The Thomas Crown Affair (1999 film)

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999 film)

Infobox Film
name = The Thomas Crown Affair

image_size = 200px
caption = Original theatrical poster
director = John McTiernan
producer = Michael Tadross
Pierce Brosnan
Beau St. Clair
writer = Alan Trustman
Leslie Dixon
Kurt Wimmer
narrator =
starring = Pierce Brosnan
Rene Russo
Denis Leary
music = Bill Conti
cinematography = Tom Priestly
editing = John Wright
distributor = Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
released = August 6, 1999 (US)
August 20, 1999 (UK)
runtime = 113 min
country = United States
language = English
budget = $48,000,000
preceded_by =
followed_by = "The Thomas Crown Affair 2"
website =
amg_id = 180404
imdb_id = 0155267

"The Thomas Crown Affair" is a 1999 heist film by John McTiernan, a remake of the 1968 film of the same name. It stars Pierce Brosnan in the title role, a self-made billionaire who steals a painting and is tracked by an insurance investigator played by Rene Russo.

The film was released on DVD on 4 January 2000 and includes commentary by director McTiernan.

The success of the film prompted a sequel to be planned for release in 2009 titled "The Topkapi Affair", which is also a remake-of the 1964 film "Topkapi" starring Melina Mercouri, Maximilian Schell, and Peter Ustinov. Both films are based on Eric Ambler's 1962 novel, "The Light of Day".cite web|url=|title=Pierce Brosnan: Thomas Crown in The Topkapi Affair|accessdate=2007-02-19|last=Martindale|first=Stone|date=2007-01-26]


Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan), a self-made billionaire, is an adventurous businessman who savors a good challenge. Among other diversions, he crashes an expensive sailing catamaran while racing and bets one hundred thousand dollars on a golf swing simply because "it's a beautiful Saturday morning," and there is not much else to do. Crown steals a painting (San Giorgio Maggiore at dusk) by Monet valued at one hundred million dollars. The insurers of the artwork send insurance investigator Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) to assist the police in solving the crime. From the beginning, Banning suspects Crown is behind the theft. The elaborate game of cat-and-mouse that ensues gives Crown exactly what he was seeking, in the form of Banning: "A worthy adversary."


*Pierce Brosnan as Thomas Crown
*Rene Russo as Catherine Olds Banning
*Denis Leary as Detective Michael McCann
*Fritz Weaver as John Reynolds
*Frankie Faison as Detective Paretti
*Ben Gazzara as Andrew Wallace
*Mark Margolis as Heinrich Knutzhorn
*Esther Cañadas as Anna Knutzhorn
*Faye Dunaway as The Psychiatrist

Faye Dunaway played the Catherine Banning role in the 1968 original. However, the character's name was Vicki Anderson.


At first, director John McTiernan was unavailable for the project. Pierce Brosnan and his fellow producers considered several directors before returning to their original choice. [cite web|url=|title=Brosnan uses his Bond clout to remake Thomas Crown Affair|accessdate=2007-02-24|publisher=EON Magazine|last=Bond|first=Jeff|date=1999-08] McTiernan then received the script and added his own ideas to the production. [cite web|url=|title=Interview with John McTiernan, Director, 'The Thomas Crown Affair'|accessdate=2007-02-24|publisher=Adobe Premiere World|last=Cercel|first=Elif|date=1999-08-09]

cript amendments

After McTiernan signed into the project, he changed the theme of the central heist and a number of key scenes. McTiernan felt that at the time the film was released, audiences would be less forgiving of Thomas Crown if he staged two armed bank robberies for fun like McQueen did in the original, than if he staged an unarmed art heist. As McTiernan's own cameras failed when the jungle temperature in South America broke 90 degrees Fahrenheit while filming scenes from 1987's "Predator," so he rewrote the heist around the classic Trojan horse entrance and technical failure of the thermal cameras. McTiernan also deemed a polo match as used in the original and rewritten into the original new script to be too much of a cliche, and wanted a scene that conveyed more action and excitement, not just wealth - he hence created the catamaran race, in which Brosnan undertook his own stunts.

Reference to 1968 films

McTiernan accepted a number of echo references to the 1968 version of the film. The most obvious is casting of Faye Dunaway as Crown's psychiatrist; in 1968, Dunaway played Catherine Banning's counterpart, insurance investigator Vicki Anderson. A second is the use of the song "The Windmills of Your Mind" in the ballroom scene, a song popularized by the earlier film.

