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The Italian Job

It doesn't seem like 50 years since Sir Michael Caine uttered the immortal words: "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" Five decades on, Peter Collison's seminal romp has lost none of its roguish charm. The masterful chase sequence which takes up the final 20 minutes of the film, involving three Minis and the entire Carabiniere, has rarely been surpassed for thrills and excitement. Caine plays Cockney wideboy Charlie Croker. Shortly after he leaves prison, Charlie becomes involved in a daring plan to steal $4 million in gold from under the nose of the Mafia, masterminded by the enigmatic Mr Bridger (Noel Coward). The plan is simple: cause the "biggest traffic jam in history" and bring Turin to a standstill, steal the gold, and then make the getaway through the city's streets and sewers in three customised Minis (painted red, white and blue). Unlike most caper movies, the plan actually works. Caine and co escape with the gold, only for a spot of bad driving to leave the crew's getaway lorry hanging precariously off the side of a mountain as the end credits roll to the rousing anthem We Are The Self-Preservation Society.