Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Los Angeles Times:
One of the great crime thrillers, the benchmark all succeeding heist films have been measured against, it's no musty museum piece but a driving, compelling piece of work, redolent of the air of human frailty and fatalistic doom.
New York Times:
This is perhaps the keenest crime film that ever came from France, including Pepe le Moko and some of the best of Louis Jouvet and Jean Gabin.
The film turns moralistic and sour in the last half, when the thieves fall out.
There is something else unique about the heist scene: It is the centerpiece of the film, not the climax.
Actually rather overrated, lacking the tension, profundity, and vivid characterisation of similar films.
It took an experienced US director, Jules Dassin, who has lived in France some years, to give the French gangster pic the proper tension, mounting and treatment. This pic has something intrinsically Gallic without sacrificing the rugged storytelling.
Viewers become something like collaborators, invested in working out what, say, that umbrella is going to be used for - and then pleased to discover whether we've gotten it right or not.
Features posturing aplenty -- particularly if you include the climactic gunfire arabesques. No one, however, has nearly the doomed glamour of the tight-lipped, gimlet-eyed, consumptive Tony Le Stephanois.