Pitched between the stiff-upper-lip surety of post-war actioners and the kitchen-sink disaffection of the British New Wave, Basil Dearden's crime caper takes the director's Ealing edge into Tarantino territory.
Jack Hawkins is an embittered ex-colonel who recruits army hasbeens to rob a bank and retire to the comfort the Crown never gave them. Whether they're stealing arms and blaming the IRA or gun-toting under gas masks, the characters are sympathetic - stiffed by the system and daring to risk revenge. Droll yet dark, it pulls off an impressive balancing act, right up to the team's eventual undoing at the hands of good manners. Frightfully English.