Rififi (Du Rififi Chez Les Hommes) | 1955
The Daddy of all heist movies, with its audacious half-hour silent robbery, is set in the tough Parisian underworld of the Fifties, where men slap women around – and women seem to love them for it.
After five years inside, burned-out Tony le Stephanois (Jean Servais) agrees to join a heist on classy jewellers ‘Mappin & Webb’, now Poiray, 1 rue de la Paix at rue des Capucines, alongside Place Vendôme. Don’t go scratching your head to find the little cafe opposite, where the job is planned. This was just a set built for the movie.
The stolen getaway car waits in a narrow alleyway round the corner – where the police inevitably notice it at the worst possible moment – in Cité du Retiro, at 30 rue du Faubourg St-Honoré. Once housing the entrance to Auberge de la Truite restaurant, the alleyway has since been modernised (and gated).
The elaborate entrance to the nightclub, owned by Tony’s rival, Grutter (Marcel Lupovici), was constructed on rue Jean Baptiste Pigalle at rue de Douai, just south of the Pigalle district. The name of the club is a nod to the Luis Buñuel-Salvador Dali surrealist classic, L’Age d’Or, which had also been designed by Alexandre Trauner.
After Tonio, the young son of Jo (Carl Möhner), one of Tony’s accomplices, is kidnapped by Grutter, Tony spreads the word to locals around the streets of Belleville.
The railway bridge where his one-time girlfriend Mado (Marie Sabouret) finds Tony and lets him know the whereabouts of Grutter’s hideout, can still be found in Belleville, on rue de la Mare, just south of rue Henri Chevreau.
Mado craftily uses the dealer who supplies Grutter’s addicted brother as a lead to the kidnapped boy. The dealer’s front is a dry cleaning business, which stood at 45 avenue Georges Bernanos, opposite Port Royale metro station.
It’s from Port Royale that Tony follows the dealer to Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse station, about 15 miles southwest of Paris at the end of the RER line. The final confrontation sees Grutter and his brothers – as well as Jo – killed, though Tony manages to rescue Tonio.
Mortally wounded, Tony manages to drive back to Paris, delivering Tonio back to the boy’s mother, at 2 rue d’Annam, south of Belleville toward Père Lachaise Cemetery, before succumbing to his wounds as the police arrive.