld as the reluctant partner who gets far more [or worse] than she bargained for. Jim Belushi gives his best performance [my view] as side kick, accomplice to Caan's thief. I absolutely agree with the reviewer who stated that the restoration makes this film look like a totally different movie, with astonishing high definition images through out. Essential viewing for lovers of great character story movies.
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on March 17, 2014
I remember seeing this film for the first time and it was a life changing event. At that point I was in a emotionally bruised place. Yet, this film inspired me so much to reinvent my life and make the long term comeback as I have. Sometimes we go to the movies and we have an epiphany of such proportions that it is a life changing event. Since I do collect films this Blu-ray disc incarnation is my 3rd purchase of this title all the way from VHS then to DVD and now in this truly magnificent form which makes this film such a joy to watch on my big screen TV and crank up the sound on my home theater system. Of course what people forget is the soundtrack by Tangerine Dream was magnificent then as it is now which I also bought on LP record, then cassette tape, and then on CD which I own 2 versions of because for some reason they did not put all the music on one disc. Needless to say I have all the music from the movie which is spectacular and helped to modernize soundtrack music today as we know it. Now, the Armani clothes Mr. Caan wore in this film provided by the then famous clothing store, " CHARIVARI " are so timeless especially in today's world where virtually any style goes. That 3/4 length leather coat and those suits are just superb. Then we get to the then early 80's Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz in black in it's just freshly downsized form that gave Mr. Caan's jewel thief character of "Frank" the final touch as far as accoutrements go. The scene in the diner with Tuesday Weld is priceless simply because I can totally relate after having my own scene like that in a diner one time. Yet, it's a great piece of acting with these Mr. Caan & Ms. Weld on top of their game way back when. Robert Prosky as the heavy was a nice surprise when I saw this film the first time. He had gotten into the acting game late as an older man, but as a bad guy he shines. The other scene I love is where Frank goes to get his money from the plating company with his completely fearless character. Let's not forget Willie Nelson either who plays "Okla" who is Frank's mentor and father figure who in character reminds Frank that there are still good people to love like surrogate parents no matter how bad things get. I also bought the original book called "The Home Invaders" by Frank Hohimer who this film is based upon. This was another piece of the puzzle that helped me to really dig deep into the characters here in this film. Though the film's character of Frank doesn't say so, in the book Frank Hohimer reminds readers to NEVER team up with the MOB as they will start a relationship one way and then want to own you. Needless to say there are many great lessons about life to be learned from this film and whenever I need a little inspiration I put on this film and let it teach me some fresh lessons that I didn't see before. This is a great film to watch on a rainy night all cozy underneath some blankets with someone who you love~!
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on March 22, 2014
Jimmy Caan delivers his career defining performance here as (Frank), a highly skilled jewell thief with a troubled past.
Executing a mapped out dream to the start of a new life is what motivates his character throughout the film, and conflicts with his main struggle to escape a life of crime and Robert Prosky's (Leo's) influence.
All the key performances in "Thief" are pitch perfect and ad to the believability of the gritty under world urban atmosphere that this film portrays. This crime drama is particularly notable for being the feature film debut of several great actors
such as..

-James Belushi-
-Robert Prosky-
-Dennis Farina-

The newcomers play their respective roles like seasoned pros. Willie Nelson gives a particularly touching performance as "Okla", Frank's mentor and father figure.
The robbery tools in "Thief" where all authentic tools used in previous robberies in the Chicago area, and the films's so called "technical advisors" where former bank robbers themselves. "Thief" has an authenticity of look and feel that has arguably been left unmatched in the heist thriller genre up to this point, and is also a companion piece to Mann's masterpiece "Heat".
Indicative of the moral dilemmas presented in most of Mann's films the line between good and bad guys is too blurred to tell the difference. Indeed Frank will come in to conflict with a corrupt police force as well as the underworld in order to try and complete his story's main objective.

In a movie world of contrived performances and preposterous plot scenarios "Thief" stands head and shoulders above the rest as one of the most authentic/believable crime thriller cinematic experiences ever to grace the silver screen. Michael Mann pulls out all the stops in his US feature film debut to arrive on the scene as a master film maker. He beautifully utilizes sub-prime colors schemes and the contrast between light/negative space in his shooting style to illustrate the different layers of character dynamics, maintaining dramatic tension throughout the 2nd & 3rd act of the movie, anchored by a carefully structured plot and taut, brisk character acting.

Thief (1981) is one of the best Neo-Noir films ever made, and by his own admission James Caan's finest performance of his career.

Strongly recommend this as a buy, particularly now that its out on Blue Ray.
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This is a great movie that doesn't get the respect it deserves. James Caan is great in the lead role and director Michael Mann shows us some of the production techniques we'd later see in the "Miami Vice" TV series. Also, a terrific soundtrack from Tangerine Dream. If you're looking for a suspenseful crime movie that's a little bit dark, "Thief" is a great choice.
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