It isn’t often that I like both the original film and the remake. Usually the first version has the advantage of being new and innovative while the copy ends up being, well… just a copy. The Italian Job films are a rare case where both are equally good as they riff on the same theme but play it out to different endings. I love both!
But let’s have a look at the original version first:
The Italian Job is a British comedy caper film where a man named Charlie Croker (Michael Caine), the leader of a cockney criminal gang, is released from prison only to immediately plan a “big job” in Italy to steal gold bullion from an armored security truck.
The job goes off with a few hitches but ultimately succeeds. However, the literal cliffhanger ending has the coach load of gold hanging over the edge of a cliff! Will they find a way to balance the bus and continue the getaway? Or will they plummet to the bottom, dying as rich men? The film ends with our protagonists left in that predicament.
In 1969, movies had to comply with a ‘Crime doesn’t pay!’ moral, making it impossible for any heist to be successful. Do you remember the ending to Oceans 11 where the money stolen from the Casinos is burned? No criminal ever won before the 1970’s!
This would change as the film gets an update under the sensibilities of the Millennium. Crime usually pays in movies now and so we have an entirely different ending for the 2003 version of The Italian Job:
This Italian Job is an American heist action thriller film with a plot that follows a motley crew of thieves who plan to steal gold from a former associate who double-crossed them. The film is more of an homage to the original which is probably why it works so well and doesn’t suffer from comparisons to the original.
Suffice to say the group is successful in their plans and the epilogue shows them all having used their share of the gold for their own desired purposes.
So both films are super cool with different plots but with three things that stay almost exactly the same: A red, white, and blue 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275 MXI, three of the most iconic cars in movie history!
So when I found these die cast versions from Greenlight Collectibles of the original Mini Coopers… I just started handing money to Wal-Mart employees as they walked by! I just had to have them:
At first I could only find the red and blue versions but no white. But with some extra poking around, I found the last car to complete the set.
The back of the packaging is the same on all three color versions. It contains a neat little synopsis of the film.
The Mini Cooper is an iconic car in it’s own right. The Mini was a small economy car produced by the English-based British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000. BMW has produced the Mini from 2001 to the present (I own a 2009, myself).
As much as I love the style and cool factor of an original Mini, I must say that I enjoy the modern comfort and handling of the newer version.
I now have the trifecta of The Italian Job: Both films and the die cast cars!
Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to sing a few bars of The Self-Appreciation Society while I recreate the escape scenes from both films with my toy cars. I’m hoping it’s more fun than I just made it sound!