Italian Job conundrum is ‘solved’

I’ve always loved The Italian Job*, from the mini chase to the best quote ever (“you’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”) to that ending. Every time I see the film, I hope that the ending will change, just so we can find out what happens but … no!

Until now!

Some boffin has done the maths and has come up with a theory of what happened next when Charlie turns round and says “Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea.”

The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced the winner of a competition to solve the conundrum at the end of the iconic UK film The Italian Job.

The winner, John Godwin from Godalming, had a … practical solution involving a three-stage process.

First, the coach needed to be stabilised. This involved smashing out the windows on the part of the coach overlooking the drop and smashing them inward at the front end to improve the weight ratio slightly.

One of the bullion raiders is then lowered outside and deflates the wheels to stop the coach from rocking.

Second, its weight distribution needs to be changed, particularly over the rear of the coach which is overlooking the drop. This involves emptying the fuel tank which John Godwin discovered was at the rear of the coach. This, he estimated, would contain 140kg of fuel.

Third, he would allow a member of the team to leave the coach and bring rocks in to the front of the vehicle to ensure it was stable and the gold could be removed.


* the original, starring Michael Caine and directed by Peter Collinson

EDIT: I’ve been reading through The Italian Job website and have come across the following from 2003, which totally contradicts Godwin’s theory (and the RSC’s competition):

It was cinema’s greatest cliffhanger. But now Michael Caine has blown the gaff on the ending of The Italian Job.

More than three decades after the release of what has become a cult film, the star has solved the riddle playing on the minds of so many fans: what exactly happened after the credits rolled as his gang’s getaway coach teetered on a precipice?

“Hang on a minute, lads. I’ve got a great idea,” Caine’s cockney rogue blurts as the robbers’ £4 million haul of gold bullion threatens to send them over the side of a mountain.

In a BBC television documentary to celebrate his 70th birthday, the actor has revealed that the gang were meant to escape.

“The next thing that happens is you turn the engine on,” he said. “You all sit exactly where you are until all the petrol has run out, which changes the equilibrium. We all jump out of the bus and the gold goes over the cliff.

“And at the bottom are the French mafia, sitting waiting for the gold.”

Far from being a masterpiece of suspense, it emerges that the ending was intended merely to pave the way for a sequel. Once the gang has escaped, “we are off trying to get it back and that is the next movie”, Caine told the Hollywood Greats documentary… “(The sequel) was never made because the film didn’t do well in America.”

See more here.

One response to this post.

  1. Funny! One of my favourite lines from a movie is from The Upside of Anger, “Get me a bloody mary as fast as humanly possible.”

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