$ (1971)

“If we didn’t have thieves, we wouldn’t need banks.”

A security expert (Warren Beatty) working for a German bank collaborates with a call girl (Goldie Hawn) to determine which safety deposit boxes contain dirty money, then engineers an elaborate heist. However, when the burgled cons (Scott Brady, Robert Webber and Arthur Brauss) learn they’ve been duped, they seek immediate revenge.


Richard Brooks wrote and directed this fast-paced long-con flick, set in Hamburg, Germany, and notable for having a single symbol as its title (it’s come to be referred to as Dollars). While it’s somewhat challenging to determine what’s happening during the first portion of the film, we eventually figure out that Beatty and Hawn are working together on an elaborate heist — though once they’re (barely) successful, their troubles have only just begun. (Then again, what else would you expect when you steal from thieves?) Unfortunately, this film should be a lot more fun than it is: it’s all machinations and little genuine involvement or narrative, with only the basics of a gotcha plot emerging. Hawn’s quirky character is poorly conceived, and while Beatty is appropriately clever and quick on his feet, he’s a slippery, unknowable sort. Fans of well-directed heists and chase sequences will want to check this one out, but it’s not must-see viewing for all film fanatics.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Good use of authentic location settings in Hamburg

  • Quincy Jones’ soundtrack

Must See?
No, though fans of heist flicks will probably want to check it out.


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