Du Rififi Chez Les Hommes - Rififi

"There's not a safe that resist Cesar and there's not a woman Cesar can resist." Mario

"There's not a safe that can resist Cesar and there's not a woman Cesar can resist." Mario


Rififi (1955) is the greatest Heist film ever made.

Directed by Jules Dassin.

Starring Jean Servais, Carl Mohner, Robert Manuel among many others.

Rififi, is a French cinema masterpiece that was directed by Jules Dassin. Jules was an American living in Paris, after being black listed in Hollywood, as a communist. Dassin was broke when producer Henri Berard offered him, August Le Breton's novel, Du Rififi Chez Le Hommes. Jean-Pierre Melville was scheduled to direct Rififi, but backed out to do another film called, Bob Le Flambeur (1956).  Dassin went and asked Melville if he could replace him as the director of the film.

Jules hated the novel's racist themes and wrote the screen play in six days after getting Melville's blessing to direct the film. The riveting safe cracking scene comes from a real burglary that occurred in 1899 in Marseille's cours St. Louis. The thieves broke into another shop which was above a jewelery shop and cut a hole in the floor. The burglars used an umbrella to catch the falling debris.

The detail in the opening of a safe in the middle of the film is extraordinary. You feel as though you are there with the safe crackers. The clip below is part of a 20+ minute safe cracking scene. There is no dialogue or music during the entire scene. Keep in mind that this film was made in 1954 with a small budget of $200,000. While Dassin was making his epic heist caper in Paris. Melville was making his epic heist caper across town. The two would create a revolution in film making. Both films are Noir masterpieces.

Jean Servais would have given Bogart or Cagney a run at the title for best criminal in a crime drama. What makes Rififi even better is that after the heist the movie goes into over drive when the criminals go to collect their wages. Enjoy!

Trivia - Jules Dassin played Cesar after the actor hired for the part became unavailable.