GenreCrime, Mystery, Drama Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateAugust 1967 (1967-08) Based onThe Robbers Tale by Peta Fordham WriterEdward Boyd, George Markstein, Gerald Wilson (story), Peter Yates Initial releaseAugust 1967 (United Kingdom) ScreenplayPeter Yates, George Markstein, Edward Boyd CastStanley Baker (Paul Clifton), Joanna Pettet (Kate Clifton), James Booth (Inspector George Langdon), Frank Finlay (Robinson), Barry Foster (Frank), William Marlowe Similar moviesPayroll, The Criminal, The Clouded Yellow, Murder by Proxy, On the Night of the Fire, The Third Man
TaglineWho says crime doesn't pay? 3 Million pounds says it does!
Robbery 1967 the car chase
Robbery is a 1967 British crime film directed by Peter Yates and starring Stanley Baker. The story is a heavily fictionalised version of the 1963 Great Train Robbery. The film was produced by Stanley Baker and Michael Deeley, for Baker's company Oakhurst Productions.
A criminal gang uses a gas canister to knock out the occupant of a car and then bundle him into a stolen ambulance. There they cut free a briefcase full of jewellery. Shortly after, when changing vehicles, the criminals are spotted by the police and a high-speed chase develops with the criminals getting away.
Using the money from this job, crime boss Paul Clifton (Stanley Baker) builds up a team to hit a Royal Mail train coming south from Glasgow. A meticulous plan is put in place, but there are obstacles: the driver of the getaway car identified in an identity parade and arrested (but refuses to name accomplices to police); gang member Robinson (Frank Finlay) has to be broken out of prison, and Inspector George Langdon (James Booth) is hot on the trail of the jewel robbers, and finds out through informers about plans for an even bigger heist.
The gang gathers to do the job and change the signals to stop the train and escape with the cash. In the morning, Langdon and the police investigate the crime scene and explore possible local hideouts, including a disused airbase where the robbers are hiding in the basement, but are not found.
The cash is divided up and the getaway vehicles hidden at a scrapyard. Members wait in turn to take their share to Switzerland. However, the paid-off scrapyard man is arrested at an airport and found with banknotes from the raid and confesses. Police then arrest some of gang as they retrieve cars at the scrapyard. This leads the police back to the airfield, where they arrest further gang members.
Clifton evades capture. He places his cut of the money on a private plane and is last seen disembarking at New York with a different identity.
According to Michael Deeley the film did "good business" on release. It was not a big hit in the US; Peter Yates called it "very poorly exploited". The film won the best original British screenplay award (Edward Boyd, Peter Yates, George Markstein) from the Writers Guild of Great Britain.
The critical response to Robbery over the years was summarized by Peter Elliott in 2014: "Robbery was praised by a number of critics upon its release. ... However, time and culture have not been kind to Yates' film, and it has, to a very large extent, been relegated to a footnote in British crime cinema." Beyond critical opinion, the car chase at the beginning of the film has been very influential. It was seen by Steve McQueen, and led him to approve Yates as the director of Bullitt (1968). The car chase in Bullitt has been called "revolutionary" and "one of the most exciting car chases in film history".
In 2008 Robbery was released on DVD for the first time. Previous to this, the only copies in circulation were from a VHS release in the 1980s.
In August 2015 a Remastered version was released on Blu-ray and DVD. Scanned at 2K and fully restored to its original aspect Ratio, along with a good selection of Special Features.