Rififi (1955)

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Rififi is a 1955 French crime film adaptation of Auguste Le Breton's novel of the same name. Directed by American blacklisted filmmaker Jules Dassin, the film stars Jean Servais as the aging gangster Tony "le Stephanois", Carl Mohner as Jo "le Suedois", Robert Manuel as Mario Farrati, and Jules Dassin as Cesar "le Milanais". The foursome band together to commit an almost impossible theft, the burglary of an exclusive jewelry shop on the Rue de Rivoli. The centerpiece of the film is an intricate half hour heist scene depicting the crime in detail, shot in near silence, without dialogue or music. The fictional burglary has been mimicked by criminals in actual crimes around the world.

After he was blacklisted from Hollywood, Dassin found work in France where he was asked to direct Rififi. Despite his distaste for parts of the original novel, Dassin agreed to direct the film. He shot Rififi while working with a low budget, without a star cast, and with the production staff working for low wages.

Upon the initial release of the film, it received positive reactions from audiences and critics in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The film earned Dassin the award for Best Director at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival. Rififi was nominated by the National Board of Review for Best Foreign Film. Rififi was re-released theatrically in both 2000 and 2015 and is still highly acclaimed by modern film critics as one of the greatest works in French film noir.

Upon its original release, film critic and future director Francois Truffaut praised the film, stating that "Out of the worst crime novels I ever read, Jules Dassin has made the best crime film I've ever seen" and "Everything in Le Rififi is intelligent: screenplay, dialogue, sets, music, choice of actors. Jean Servais, Robert Manuel, and Jules Dassin are perfect." In 2002, critic Roger Ebert added the film to his list of "Great Movies" stating "echoes of [Rififi] can be found from Kubrick's "The Killing" to Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs." They both owe something to John Huston's "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), which has the general idea but not the attention to detail."

(Summary from Wikipedia)