Today: April 16, 2024

50 Years Of The Italian Job

If you only buy one cinema book this year—make Matthew Field’s superlative The Self Preservation Society: 50 Years Of The Italian Job that book.

Fifty years after cinema-goers first saw Michael Caine and his crew stage a daring getaway with Minis, the lavishly illustrated book is set for release in celebration of the golden anniversary of the cult classic film, to be released on 1st July 2019.

In 2017, The Italian Job was voted the greatest British film ever made. A classic line from the film—”You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!—has become such a part of British culture that it made it into the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony. As Caine writes in  his Foreword to the book, “People often ask me why it has endured. The Italian Job is a snapshot of that time—the 1960s—and perfectly encapsulated the decade: the cars, the fashion, the fun and the optimistic attitude that was in the air.”


Based on more than fifty in-depth interviews with the cast and crew, and packed with hundreds of never-before-seen photographs and production documents from the filmmakers’ private collections, this new book takes a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the British classic made its way to the big screen.

Over the last 20 years, Matthew has enjoyed unrivalled access to the cast and crew and 50 Years Of The Italian Job highlights the personalities, the location screening, the creative tussles, and the accidents that almost stopped the film dead in its tracks. 

Matthew wrote his first book on The Italian Job aged 18, after becoming obsessed with the movie. Both sides of his family were Mini-owners and that early enthusiasm for the cars shines through. Matthew’s focus is still very much the cars that form the heart film’s dramatic escape sequence. A large section of the book looks at Mini’s reluctant involvement, the debt owned to Fiat’s owner, Giovanni Agnelli, and the under-appreciated work of stunt-driver Remy Julienne. 

This is one for film buffs, Michael Caine fans, car enthusiasts, and all-round cheeky chap and chappettes. 

The Self Preservation Society: 50 Years Of The Italian Job, is 336-pages of full-colour film geekery.

Priced £45, hardback, the Foreword is by Sir Michael Caine and the introduction by Oscar-winning producer Michael Deeley.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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