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The Bank Job


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The Bank Job (Movies)
The Bank Job (Movies)
The Bank Job (Movies)
The Bank Job (Movies)
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Information about The Bank Job

The Bank Job is a 2008 (12 years ago) British crime movie directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Jason Statham (15 walls), based on the 1971 (49 years ago) Baker Street robbery in central London, from which the money and valuables stolen were never recovered. The producers allege that the story was prevented from being told because of a D-Notice (now known as a DA-Notice) government gagging request, allegedly to protect a prominent member of the British Royal Family. According to the producers, this movie is intended to reveal the truth for the first time, although it includes significant elements of fiction.

The premiere was held in London on 18 Feb. 2008 (12 years ago), and the movie was released in the UK on 28 Feb. 2008 (12 years ago).



Petty-criminal-gone-straight Terry Leather (Jason Statham (15 walls)) owns a failing car-sales garage and is being harassed by two debt-collectors. His friend, the photographer Kevin Swain's (Stephen Campbell Moore) ex-girlfriend, a former model named Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) offers Terry a chance to earn enough money to never worry about debt again: a bank robbery in Baker Street, London. Leather gathers a group of his petty-criminal friends, including Swain, a sometimes pornographic actor Dave Shilling (Daniel Mays), a Cypriot mechanic named Bambas (Alki David), and an elegant con-man "Major" Guy Singer (James Faulkner) to help execute the plan. While scouting out the bank, Leather and Love enter the bank and inspect the vault while Shilling poses for photographs taken by Swain. The gangster Lew Vogel (David Suchet), who keeps records of his pay-offs to the police at that branch of Lloyd’s bank, happens upon Shilling and Swain.

The gang leases a shop named Le Sac two lots away from the bank and begin digging a tunnel underneath The Chicken Inn (a chicken fast-food restaurant) in order to reach the underground bank vault. Terry employs Eddie Burton (Michael Jibson), a worker in his garage, as a "watchman" with a walkie-talkie to sit on the roof of the building opposite and keep a look out for trouble.

What they do not know is that Martine, who has been caught smuggling heroin into Britain and desperately wants to avoid jail, is setting them up on behalf of MI5, which wants the contents of a certain safe deposit box (No. 118) in the bank vault. This safe deposit box contains compromising photos of a female member of the British Royal Family (identified in the movie as Princess Margaret) participating in a threesome. The photos are in a box belonging to a black militant and petty gangster who calls himself Michael X (Peter de Jersey); he is using the photos to avoid trouble with the Metropolitan Police, and MI5 is desperate to keep the photos out of circulation.

As Terry and his crew dig, their radio chatter draws the attention of a local amateur radio operator, who listens in on the conversation and realises he is overhearing a bank robbery in progress. He calls the police, but with a ten-mile radius to search and a lack of concrete details, they fail to pin the robbery down.

After they have broken in and begun looting the vault, Martine goes for the deposit-box with the photos. A suspicious Terry opens the box with her and, upon seeing the pictures, knows that Martine has a hidden agenda. In addition to those photos, further photos of a number of high-ranking government officials are found, including a senior MP, in compromising positions in a local S&M brothel. The robbers pocket these with the money and other valuables. Terry arranges for alternate transportation "to be safe", throwing off MI5 who had intended to immediately intercept them.

Guy and Bambas, leave with their share of the spoils. When Terry confronts Martine over the photos, she explains their predicament. Meanwhile, the robbery is discovered, and the police — both corrupt ones receiving payoffs and honest ones — begin their investigation. MI5 is likewise searching. Lew Vogel, a local club owner and organized crime figure, is worried about the contents of his ledger, which lists every payoff he has made to the police, which by chance also was stolen during the robbery. He also phones Michael X to inform him that his box containing the royal 'portraits' has gone missing. Michael X starts to get suspicious of Gale Benson (Hattie Morahan), a British spy who is the lover of his American colleague and fellow Black Power militant Hakim Jamal (Colin Salmon) and has travelled with him and Jamal to Trinidad.

Based on encounter with Shilling outside of the bank a few days before the robbery, Vogel identifies Shilling from his work in pornographic movies and has him tortured for information with a sandblaster. When he eventually tells Vogel everything, Vogel goes to the garage where Terry worked and kidnaps Eddie, who was the lookout during the robbery, taking him to the same secret location and tying him up. At the same time, a senior minister in the government, Lord Drysdale, is shown the photos of himself in the brothel run by the madame Sonia Bern (Sharon Maughan) and agrees to try to help absolve the robbers of all wrongdoing and give them safe passage out of the country. Meanwhile, MI5 issues a D-Notice forbidding the press from reporting further on the heist. Police simultaneously release recordings of the walkie-talkie conversations in the hope that someone will recognize the voices. These recordings are heard on the radio by Terry's family.

