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Film / Money Movers

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Money Movers is a 1978 Australian crime action drama film directed by Bruce Beresford. The film was based on the book Money Movers by Devon Minchin, founder of Metropolitan Security Services.

On the day that one of his armoured cars is robbed, Lionel Darcy receives an anonymous tip off that his multi-million dollar counting house will soon be hit. A corrupt detective passes this information to crime boss Jack Henderson, who sees a business opportunity. He takes control of the robbery plot from a senior Darcys employee, Eric Jackson, but tough ex-cop Dick Martin makes sure the raid does not go according to plan.


Tropes in Money Movers:

  • Accidental Murder: When Eric robs the cosmetic company, the manager manages to trip the alarm. Dolan comes to investigate and Eric runs into him as he is fleeing. Eric hits him to get away, but hits him too hard and Dolan dies.
  • Accidental Truth: Leo—who is secretly an undercover operative for the insurance agency—sends a Cut-and-Paste Note claiming that the counting house is going to be robbed as a ruse to flush out any possible thieves within the armoured car company. Unknown to him, there really was a plot to rob the counting house from inside the company.
  • Agony of the Feet: Jack Henderson persuades Eric Jackson to allow him to take over his robbery plan by tying him to a chair and having his henchman Ernest start cutting his toes off with a set of bolt-cutters till he agrees.
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  • Alliterative Title: Money Movers
  • Armed Blag: A trio of robbers knock over an armoured when the drivers stop for lunch in a crime that becomes known as the 'leg of lamb' robbery.
  • Bound and Gagged: The crooks who pull the Armed Blag at the start of the film leave the guards bound and gagged in the back of the van, except for Martin who resists and gets knocked out with a shotgun butt to the back of the head.
  • Car Meets House: Eric surprises a group of car thieves in a car showroom by driving the patrol car through the plate glass window and on to the showroom floor.
  • The Cavalry: Griffiths, the head of security, arrives in the counting house with several guards just in time to shoot Eric is about to kill Leo.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Dino smashes a chair over Leo—who is already lying on the floor—during the fight in the counting room.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Not a con man, but undercover insurance investigator Leo hates guns and, when forced to carry one for his cover, takes the shells out and sticks them in his pocket. This saves his life when one of the robbers grabs his gun and tries to shoot him with it.
  • Criminal Procedural
  • Cut-and-Paste Note: Lionel Darcy receives a cut-and-paste note warning him that the counting house is going to be robbed.
  • Dirty Cop: Det. Sgt. Sammy Rose is a crooked cop who is in bed with local crime boss Jack Henderson. Henderson provides him with tips to help him solve crimes, and he points Henderson in the direction of profitable jobs.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Leo the insurance investigator. Even when undercover as a security guard, he does not load his revolver; an act which later saves his life.
  • Fingore: Jack Henderson persuades Eric Jackson to allow him to take over his robbery plan by tying him to a chair and having his henchman Ernest start cutting his toes off with a set of bolt-cutters till he agrees.
  • The Heist: Eric, Brian and Ed are formulating a plan for knocking over the counting house of the largest armoured car firm in the city, on the day of the week when it holds the most cash. Local mobster Jack Henderson finds out about the scheme, and muscles his way on board.
  • Inside Job: Jack Henderson discovers that an Armed Blag is being planned by Eric Jackson, a former speedway driver and a Senior Supervisor with Darcy's Security Services, his brother Brian Jackson who also works for Darcy's as an armoured truck driver, and Ed Gallagher, the supervisor of Darcy's counting house.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: During the final firefight, Eric pulls Leo's pistol out his holster and squeezes the trigger, only to have the hammer repeatedly fall on an empty camber. Before he can work out what is happening, he is shot repeatedly by the just arriving Griffiths. Later Griffiths demands to know why Leo's gun wasn't loaded, as per regulations. Leo explains that he hates guns, so he always takes the shells out and sticks them in his pocket.
  • Last Breath Bullet: During the final shootout, a badly wounded Martin crawls out from between the trucks and empties his gun into Brian who is attempting to open the roller doors. Martin's shots kill him, and prevent the doors being opened and the robbers escaping. He then collapses. A slight subversion as Martin actually survives and is seen being load into an ambulance at the end of the film, with Det. Sgt. Rose muttering that if he survives, he'll probably get his badge back.
  • Mister Muffykins: Eric's wife Dawn has an annoying spaniel that she dotes on and takes everywhere. When Eric and Brian are discussing their plans to flee the country after the heist, Brian asks if Eric is upset that he will have to leave Dawn behind. Eric's response is a simple no, and adds that it will mean Dawn can finally marry the dog like she's always wanted.
  • Phoney Call: After the video feed is cut, Eric calls up Henderson to tell him, but pretends to be calling the surveillance company to get them to repair it.
  • Pistol-Whipping: During the counting house robbery, Eric slams Conroy on the back of head, knocking out, and then locking him in the vault. A little later, he knocks out the chief clerk and stuffs him into a cupboard.
  • Planning with Props: Eric, Brian and Ed construct a scale model of the counting house out of cardboard, complete with plastic figures and toy trucks, to plan out the robbery.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Used by the bandit who pull off the Armed Blag at the start of the film. Truth in Television as sawed-off shotguns were the Weapon of Choice for armed robbers in Australia in The '70s.
  • Tae Kwon Door: During the 'leg of lamb' robbery, Dick Martin kicks the door of the armoured car into the face of one of the robbers, knocking him cold. Later, Eric Jackson slams a car door closed on one of the car thieves.
  • Trojan Horse: Eric, Brian and Ed build a fake armoured car, paint it Darcy's colours and deck it out with Darcy's livery, then copy a number plate from one of Darcy's legitimate trucks to allow them to drive into the counting house.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The story deals loosely with two real-life events, the 1970 Sydney Armoured Car Robbery where A$500,000 was stolen from a Mayne Nickless armoured van, and a 1970 incident where A$280,000 was stolen from Metropolitan Security Services' offices by bandits impersonating policemen.
  • With My Hands Tied: When Henderson is 'negotiating' with Eric about getting a cut of Eric's planned heist, he has Eric sat in a chair with his hands tied behind his back. Eric manages to get up, fight his way past Henderson's mooks, get out of the house, and over the fence. He is halfway down the hill before he is finally stopped by being tackled by four of the mooks. In the next shot, he has been tied to the chair with copious amounts of rope.


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