The Asphalt Jungle


(out of 5)

Genre-defining heist movie that is as memorable for its rich characters and sharp writing as for its glinty black-and-white cinematography and cool, jazzy style.  arrives in town fresh from his jail sentence with thievery on his mind. He hooks up with a crack team of jewel thieves (including and ) under the guidance of a financially burdened lawyer (), all of them conspiring to rob a store of its precious gemstones. The actual heist goes without a hitch, but little surprises and accidents that follow the theft lead to a more dubious climax than the bad boys had planned. Later the inspiration for Jules Dassin’s even more impressive Rififi, this film also features a terrific performance by as Hayden’s girlfriend and an early appearance by a still young and dewy . It’s film that directors often look back to when making this kind of movie, and very few have duplicated its easy finesse since.


USA, 1950

Directed by John Huston

Screenplay by , John Huston, based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by ,

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

The Criterion Collection

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Sam Jaffe as “Dr. Edwin Riedenschneider”)
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) (Harold Rosson)
Best Directing (John Huston)
Best Writing (Screenplay) (Ben Maddow, John Huston)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Motion Picture Director (John Huston)
Best Screenplay (John Huston, Ben Maddow)
Best Cinematography-Black and White (Harold Rosson)

Asphalt Jungle


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