Thief (1981) – Review

Michael Mann’s directorial debut, Thief stars James Caan as Frank an expert thief living in Chicago and making the most of life after spending a lot of his earlier years in prison. He is looking to settle down with his girlfriend (Tuesday Weld) and begin a family. But when his fence is thrown from a window things start to get complicated and one last big heist for a gang boss has violent consequences that even he did not expect.

Neon-lit streets and gangland troubles are one of the directors high points and it shows in this superb 4K restoration on the Blu Ray. James Caan has never been better and has good support from James Belushi and Robert Prosky as the menacing gang boss. Another high point is the electronic score by Tangerine Dream and as a whole, this intelligent thriller is rightly regarded as a classic of the 1980’s. It was released in cinema’s in the UK as Violent Streets.

uk poster for Thief 1981

The limited edition package from Arrow comes with the following special features:

  • Limited Slipcase Edition [3000 units] featuring two versions of the film
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the director’s cut from a new 4K film transfer, approved by director Michael Mann, with uncompressed 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the original theatrical cut [Limited Edition Exclusive] with original uncompressed 2.0 Stereo PCM audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Optional isolated music and effects track on the theatrical cut
  • Audio commentary by writer-director Michael Mann and actor James Caan. The very interesting commentary which was initially included on MGM’s R1 DVD of Thief. It was recorded in 1995.
  • The Directors: Michael Mann a 2001 documentary on the filmmaker, containing interviews with Mann, James Belushi, William Petersen, Jon Voight and others.
  • Stolen Dreams – a new short interview with Caan, filmed exclusively for this release.
  • Hollywood USA: James Caan an episode of the French TV series Ciné regards devoted to the actor, filmed shortly after Thief had finished production. With burnt in French subtitles.
  • The Art of the Heist – an examination of Thief with writer and critic F.X. Feeney, author of the Taschen volume on Michael Mann
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork.
  • Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Brad Stevens.

Great package yet again from Arrow of a classic 80’s thriller.

FILM: 8 PICTURE: 9 AUDIO: 8 EXTRAS: 9

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