The Brink's Job is a 1978 film directed by William Friedkin and starring Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands, and Paul Sorvino. It is based on the Brink's robbery of 1950 in Boston, where almost 3 million dollars was stolen.
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Dean Tavoularis, Angelo P. Graham, George R. Nelson).
Small-time Boston crook Tony Pino (Peter Falk) tries to make a name for himself. He and his five associates pull off a robbery whenever they can. Tony and his gang easily rob over $100,000 in cash from a Brink's armored car, after which Tony disguises himself as a sparkplug salesman to get an inside look at Brink's large and so-called "impregnable fortress" headquarters in the city's North End, a company renowned for unbreachable security as a private "bank" throughout the East Coast. Once inside, Tony realizes that Brink's is anything but a fortress and that employees treat the money "like garbage." Still wary of Brink's public image, Tony breaks in one night after casing the building. He finds that only two doors in the building are locked, and one is easily bypassed by leaping a gate. The only thing locked in the building is the vault.
Tony also realizes that despite what Brink's claims, there is only a 10-cent alarm in the vault room itself, almost impossible to set off. It appears that Brink's had relied so much on its reputation that it had not even bothered locking the doors. Pino begins to plan a robbery, using the rooftop of a neighboring building as a watch tower.
Tony and his dim brother-in-law Vinnie (Allen Garfield) put together a motley gang of thieves. They include the debonair Jazz Maffie (Paul Sorvino) and a slightly deranged Iwo Jima veteran, Specs O'Keefe (Warren Oates), who proposes to blow open the Brink's safe with a bazooka. Over the crew's objections, Pino also invites the arrogant fence Joe McGinnis (Peter Boyle) to be in on the job.
The robbers on the night of Jan. 17th, 1950 make off with more than a million dollars in cash, along with another million-plus in securities and checks. Brink's, a company that prides itself in the safekeeping of money, is nationally embarrassed by what the press is calling "the crime of the century." Even FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (Sheldon Leonard) takes a personal interest in finding the culprits, even so much as creating a makeshift FBI office in Boston.
Law enforcement agents begin rounding up suspects. They come to the home of Tony and Mary Pino, as they often do for crimes in the area. Mary (Gena Rowlands) is so familiar with them by now, she makes the cops dinner. Tony is brought in for questioning, but reacts with indignation at being accused.
The crooks begin to crack, however. McGinnis infuriates them by destroying a large sum of the hold-up money, claiming the bills could be traced. He also hangs onto the rest, defying threats by Pino and his cohorts to hand over their shares.
Specs and another of the gang, Stanley Gusciora, go on the road to meet his "sugar doughnut" in Pittsburgh. They are picked up by Pennsylvania State Police on a burglary charge en route at Bradford, Pennsylvania and are each handed a long jail sentence, Gusciora at the Western Penitentiary-Pittsburgh. Specs grows more and more disturbed behind bars, demanding that money from his cut be sent to his ill sister. In interrogation, Specs and Stanley are pressured more each day to reveal whatever they might know about the Brink's job. Specs ultimately confesses.
One by one, the rest of the gang is apprehended, mainly by the Boston Police Department. Tony is on his way to jail in Boston and so is Vinnie, but they unexpectedly find themselves hailed as heroes by people on the street for having pulled off one of the great crimes of all time. One teen remarks to a clearly pleased Pino, "You're the greatest thief who ever lived! Nobody will ever do what you did, Tony!"
- Peter Falk - Tony Pino
- Peter Boyle - Joe McGinnis
- Allen Garfield - Vinnie Costa (as Allen Goorwitz)
- Warren Oates - Specs O'Keefe
- Gena Rowlands - Mary Pino
- Paul Sorvino - Jazz Maffie
- Sheldon Leonard - J. Edgar Hoover
- Gerard Murphy - Sandy Richardson
- Kevin O'Connor - Stanley Gusciora
- Claudia Peluso - Gladys
- Patrick Hines - H.H. Rightmire
- Malachy McCourt - Mutt Murphy
- Walter Klavun - Daniels
- Randy Jurgensen - FBI agent
- John Brandon - FBI agent
- Robert Prosky - Lineup Gallery Cop