(aka 'Collision' or 'Hard Bargain' or 'The Thieves' Market')

Directed by Jules Dassin
USA 1949

Thieves’ Highway vividly depicts the perilous world of “long-haul boys,” who drive by night to bring their goods to the markets of America’s cities. Richard Conte stars as ex-G.I. Nick Garcos, a tyro trucker bent on satisfaction from the man responsible for crippling his father—ruthless market operator Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb). But when Figlia gets wise to his plan, Nick finds himself in a web of treachery and heartbreak. A searing melodrama from master Jules Dassin.


Some films I can really enjoy way out of proportion to what I should - but at least I am aware of it... although I may have trouble articulating exactly why. Perhaps some of my pleasure, and also how memorable I find this film, stems from Dassin's ability to keep us constantly off balance. Even if what you suspect will happen actually transpires - it is usually contrary to what one might consider to have occurred with expected film language.  Thieves’ Highway, although melodramatic at times, falls headfirst into this unusual and unique environment of food terminal brokerage and the cartage system that inaugurates it. So, as well as being highly interesting, and keeping us guessing as to the reliability of the characters moral fibers and fortunes, it is just a genuinely engaging narrative and a great film noir!

Gary W. Tooze


Theatrical Release: January 18th, 2003 - Tokyo

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DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 273 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:34:00 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by Alain Silver, editor of Film Noir Reader and author of Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles
• Video interview with Jules Dassin
• Trailer for The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides (2004), a new documentary on Bezzerides, author of the screenplay for Thieves’ Highway and the novel on which it was based
• Original theatrical trailer
• Liner notes essay by film critic Michael Sragow

DVD Release Date: February 1st, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 22



Aside from some very infrequent missteps, almost exclusively in their early days of DVD production, the Criterion Collection is certainly worthy of totally blind purchases. This film looks every bit as good as I could have hoped and expected. Aside from a shade of chroma in two spots the image is exquisitely sharp with excellent contrast, no scratches or damage, perfectly appointed optional subtitles, clear original audio and worthwhile extras that help garner further appreciation of this great cinema masterpiece. The ten minute Dassin interview is key but I craved it to be much longer. Alain Silver knows his stuff and the commentary is highly relevant to the film - very good! For me this will be one of my favorite DVDs of the year - in a year filled with marvels. We strongly recommend!

Gary W. Tooze


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Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)



DVD Box Cover


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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 273 - Region 1 - NTSC


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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,


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