Vogel's accomplice, the corrupt policeman Detective Gerald Pyke (Don Gallagher) eventually shoots Dave in the head and threatens to shoot Eddie also unless Vogel gets his ledger back. Vogel makes an agreement with Terry, agreeing to meet him at Paddington Station in London. During this time, Guy and Bambas are also murdered by persons unknown, and Michael X has Benson killed in Trinidad by having one of his associates kill her with a machete. Terry has Kev give the same instruction to Detective Sergeant Roy Given (Gerard Horan), the officer in charge of the investigation, citing knowledge of corrupt officers under Vogel's control. He also convinces Vogel to go to Paddington Station at the same time, offering him the ledger in return for the safe return of his mechanic. This results in a large meeting of all of the involved parties at the same time.

Terry stands on the platform waiting for the others, while Martine meets up with Tim Everett (Richard Lintern), her original contact in MI5, on a bridge overlooking the scene. Vogel and his corrupt police accomplices arrive with the mechanic, but recognise the MI5 agents present and run. At the same time, the deputy head of MI5 arrives (with Lord Mountbatten), handing over the documentation and passports that Terry bargained for, in return for the photos of the princess. Terry then chases the fleeing Vogel and his henchmen. He begins to attack Vogel, and then fights with one of his thugs, knocking them both out. A second bodyguard, the corrupt policeman Detective Nick Barton (Craig Fairbrass) appears with a gun, but Terry manages to avoid the shots and knock him out with a brick hastily dislodged from a wall.

Detective Given, the police officer in charge of the investigation, then arrives and sees the robbers being arrested. He speaks with the MI5 officers present, who direct police to let the robbers go. Terry gives the ledger to the police officer before he, Kevin, and Eddie leave the scene. Vogel and the corrupt officers are arrested instead. Everett personally supervises Michael X's arrest in Trinidad and Tobago and has Benson's remains exhumed for reburial in Britain.

The final scenes have Terry and Martine say good-bye, and Terry and his family enjoying a relaxed and carefree life on a small sailing yacht of their own, off a sunny beach.

The epilogue states that the revelations about the brothel forced many government officials to resign. Scotland Yard begins investigating the corrupt officers named in the ledger. Michael X was hanged in 1975 (45 years ago) for Benson's murder and his personal files are kept hidden in the British National Archives until 2054. Vogel is imprisoned for eight years for crimes that were unrelated to the robbery. The murderers of Guy and Bambas have never been found. About ₤4 million worth of materials and money were stolen from the robbery. At least 100 safety-deposit box owners did not claim insurance nor identify the items in the boxes.


  • Jason Statham (15 walls)
  • Saffron Burrows
  • Richard Lintern
  • Stephen Campbell Moore
  • James Faulkner
  • Daniel Mays
  • Alki David
  • Michael Jibson
  • Georgia Taylor
  • Keeley Hawes
  • Gerard Horan
  • Craig Fairbrass
  • Don Gallagher
  • Julian Lewis Jones
  • Andrew Brooke
  • David Suchet
  • Sharon Maughan
  • Peter Bowles
  • Alistair Petrie
  • Peter de Jersey
  • Colin Salmon
  • Hattie Morahan
  • Angus Wright
  • Les Kenny-Green
  • Jamie Kenna
  • Rupert Frazer
  • Christopher Owen


The movie is in part based on historical facts. A gang tunnelled into a branch of Lloyds Bank at the junction between Baker Street and Marylebone Road, in London, on the night of 11 sep. 1971 (49 years ago) and robbed the safe deposit boxes there. The robbers had rented a leather goods shop named Le Sac, two doors down from the bank, and tunnelled a distance of approximately 40 feet (12 metres), passing under the intervening Chicken Inn restaurant.

Robert Rowlands, a radio ham operator, overheard conversations between the robbers and their rooftop lookout. He contacted police and tape recorded the conversations, which were subsequently made public. The movie includes lines recorded by Rowlands, such as the lookout's comment that "Money may be your god, but it's not mine, and I'm fucking off." After four days of news coverage, British authorities supposedly issued a D-Notice, requesting that news coverage be discontinued for reasons of national security, however The Times was still reporting about the case over two months later.

The film's producers claim that they have an inside source, identified in press reports as George McIndoe, who served as an executive producer. The film's claims that the issuance of the D-Notice was because a safe deposit box held sex pictures (wallpaper) of Princess Margaret, and the possible connection to Michael X (whose governmental file purportedly is secret until 2054), are apparently based on information provided by McIndoe, though it is not clear what is the basis of his information or how specific it is supposed to be. The movie makers apparently have acknowledged that they made up the character Martine, and The New Yorker's conclusion that it is "impossible to say how much of the film's story is true" appears to be correct.

Part of the filming took place on location at the offices of Websters, 136 Baker Street where the rooftops were actually used for lookout purposes. The majority of outside shots, namely shots including the bank and adjacent shops, were done on a specially constructed set of Baker Street, to retain an authentic feel of the period and to allow for greater control of visible elements.


The movie was well received by critics. As of 31 dec. 2008 (12 years ago), the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 78% of the T-Meter critics gave the movie positive reviews, based on 137 reviews. Rotten Tomatoes also reports that 90% of the "top critics" gave the movie positive reviews based on 29 reviews. Metacritic reported the movie had an average score of 69 out of 100, based on 32 reviews.


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