Raffles (1939 film)

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Directed by Sam Wood
Produced by Samuel Goldwyn
Written by E. W. Hornung (short story collection)
John Van Druten
Sidney Howard
Starring David Niven
Olivia de Havilland
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
December 29, 1939 (1939-12-29)
Running time
72 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Raffles is a 1939 film starring David Niven and Olivia de Havilland, and is one of several film adaptations of an 1899 short story collection by E. W. Hornung, The Amateur Cracksman.

Sidney Howard was given credit as co-author of the screenplay with John Van Druten, due to him having been the writer of the 1930 version. Howard had died four months prior to the release of this film. F. Scott Fitzgerald may also have worked on the script, but this is unconfirmed.[1]


A.J. Raffles, the celebrated cricketer, is welcomed in the parlours and country estates of high society. This circumstance he uses to his advantage in his secret career as "The Amateur Cracksman", a master burglar and safecracker who remains always one step ahead of Scotland Yard. An old school friend, Bunny Manders, reintroduces Raffles to his sister, Gwen, with whom Raffles had been infatuated a decade ago. Raffles falls in love with her all over again, and she with him. When Bunny confides a crushing gambling debt over which he is considering suicide, Raffles assures him the money can be obtained. He plans to accept a weekend invitation to the country house of Lord and Lady Melrose; Lady Melrose's famous jewellery can easily solve Bunny's problem. Another guest, however, is Inspector MacKenzie incognito, who clearly suspects Raffles of being the Cracksman. Raffles plots to frame a petty criminal with the jewel theft...but keep the jewellery, of course.


In popular culture[edit]

John Barrymore portrayed Raffles in the 1917 film Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman. Ronald Colman played the part thirteen years later in Raffles.

The main character is parodied in The Simpsons episode "Homer the Vigilante" as cat burglar Molloy.


  1. ^ "Notes for Raffles (1939)". tcm.com. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 

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