Some critics panned the ending due to its sharp contrast from the original 1968 version. Banning betrays Crown in the end, but Crown winds up getting with her anyway in the final scene on a plane headed to Europe. In the original, Vicki Anderson (played by Faye Dunaway) didn't trust Crown and betrayed him to the police. However she didn't earn Crown's love in the end. The 1999 film was criticized for this change in the ending since it's not in Crown's character to stay with a woman who doesn't believe in him, no matter how worthy an adversary she may be.


Filming took place throughout New York City, including Central Park. The corporate headquarters of Lucent Technologies stood in for Crown's suite of offices. Due to it being nearly impossible to film interior scenes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the producers' request was "respectfully declined"),cite web|url=|title=Art of the Con|accessdate=2007-02-24|publisher=LA Times|last=Pacheo|first=Patrick|date=1999-08-01] the production crew made their own museum on a soundstage. Artisans were hired to create a realistic look to the set. [cite web|url=|title=Creating The World of Thomas Crown|accessdate=2007-02-24] Another scene was filmed in an entirely different city landmark: the main research library of the New York Public Library. The fire protection system used in the film's finale is not actually used in real museums.

The glider scenes were shot at Ridge Soaring Gliderport and Eagle Field in Pennsylvania and at Corning-Painted Post Airport in New York. The two glider aero-tow shots were actually taken from film shot at different airports with different tow planes. The glider pilot was Thomas L. Knauff, a world record holder, [cite web|url=|title=Thomas Knauff|accessdate=2007-02-24] and a member of the US Soaring Hall of Fame. [cite web|url=|title=Hall of Fame biographies|accessdate=2007-02-24] The glider used is a Schempp-Hirth Duo Discus, in which technically it is physically impossible to reach the front controls from the rear seat - so the close shot sections were shot in a modified cockpit under a blue screen in the studio.

A number of McTiernan's own vehicles then appear in the next sequence, as well as his farm. The tractor in the background after the glider lands, belongs to McTiernan, while the dark green Shelby Mustang that Crown drives on Martinique was originally intended to be used for Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in 1993's "Last Action Hero," and was retrieved from the director's garage for this film. The six wheeled Jeep was built specifically for the film. The house used as Crown's Caribbean get-away is owned by one of the 30 original families who settled in Martinique in the 1600s, but the interior and the scenes around it like the beach are a menage of various other parts of Martinique and sound stages constructions.


The paintings, which were copies supplied by "Troubetzkoy Paintings" in New York, and appear in the film are:

*"San Giorgio Maggiore at dusk" by Claude Monet - owned by the Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan
*"Wheatstacks" by Claude Monet - owned by the Getty Museum in Los Angeles
*"Noon: Rest From Work (After Millet)" by Vincent van Gogh - The painting Crown admires and calls "his haystacks," the original is owned by Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France
*"The Son of Man" by René Magritte - The painting that is seen several times in the film depicting a man in a suit with an apple covering his face


The critically acclaimed soundtrack was composed by Bill Conti and arranged by Jack Eskew. It features a variety of jazz arrangements which harken back to the film's original version. In addition, the film ends with a reprise of the Academy Award-winning song "Windmills of Your Mind" sung by Sting. Throughout the movie, segments are used of a song by Nina Simone called "Sinnerman" (from the album "Pastel Blues", 1965). Mostly the non-vocal parts are used (hand-clapping and piano riffs), but in the final scenes, where Crown returns to the scene of the crime, Simone sings "Oh sinnerman, where are you gonna run to?"

Infobox Album
Name = The Thomas Crown Affair
Type = Soundtrack
Artist = Bill Conti, Sting and Nina Simone

Background = gainsboro
Released = September 7, 1999 (original)
March 8, 2002 (re-release)
Recorded = 1999
Genre = Soundtrack
Length = 37:44
Label = Ark 21 (original)
Pangaea (re-release)
Producer =
Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|3.5|5 [ link] |

Track listing

# Windmills of Your Mind - Sting
# Sinnerman - Nina Simone
# Everything (...Is Never Quite Enough) - Wasis Diop
# Caban La Ka Kratchie - Georges Fordant
# Black and White
# Never Change
# Meet Ms. Banning
# Goodnight/Breaking and Entering
# Glider pt. I
# Glider pt. II
# Cocktails
# Quick Exit


The film made $69,305,181 at the U.S. box office and a further $55,000,000 in the rest of the world, making a combined box office total of $124,305,181. With a budget of $48,000,000, the film was a financial success.


External links

*amg movie|id=180404|title=The Thomas Crown Affair
* [ Paul Verhoeven to direct 'The Thomas Crown Affair 2'] at Spero News

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