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The Hot Rock is a 1972 comic caper film written by William Goldman and directed by Peter Yates, starring Robert Redford, George Segal and Moses Gunn. The film was based upon Donald E. Westlake's novel of the same name, which introduced his long-running Dortmunder character.
After Dortmunder (Redford) is released from his latest stint in prison, he is approached by his brother-in-law, Andy Kelp (Segal), about another job. Dr. Amusa (Gunn) seeks a valuable gem in a Brooklyn museum that is of great significance to his people in his country in Africa, stolen during colonial times and then re-stolen by various African nations on multiple occasions since. Kelp and Dortmunder are joined by driver Stan Murch (Ron Leibman) and explosives expert Allan Greenberg (Paul Sand) and concoct an elaborate plan for stealing the gem from a museum in Brooklyn. Although the plan (and each subsequent plan) basically works, something always seems to go awry, and the quartet has to steal the diamond again and again.
First off, the diamond is eaten by Greenberg when he alone gets caught by the police during the initial heist. After Greenberg tells his partners where he hid the rock in the police precinct jail (after bodily disposing it), the quartet attempt another heist on the precinct. Although the plan works, the rock is nowhere to be found. It is later discovered that Greenberg's father Abe (Zero Mostel), a dishonest lawyer who bailed his son out of jail, was the only other person who knew where it was.
Despite the problems in getting the diamond, Dortmunder is determined to break what he calls the curse of the diamond.
The Hot Rock contains examples of:
- Crime After Crime: "I've heard of the habitual criminal, of course. But I never dreamed I'd become involved with the habitual CRIME."
- Double Caper
- Eat the Evidence: Greenberg swallows the diamond at the museum.
- The Heist
- Plethora of Mistakes: a textbook example.
- A Simple Plan
- Trigger Phrase: "Afghanistan banana stand"
- Villain Protagonist