USA Today -
"...Here's a film where even the screen doors ooze period detail....The film seems better than it did 20 years ago..."
Uncut - 07/01/2005
"Prime Robert Altman, vintage 1974....Scrupulously unglamorous..."
Entertainment Weekly - 04/20/2007
"[A] gem. Anchored by Carradine and Duvall's romance and full of Altman's typical aural flourishes..." -- Grade: A-
Wall Street Journal - 08/15/2013
"Robert Altman's film, an amalgam of sporadic action and doomed romance, is often tender and wry..."
Director Robert Altman's historical crime picture follows the exploits of Bowie, an escaped convict who becomes romantically involved with Keechie, a naive farmer's daughter. Bowie has broken out of a Mississippi prison farm with two other criminals--Chicamaw, who is part Indian, and T-Dub, an over-the-hill bank robber with a bad leg. The three take Keechie, whose father helped with their getaway, along with them. They embark on a crime spree, passing through a series of small Midwestern towns, until fate inevitably catches up with them.
THIEVES LIKE US, director Robert Altman's remake of Nicholas Ray's THEY LIVE BY NIGHT--a 1949 adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel--is an authentic, understated drama that is as much a love story as it is a gangster picture. Taking place in the South during the 1930s Depression, the film follows the exploits of three recent prison escapees who become wanted after a string of bank robberies. The hapless criminals--Bowie (Keith Carradine), Chicamaw (John Schuck), and T-Dub--shack up at the home of Dee Mobley (Tom Skerritt), where Bowie falls in love with Dee's daughter Keechie (Shelley Duvall). Soon, Keechie in tow, the foursome settles at Mattie's (Louise Fletcher) house. Eventually, Bowie and Keechie move in together and struggle to maintain their relationship while Chicamaw and T-Dub do their best to stay out of trouble, but before they can perform one final robbery, the law threatens to put them out of commission. Altman tells an honest story of ordinary people who fell into a life of crime because it was the only thing they knew how to do. He also incorporates a ROMEO AND JULIET radio show as an ironic counterpoint to the story on screen, which serves somewhat to lighten its tone.
Character Study |
Essential Cinema |
Period Piece |
Prison / Prisoners |
Released theatrically in New York City February 11, 1974.
THIEVES LIKE US is a remake of Nicholas Ray's film THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1949) which is adapted from the Raymond Chandler novel of the same title.