The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) Poster

A major heist goes off as planned, but then double crosses, bad luck and solid police work cause everything to unravel.




  • "Asphalt Jungle" 1950 MGM
  • Sterling Hayden in The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
  • Sterling Hayden and Jean Hagen in The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
  • Marilyn Monroe and Louis Calhern in The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
  • Sam Jaffe and Helene Stanley in The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
  • "The Asphalt Jungle" M. Monroe & Sterling Hayden 1950 MGM

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

19 June 2003 | Infofreak
Brilliant crime thriller that had a profound influence on the caper genre.
I'm a sucker for a good heist film, and three of the best I've ever seen were made around 1955/56 - 'Rififi', 'Bob le flambeur' and 'The Killing'. Now they are still three of the greatest crime thrillers ever made, but now that I've finally seen 'The Asphalt Jungle' it's obvious what source those movies were drawing on! Not that I'm saying they're rip offs, they're not, but they are kind of three (excellent) variations on Huston's theme. 'The Asphalt Jungle' must therefore be seen as the most influential crime movie of the modern era, and the blueprint for every subsequent caper movie ('The Anderson Tapes', 'Thief', 'Reservoir Dogs', 'The Usual Suspects', 'The Score',etc.etc.) This superb film noir is almost impossible to fault. The script is first rate, John Huston's direction is inspired, Sterling Hayden - possibly America's most underrated actor - is fantastic as troubled ex-con Dix Handley, and the ensemble cast are all excellent, especially James Whitmore ('Them!'), Louis Calhern ('Notorious'), Sam Jaffe ('The Day The Earth Stood Still') and John McIntire ('Psycho'). The early role for Marilyn Monroe made a strong impact on a lot of people, but I was even more impressed by Jean Hagen as Doll. She is unforgettable and her scenes with Hayden are wonderful. Why did she never become a major star? This is a crime classic and brilliant entertainment. Highly recommended!

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


John Huston first met Sterling Hayden in Washington, DC, during a protest against the House Un-American Activities Committee investigation of "subversives" in the film industry. When the pair met to discuss the project, Huston said to Hayden, "I've admired you for a long time, Sterling. They don't know what to make of a guy like you in this business." Huston was honest with Hayden about his chance for the lead role. Hayden recounts in his autobiography Huston's pitch: "Now, Sterling, I want you to do this part. The studio does not. They want a top name star. They say you mean nothing when it comes to box-office draw--I told them there aren't five names in this town [that] mean a damn thing at the box office. Fortunately, they're not making this picture. I am. Now let me tell you about Dix Handley . . . Dix is you and me and every other man who can't fit into the groove." Rumored to be fighting severe alcohol and psychiatric problems, Hayden landed the role of Handley, his first major starring role, over the objection of MGM chief Dore Schary. Hayden's gritty performance proved many Hollywood naysayers flat wrong. For instance, Hayden himself was nervous about the climactic scene in the picture, when Dix breaks down in tears in front of Jean Hagen. According to the director, though, Hayden did not have anything to worry about. After the actor delivered the scene beautifully, Huston took Hayden aside and said, "The next time somebody says you can't act, tell them to call Huston."


Louis Ciavelli: What are you sweatin' for?
Cobby: Money makes me sweat, that's all. It's the way I am.


When Riedenschneider is first led back into Cobby's back room, there are three men visible through the door when it opens. When he gets into the room, they are nowhere to be seen.

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version.


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller

Box Office


$1,232,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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