DIRECTOR John Huston
Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, John McIntire, Marc Lawrence, Anthony Caruso
"The Asphalt Jungle" is one of the greatest crime films. The movie has its roots in several great film noir projects, such as "Double Indemnity", "The Killers", "Criss Cross", and "Out of the Past". Its lasting impression over time is based upon its quality and its unprecedentedly brilliant use of the "caper" as a plot device. As stated in other comments, this film noir's influence can be seen in hundreds of disparate "caper" movies - "Rififi", "A Simple Plan", "The Guns of Navarone", "The Usual Suspects", and "How to Steal a Million", just to name a few. I will not give away the results of the "caper", but the film is truly superior in how it explores relationships and deception. This is one of John Huston's greatest works, and the script lays down the tension from the first moment and doesn't let up. Huston uses multiple closeups to literally drain the emotion out of the characters. Hayden, Calhern, Lawrence, Hagen, and Whitmore turn in superb performances with many memorable moments, but Sam Jaffe steals the film in an Oscar-worthy performance as the brain behind the caper. Marilyn Monroe makes an indelible impression in a fairly brief but pivotal role.