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The Great Riviera Bank Robbery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Great Riviera Bank Robbery
The Great Riviera Bank Robbery.png
Directed byFrancis Megahy
Written byFrancis Megahy
Bernie Cooper
Produced byMartin McKeand
StarringIan McShane
Warren Clarke
Stephen Greif
Christopher Malcolm
CinematographyPeter Jessop
Edited byArthur Solomon
Music byStanley Myers
Distributed byIncorporated Television Company
Release date
  • 1979 (1979)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Great Riviera Bank Robbery, also known as Dirty Money and Sewers of Gold, is a 1979 British heist film written and directed by Francis Megahy and starring Ian McShane, Warren Clarke, Stephen Greif and Christopher Malcolm. In the film, based on a bank robbery masterminded by Albert Spaggiari in 1976,[1] members of a neo-fascist group team up with professional criminals to rob the safe deposit vault of a bank in a French resort town.[2]

It is the British version of the French film Les Égouts du paradis, released the same year.


Bert and Jean are members of a right-wing nationalist organisation closely connected to the Organisation armée secrète. Both are ex-military, and now find themselves on the wrong side of the law in Nice, France. Needing to raise cash to buy arms, Bert, an ex-paratrooper known as 'The Brain', devises a plan to dig their way into a bank vault.

Needing criminal expertise, they persuade some local French gangsters to join them, in return for a cut of the haul. The gangsters' interest is purely mercenary while Bert is at pains to point out that his interest is political. After several nights spent digging through a wall in a sewer, they break their way into the safe deposit boxes, and try to make their getaway without being caught.

They have delayed pursuit by welding the vault shut so that the crime is not discovered immediately as the bank assumes it is a faulty door, which will not open. They lie low in a villa and go to great lengths ensure the loot is shared fairly with the gang to avoid recrimination.

The police struggle to get a lead but the gangsters soon start spending their shares and the notes are traced back to them leading to all the gangsters being arrested.

Meanwhile the fascists are trying to sell the gold bars. They use connections with corrupt government officials to get it on a flight to Japan, disguised as camera equipment. It is then sold without questions being asked. They also spend their share on buying arms.

Eventually the police get a lead from the gangsters criminal network as to the whereabouts of ''The Brains''. He and most of the others are arrested and the arms found. He tries to cut a deal, exchanging a full disclosure on how the robbery was carried out in exchange for the arms charges being dropped.

Before he can be brought to trial free accomplices snatch him from police custody and he escapes to South America.



A French film based on the same events, Les Egouts du Paradis, directed by Jose Giovanni, was released the same year.

The robbery on which the film is based was carried out by the French criminal Albert Spaggiari.

Media releases

The film was released on Region 2 DVD in 2007.


  1. ^ AFP (12 February 2018). "Suspected mastermind on trial for France's 'heist of the century'". www.theguardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  2. ^ "The Great Riviera Bank Robbery > Overview". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 December 2010.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 January 2022, at 23:29
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