Mini - The Italian Job (1969)

Published: 20 October 2008

Ranking: 3       

Year of release: 1969

The car: Mini Cooper S

Why it’s special: It’s the best loved screen moment for the original Issigonis Mini. And films don’t come with better – or more literal – cliff-hangers…

Best bit: All of it, basically. The Italian Job has one of the epic car chases in British cinema history. It’s hard to argue with a long sequence that takes in the crowded streets of Turin (they created unauthorised traffic jams for cinematic effect during filming), churches, a weir, those underground sewers, the roof of Turin’s Fiat building and enthralling stunt driving into a moving lorry. The Italian Job has it all.

Pub fact: One eye-catching out-take for the Mini chase scenes was filmed at an ice rink. You can see the synchronised Coopers dancing on ice to Strauss’s The Blue Danube in most DVD editions’ extra features. Oh, and Michael Caine couldn’t actually drive when the film was shot. You never see him driving.

Plot overview: A gang of cockney villains, led by small-time thief Charlie Croker (Michael Caine), undertake a daring gold bullion robbery in the heart of Turin dressed as England footie supporters and driving a trio of Union Jack colour-coded Minis.

For: Cheeky Mini chase scenes; that Miura moment at the start; ‘You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!’

Against: It’s not all authentic. That tunnel scene was filmed in Coventry

CAR verdict: Cool Britannia at its best

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet