Film / Rififi
L-R: Jo, Mario, Tony, César

Rififi (French: Du Rififi Chez les Hommes, meaning "Trouble Among the Men") is a 1955 French Caper crime drama adaptation of Auguste Le Breton's novel of the same name, directed by American filmmaker Jules Dassin.

Tony (Jean Servais) is a down-on-his-luck con who has just gotten out of jail after serving a five-year sentence for jewel robbery. He took the rap and didn't betray his old partner, Jo. Jo approaches Tony with a plan he's cooked up with his friend Mario, to commit a smash-and-grab robbery of the jewels on display at a Paris jewelry store. They recruit César, a safe cracker (played by director Jules Dassin), and pull off a daring and intricate heist that yields them jewelry worth 240 million francs. However, César's lack of caution after the robbery leads to disaster.

Compare 1970 film Le Cercle Rouge, also in French, also being about The Caper to rob a jewelry store, also featuring an extended robbery sequence with no dialogue.

This film provides examples of:

  • Almost Dead Guy: One of the baddies lives long enough to tell Grutter that Tony came around to seize the kid. Then he dies.
  • Anti-Hero: Tony, the protagonist and "good guy", who beats his ex-girlfriend with a belt and kills three people.
  • Anyone Can Die: Most of the male cast does.
  • Big Bad: Pierre Grutter is a remorseless killer.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The baddies are downright evil but the protagonists are criminals none the less.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: How the loot is hauled around, naturally.
  • The Caper: Breaking into a jewelry store and stealing the diamonds therein.
  • Caper Crew:
    • The Mastermind / The Driver: Tony.
    • The Partner in Crime: Mario.
    • The Burglar: César.
    • The Muscle: Jo.
  • The Chanteuse: Viviane, César's girlfriend, who sings the title song.
  • The Convenient Store Next Door: The criminals rent the office above the jewelery store and tunnel in through the ceiling.
  • Determinator: The dying Tony is still able to pick up his godson Tonio and drive him home.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In French crime films of the 1950s, it is common for the protagonist to have spent four or five years in jail. There is a critical consensus that this is a reference to the German occupation of France in World War Two.
  • Downer Ending: Almost the entire cast ends up dead. And nobody gets the money, either.
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: The jewelry heist is big news the next morning.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Grutter takes the Idiot Ball when he missed to check on Tony after giving him a gut shot.
  • Fanservice: There's Ida's Of Corsets Sexy scene, and there's a later scene where she strolls in wearing a see-through bra to greet the gang.
  • Fatal Flaw: César's love for women brings the whole caper down.
  • Honor Among Thieves: César spills the beans to Grutter, but only at the point of a gun. The other three are friends and stick together.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: The kid for the money.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • The whole series of disasters is kicked off when César gives a ring from the heist to his girlfriend, the day after the robbery.
    • The final tragedy ensues when Jo ignores Tony's warning to not give the ransom money to Grutter, as Grutter will simply kill him. Jo does it anyway, and Grutter does indeed kill him.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Gentleman César does this to Viviane when they first meet.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Tonio turns out to be the only surviving major male character.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: As a sign of Tony's poor health condition after going through jail. It doesn't actually lead to his death, but it's implied that Tony has a Your Days Are Numbered feeling and wants to pull One Last Job for that reason.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: A little bit of fanservice in which Mario is introduced being given a bath by Ida, who very nearly pops out of her corset.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Jo falls victim to this trope. Tony misses to communicate to him that he is about to get to the hide-out where Jo's son was held captive. Jo then decides to quit the waiting game and go through with the Hostage for MacGuffin transfer which eventually cost his life while his son was already saved by Tony.
  • Pretty in Mink: Mado wear a glamorous fur coat.
  • Safecracking: César's role with the gang. He's brought into the caper after Tony insists on a big safe robbery instead of a simple smash-and-grab of the goods in the window.
  • Silence Is Golden: One of the more memorable uses of this trope in movie history. The entire heist sequence, which runs a full half-hour, takes place without any dialogue.
  • Slashed Throat: How the Grutters dispose of Mario and Ida.
  • Take That!: The whole plot point of César talking, and then getting whacked by Tony, is often interpreted by scholars as this against the "friendly witnesses" whose cooporation with the HUAC resulting in the blacklisting of such folks as...director Jules Dassin.
  • Title Drop: It's the title of the theme song, sung by Viviane (Magali Noel.)
  • Undying Loyalty: Between Tony and his old friends. Unfortunately, César would rather talk to save himself.
  • Villain Protagonist: The protagonists are a group of criminals.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Tony whipping Mado.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Tony suspects the Grutters will eventually have Tonio killed since he's a potential witness, so he decides to jump into action.