Combustible Celluloid
Search for Posters

With: Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands, Paul Sorvino, Sheldon Leonard, Gerard Murphy, Kevin O'Connor, Claudia Peluso, Patrick Hines, Malachy McCourt, Walter Klavun
Written by: Walon Green, based on a book by Noel Behn
Directed by: William Friedkin
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 104
Date: 08/12/1978

The Brink's Job (1978)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Big Boost

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Arguably William Friedkin's funniest film, this intricately-designed heist film re-creates the famous 1950 Boston Brink's robbery with loving detail.

Peter Falk stars as Tony Pino the mastermind, a small-time thug who bungles several other jobs before setting his sights higher. His crew is made up of a team of master character actors: Warren Oates, Paul Sorvino, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, etc., with Gena Rowlands as Tony's wife.

Friedkin concentrates, with his usual skill, on the tiny details of the robbery, but with a kind of ironic joy; it's a small town, and everyone seems to know what Tony's up to, but nobody cares. (The robbers actually hold little meetings inside the Brink's building at night.) The comedy then flows naturally from the characters and their interactions, though Friedkin keeps it from getting too broad and slapsticky.

The movie's trump card is Sheldon Leonard as a half-mad J. Edgar Hoover, who sees commies as responsible for the job. The strange ending is perfect for Friedkin: after all this research and detail, nothing is ever final, definite or understandable.

The film received one Oscar nomination, for its impressive set design and art direction.

After years of being under-appreciated, Kino Lorber finally released The Brinks' Job on Blu-ray in 2019. (It's currently available on DVD as a Universal Vault title.) Though it has an urban grayness, the picture is wonderfully sharp, with an uncomplicated audio track. It includes a commentary track by film historians Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell, and Nathaniel Thompson (sadly, not Friedkin himself, who usually does great commentary tracks), optional English subtitles, a theatrical trailer, and several other trailers.

Movies Unlimtied