January 2, 2017


A Prize of Arms – 1962 | 105 mins | Thriller, Crime | B&W


Plot Synopsis

A Prize of Arms

Atmospheric and authentic crime caper from a story co-written by cult film director Nicolas Roeg pertaining to the intricate robbery of an Army barracks payroll. Well-paced direction by the under-rated Cliff Owen keeps the tension mounting, with the all-male cast headed by Stanley Baker lending the proper measure of machismo to their roles. There�s also terrific support from co-star Tom Bell and a host of other well-known faces from television and film including Patrick Magee, Michael Ripper, Stephen Lewis, Fulton Mackay and Rodney Bewes. The entire heist is well handled and builds to a nail-biting nigh time climax in the countryside. Despite positive critical reviews A Prize of Arms failed to convert this into box office takings and it remains an underrated 60s thriller.

Set in 1956, Turpin (Stanley Baker), a bitter ex-captain cashiered out of the forces for his black-market activities in Hamburg, masterminds the robbery of the paymasters safe inside an Army barracks aided by two colleagues � nervy mechanic Fenner (Tom Bell) and Polish explosives expert Schmid Swavek (Helmut Schmid). Despite the military precision of Turpin�s plan, on the eve of the raid he can�t help but feel there�s something he�s overlooked. After an elaborate rehearsal of his plan, the trio drives to an isolated staging barn in the country, put on military uniforms and drive to the barracks in an Army truck. After bluffing their way past the guard, they enter the camp just as the troops are about to be posted to the Middle East during Suez Crisis. The trio’s intention is to infiltrate the barracks for twelve hours posing as drivers, then as night falls rob the �1m payroll, stash the cash in the truck tyre, and calmly drive out of the barracks. That is the plan, but the reality turns out quite different after one of the three gets sent for cookhouse duty and another suffers a bad reaction to an inoculation.

Production Team

Cliff Owen: Director
Bernard Sarron: Art Direction
Jim Morahan: Art Direction
Gerald Gibbs: Cinematography
Gilbert Taylor: Cinematography
John Jympson: Editing
Benny Royston: Makeup Department
Wilfred Burns: Original Music
Robert Sharples: Original Music
George Maynard: Producer
Paul Ryder: Script
Nicolas Roeg: Script
Stephen Dalby: Sound Department
Jeremy Saunders: Sound Department
Sid Squires: Sound Department


Stanley Baker: Turpin
Helmut Schmid: Swavek
Tom Bell: Fenner
John Phillips: Col Fowler
Patrick Magee: RSM Hicks
John Westbrook: Capt Stafford
Kenneth MacKintosh: Capt Nicholson
Jack May: MO
Frank Gatliff: Maj Palmer
Michael Ripper: Cpl Freeman
John Rees: Sgt Jones
Rodney Bewes: Pvt Maynard
Glynn Edwards: Breakdown truck crewman
Stephen Lewis: MP corporal
Fulton Mackay: Cpl Henderson
Geoffrey Palmer: MP motorcycle outrider

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