Secrets of Making The Italian Job Including the Minis’ Personalised Number Plates
Released in 1969, The Italian Job is a classic British crime caper film that puts together big-name stars, a great plot to steal $4 million of gold from Italy, some classic lines and a literally cliff-hanging ending. But the real stars of the film are the three BMC Mini Coopers used in the amazing chase scenes through Turin. While many stories have been told about the making of the film, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes secrets that you might not know.
The Stunts Were Real
There was no CGI when The Italian Job was made and none of the chase stunts were faked. One of the most dangerous scenes was the 78-foot roof-to-roof jump. Fearing it would result in the death of a stuntman, some crew members left the set and the Italian factory workers made the sign of the cross.
The scenes of the Minis driving through the sewers of Turin were actually filmed near Coventry with a Mini Moke used as the camera car. The head of the stunt team, Rémy Julienne, wanted to do a complete 360-degree barrel roll in the sewer pipe. After three failed attempts and a badly damaged Cooper, the stunt was abandoned.
The Film Makers Almost Used Fiat 500s
The Mini Coopers were the ideal cars for the stunts and to suit the “Britishness” of the film. However, the British Motor Corporation wouldn´t donate any cars to the film company, whereas the head of Fiat offered to provide as many cars as were needed. Fiat 500s would have been used instead of the Minis. The film´s director stuck with the Minis, although the Fiat boss still donated many other cars for filming.
The Turin Traffic Jams Weren´t Faked
Central to the film´s plot is the traffic chaos on the streets of Turin, which was to have been staged with many cars parked on the closed-off roads. However, the authorities wouldn’t shut the streets, so the Fiat boss’s Mafia contacts stepped in and closed down entire parts of the city causing real gridlock. The angry drivers seen in the film are not actors, but real people displaying genuine angry reactions.
Little Known Facts About Michael Caine
Despite appearing to drive an Aston Martin in the film, Michael Caine couldn’t drive at the time. Also, the film’s anthem, known as “The Self-Preservation Society”, but actually called “Getta Bloomin’ Move On”, was sung by the cast, led by Michael Caine. In 2003, Caine’s most famous line, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” was voted the most memorable line from any film.
The Star Cars’ Personalised Number Plates
Each of the Mini Coopers has personalised number plates that relate to parts of the film. The red Mini is registered as ‘HMP 729G’, which represents ‘Her Majesty’s Prison’ and Charlie Croker’s prison number. The plates on the white Mini are ‘GPF 146G’, a reference to the grand prix flag mentioned by one of the characters. The blue Mini’s plates display ‘LGW 809G’, which refers to London Gatwick Airport (code LGW) and the flight number of the plane the gang would have caught if their getaway had been successful.
When Mr Bridger leaves prison to attend “Great Aunt Nellie’s” funeral, the Daimler limousine he arrives in has the private number plate ‘HMP 1’. These registrations show how investing in a personalised number plate can add a hint of intrigue to your car even if, like the Minis, the meaning is not immediately apparent to others.
Search the extensive CarReg database today for your perfect private number plates.