7.9/10
21,976
139 user 88 critic

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 June 1950 (USA)
A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

Ben Maddow (screen play), John Huston (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Big Heat (1953)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Tough cop Dave Bannion takes on a politically powerful crime syndicate.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando
Key Largo (1948)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A man visits his war buddy's family hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas
White Heat (1949)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A potentially violent screenwriter is a murder suspect until his lovely neighbor clears him. But she begins to have doubts.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy
The Killers (1946)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-time grifter and nightclub tout takes advantage of some fortuitous circumstances and tries to become a big-time player as a wrestling promoter.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A pickpocket unwittingly lifts a message destined for enemy agents and becomes a target for a Communist spy ring.

Director: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter
The Big Sleep (1946)
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit".

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart
Laura (1944)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb
Gun Crazy (1950)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: John Dall, Peggy Cummins, Berry Kroeger
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sterling Hayden ... Dix Handley
Louis Calhern ... Alonzo D. Emmerich
Jean Hagen ... Doll Conovan
James Whitmore ... Gus Minissi
Sam Jaffe ... Doc Erwin Riedenschneider
John McIntire ... Police Commissioner Hardy
Marc Lawrence ... Cobby
Barry Kelley ... Lt. Ditrich
Anthony Caruso ... Louis Ciavelli
Teresa Celli ... Maria Ciavelli
Marilyn Monroe ... Angela Phinlay
William 'Wee Willie' Davis ... Timmons (as William Davis)
Dorothy Tree ... May Emmerich
Brad Dexter ... Bob Brannom
John Maxwell ... Dr. Swanson
Edit

Storyline

When the intelligent criminal Erwin "Doc" Riedenschneider is released from prison, he seeks a fifty thousand-dollar investment from the bookmaker Cobby to recruit a small gang of specialists for a million-dollar heist of jewels from a jewelry. Doc is introduced to the lawyer Alonzo D. Emmerich that offers to finance the whole operation and buy the gems immediately after the burglary. Doc hires the safecracker Louis Ciavelli, the driver Gus Minissi and the gunman Dix Handley to the heist. His plan works perfectly but bad luck and betrayals compromise the steps after the heist and the gangsters need to flee from the police. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The City Under The City!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

1 June 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Asphalt Jungle (The City Under the City) See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,232,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,868
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #847. See more »

Goofs

Although the story takes place in middle America, one urban scene clearly shows the Los Angeles city hall in the background. See more »

Quotes

Doc Riedenschneider: That copper, he recognized me.
Cobby: How'd you know he was a copper?
Doc Riedenschneider: I can smell one a block off.
Cobby: Oh, don't worry about Ditrich. He's on my payroll. Practically a partner. Me and him, we're like that.
[Cobby holds up his index and middle finger]
Doc Riedenschneider: Experience has taught me never to trust a policeman. Just when you think one's all right, he turns legit.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

That Rat-In-A-Maze Feeling
22 January 2008 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Characters are as harsh as their physical surroundings in this bleak story about a group of men who plan, then attempt to carry out, a jewel heist in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the late 1940s. It's a story of cheap booze, bookies, a corrupt police officer, and sleazy, desperate criminals.

Dix (Sterling Hayden) is a smalltime gambler; he's tall, rarely smiles, and has a girlfriend named "Doll" (Jean Hagen). Cigar-smoking Doc (Sam Jaffe) is the group's brain; he's just out of prison, and has a weakness for pretty young girls. Ciavelli (Anthony Caruso) is a middle-aged man with a wife and sick baby. And Lon Emmerich (Louis Calhern) is the smooth-talking lawyer who functions as the group's respectable front man; he has a whiny wife and a voluptuous blonde girl-on-the-side named Angela (Marilyn Monroe). None of these characters or anyone else in the story is sympathetic. But they're all unique, with their own dreams, motivations, and flaws.

Despite Doc's well-laid plans and the competence of the other players, unforeseen events, accidents, and bad luck make their robbery scheme fraught with peril. That "stuff" happens is not their fault. It's fate. And the story's outcome is a forceful reminder that much of what happens in life is random and to some extent meaningless. The film's message is thus highly existential.

What makes the overall story interesting is that it is told from the POV of each of the criminal participants. We get to know these characters as individuals, and then watch them under pressure, as they react to unplanned events.

Their individual predicaments make for good drama. And the film's noirish, high-contrast B&W lighting ups the drama even more. Most of the plot takes place at night, or in dimly lit, rundown, seedy back-rooms. "The Asphalt Jungle" has an oppressive, claustrophobic, rat-in-a-maze feel to it.

Casting and acting are fine. I especially liked the performance of Louis Calhern. Arguably, the best element of the film is the cinematography. Those stark visuals in some scenes are just terrific. My only complaints, both minor, are that the script has several characters too many, and the film lacks appropriate background music.

Although visually bleak and dreary, "The Asphalt Jungle" is a high quality film with a thoughtful story about desperate people living on the underbelly of society. The script is good, and the direction from John Huston is excellent.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 139 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed