Classe Tous Risques

Classe Tous Risques
Directed by Claude Sautet
Produced by Robert Amon
Jean Darvey
Written by Claude Sautet
Pascal Jardin
José Giovanni
Based on Classe tous risques by José Giovanni
Starring Lino Ventura
Sandra Milo
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Music by Georges Delerue
Cinematography Ghislain Cloquet
Edited by Albert Jurgenson
Distributed by Cinédis
Release dates
  • 23 March 1960 (1960-03-23)
Running time
104 minutes
Country France
Language French
Box office 1,726,839 admissions (France)
Classe Tous Risques ("Consider All Risks") is a 1960 French-Italian gangster film directed by Claude Sautet and starring Lino Ventura, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Sandra Milo. It was first released in the United States as The Big Risk. It tells the story of Abel Davos (Ventura), a French mobster who tries to make his way from Italy through Marseille to Paris, hunted by the police, and Eric Stark (Belmondo), who turns out to be the only person willing to help Davos. The film is an adaptation of the novel with the same title by José Giovanni.

Now widely considered a masterpiece, at the time of its release it was somewhat overshadowed by the French New Wave. It did however influence the French cinema, especially Jean-Pierre Melville's work.


The French gangster Abel Davos is on the run from the police. He has been tried in absentia and sentenced to death. He flees to Italy together with his wife Thérèse and their two children. He performs a successful holdup in Milano with his accomplice Raymond, but chased by the police the two decide to return to France. Entering France on a seemingly deserted beach, the small group is surprised by two customs officers and end up in a gunfight, where Thérèse and Raymond are killed. Left alone with the children, Abel calls his friends Riton and Fargier in Paris to come and pick him up in Nice. Unable to travel to Nice, they send a man named Éric Stark, who works as an ambulance driver. Éric lets Abel hide in his attic and the two men become friends.


The Abel Davos character is based on the real life Abel Danos (alias "le Mammouth" because of his girth) who José Giovanni met in prison. From 1941 to 1944 Danos was a henchman for the French Gestapo run by Henri Lafont and Pierre Bonny. Danos was sentenced to death and shot for Collaboration on 13 March 1952.

The film was a produced by France's Filmsonor, Mondex Films and Les Films Odéon in collaboration with Italy's Zebra Film. Principal photography took place from 7 October to 8 December 1959. Locations were used in Nice, Paris and Milano.[1]


The film was released in France on 23 March 1960.[1] It recorded 1,726,839 admissions in its home country.[2] The film was banned in Finland during the sixties.


Kenneth Turran in a review of 2006 for the Los Angeles Times wrote, "To come across Classe Tous Risques is like discovering a bottle of marvelous French wine you didn't remember you had, opening it and finding it every bit as delicious as its reputation promised." A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote in 2005: "Claude Sautet's Classe Tous Risques is the kind of French movie that makes you want to throw on your trench coat, light up a cigarette and shoot somebody. Originally released in 1960, it was lost in the frenzy of the Nouvelle Vague, which made its straightforward use of genre look a bit old-fashioned. ... It is worth seeking out, not only because Classe Tous Risques represents a missing piece of film history - a link between the great postwar policiers and the brooding 1960's gangster dramas of Jean-Pierre Melville - but because it is a tough and touching exploration of honor and friendship among thieves."[3]


External links

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