Traffic Jam

The Italian Job contains one of cinema’s greatest endings. After a little over 90-minutes celebrating British pompousness and egotism – to a joyously satirical degree – the final frames ask whether any of that were true, or just an act. That’s ambiguity done right, forcing a nation to look inward at where their typecasting started, then wonder aloud if their attitudes are right… or not.

Michael Caine is a genius here, holding his head high while schmoozing the wealthy to get his cut of a score. The politeness and purity of England’s society is reduced to infiltrating bathrooms to sneak a conversation, that rare case where a criminal breaks into prison after getting out. Money man Bridger (Noel Coward) leads a luxurious, even enviable incarcerated life, and due to his ego (and wealth, of course) he’s paid off the entire system to service him behind bars. He’s Britian, being treated as the royalty the nation demanded as their pop culture began invading foreign soil.

Italian Job remains the most beautiful heist movie ever made

It’s easy to discuss the miraculous, hilarious car chase that provides Italian Job’s finale. Stunt driving swerves up onto sewer walls, over roofs, through walkways, and jumps between buildings. Knowing this was all done live makes the theatricality all the more dynamic, with acceptable absurdity offering cinematic fantasy.

But no, this is Caine’s movie, a character of a certain time, place, and disposition that locks the original Italian Job as untouchable. The 2003 remake had its own fun, but not this brand of it. This is 1960s Britain through and through, where their way is right, personified by Caine’s speech. There he notes their heist to steal gold is a team effort, but everyone listens to him, no one else. That one line makes the ending plausible, satisfying, and priceless.

Driving through Italy and staging a world class traffic jam, Italian Job remains the most beautiful heist movie ever made. Plus, Fiat and Mini Coopers speed across the screen better than in any car commercial, elevating British brands as if Lamborghini. That they chose these tiny vehicles factors into their plan, if again cementing the egotism – British cars are the best, even when dealing in thousands of pounds of payload and high-speed chases through the streets. It’s a delight to watch, and that’s all Caine’s performative magic doing the setup.


Flush with intense color, Kino’s Dolby Vision presentation enhances the Italian sights via brilliant green hills and intensely bronzed flesh tones. Italian Job appears lively, even energetic, enhancing the luxurious aesthetic.

Splendid 4K mastering brings out detail and texture galore. Wide shots of countrysides explode with definition, expressing the full resolution at every stage. Those fancying the cars can pick out paint specks and the leather is easily resolved. Flawless, consistent grain lightly layers over the image, the encode pristine, as is the print itself.

Generously bright contrast pops from the metallic surfaces while sun-lit skylines spare little in reaching their peak brightness. A nice heft is given to the black levels, with shadows pleasingly sharp and crush avoidant.


Stereo and 5.1 options, and in this case, the surround remix is preferred. While the cars do pan naturally, the real lift is given to the score. The way it fills the soundstage enhances the film, providing nuance and life. And this as the chase scenes run fluidly front-to-back, as if always part of Italian Job.

Strong fidelity helps, and the music expands the range, thumping the subwoofer where appropriate.


Kino brings in a commentary from screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin and author Matthew Field. The second track includes producer Michael Deeley and Field. Then, Field has an optional commentary over a deleted scene. Featurettes and documentaries stem from the DVD edition that coincided with the US remake in 2003.

The Italian Job (1969)
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  • Audio
  • Extras


British pompousness highlight the delightful, satirical crime caper The Italian Job, a film that cannot be reproduced.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 44 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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