The Thomas Crown Affair is a heist movie by Normal Jewison, starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway as, respectively, Thomas Crown, a millionaire businessman who has just pulled off the perfect crime, and Vicki Anderson, an independent insurance investigator contracted to investigate the heist who will get a portion of the stolen money if she manages to recover it. Crown obviously doesn't need the money, but he is constantly in search of diversions, welcoming Vicki's interest in him as a way to alleviate his boredom, even though she informs him from the start that she is investigating him. Their relationship evolves into a full-blown affair, complicated by Vicki's vow to recover the stolen money.
Also notable is the film's opening theme, "The Windmills of Your Mind," written by Michel Legrand and performed by Noel Harrison. It has since become a pop standard and has been covered by many other artists, including Sting (for the film's remake), Johnny Mathis, Dusty Springfield, and even by Jerry Nelson in The Muppet Show!
It was remade in 1999.
This film contains examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Vicki is promiscuous. She does not hesitate to steal a car and then to kidnap a child to make an accomplice talk it out.
- Anti-Villain: Thomas Crown is the leader of a gang of thieves, but his crimes are almost bloodless and he is very charming. He even charms the insurance investigator who is after him.
- Auction: Thomas Crown meets Vicki during an artwork auction.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Thomas has one, who doesn't understand why the boss keeps complaining about boredom.
- Byronic Hero: Thomas Crown is male, charming, intelligent, sophisticated, educated, sensitive, but he is not satisfied with his life, even if he seems to have everything. He is so bored with his life and he has so little respect for the social norms that he will commit a crime just to get out of his boredom.
- By-the-Book Cop: Eddie Malone. He is shocked by the methods used by Vicki, in particular the kidnapping of a child.
- The Caper: Indeed, it was was almost called The Thomas Crown Caper.
- Cigar Chomper: Thomas Crown always smokes cigars.
- Clock King: Thomas' heist revolves around this: he tells his accomplices by phone exactly when they have to go on stage.
- Criminal Procedural: Thomas Crown is a thief and he is the protagonist of the film.
- Dating Catwoman: Gender inverted. Gentleman Thief Thomas Crown has an affair with Vicki, the insurance investigator who tries to unmask him as the sponsor of a bank heist.
- Dirty Business: played with. Vicki makes no bones about being unscrupulous, and when Eddie calls her out on this, she gives him a "Think Dirty" plaque.
- Foreshadowing: After Vicki beats Thomas at a game of chess, he changes to a different game.
- Gentleman Thief: Thomas Crown is a charmer. He steals money only from banks in an almost bloodless manner.
- Honey Trap: Vicki charms Thomas Crown to get more information about him. Deconstructed: Vicki falls in love with Thomas Crown and he tries to use her feelings for him.
- I Know You're Watching Me: Vicki isn't exactly subtle about keeping the heat on Thomas. He responds with various tricks on her agents.
- Intimidating Revenue Service: Vicki wins by siccing the IRS on Thomas: they can nail him if he spends any of the money he stole.
- It Amused Me: Thomas' motivation. Being a millionaire, he does not need the money he steals. He was just bored with his life and needed some entertainment.
- Ivy League for Everyone: Thomas is a graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard Business Administration, part of his generally upper-class background.
- Karma Houdini: Thomas Crown is not caught for the heist: he flees to another country.
- Moral Pragmatist: Vicki is the detective's version, using every resource, and we do mean every, to win.
- Nice Hat: Eddie sports a fedora and Vicki has a variety of fancy hats, but Thomas' baseball cap counts purely on coolness points.
- Only in It for the Money: Vicki investigates the bank heist only because she will receive a bounty if she catches the thief.
- Operation: Jealousy: a somewhat less complicated version than in the remake: he just starts going out with other women.
- Pragmatic Hero: Vicki uses every resource to unmask the thief: she sleeps with him, she steals the car and kidnaps the child of one of his accomplices.
- The Perfect Crime: Thomas Crown's plan is very clever: his accomplices do not know him and do not know each other; his plan unfold as expected; he goes to Switzerland to hide the loot.
- Shirtless Scene: Thomas Crown is seen shirtless when he sleeps with Vicki.
- Smart People Play Chess: Thomas and Vicki play chess together. Thomas is already established as very smart, but Vicki wins, which shows Thomas has found a worthy opponent. The game is loaded with more Visual Innuendo than you can shake a stick at.
- Smoking Is Cool: Vicki smokes cigarettes from a holder. Thomas smokes cigars.
- Split Screen: Taken to an insane degree during the opening heist with multiple screens for the viewer to follow.
- Swiss Bank Account: Thomas books a flight for Switzerland after the heist to deposit a large pile of small bills. Vicky observes the Swiss are "famously casual about certain formalities."
- Tap on the Head: What Thomas does to one of the detectives watching him.
- Villain Protagonist: Thomas Crown is a thief and he is the protagonist of the film.
- Visual Innuendo: When Thomas and Vicki play chess. The way Vicki touches the pieces is very evocative.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Eddie calls Vicki out for extracting a confession from a man by kidnapping his son. She responds with an I Did What I Had to Do.