back to article IT manager sorts Italian Job cliffhanger

A Surrey IT manager has won three nights in Turin for sorting The Italian Job's cliffhanger ending, having successfully forged a cunning, highly practical plan to save the gold. Michael Caine's Charlie Croker and his gang are left in a bit of a tight spot at the film's finale, as their bus teeters over a ravine and they have …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Lionel Baden
    Thumb Up

    fire !!!

    been mans answer for hundreds of years :)

  2. Anonymous Coward

    And then...?

    Fantastic! They all live! AND they get the gold!

    However once they've done all that they're stuck halfway up an alpine mountain road with half a ton of gold, a bus with flat tyres and no fuel, and the italian police and mafia out for their blood.

    Italian Job 2...?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Jump out, bus falls, climb down cliff, retrieve gold, the end.

  4. Rob

    Minor snag

    Does Charlie know there is an access panel to get the fuel tank plug?

  5. Sam Tana
    Paris Hilton

    Hang on, lads; I've got a stupid idea.

    This so-called solution is a joke. It's not just a case of just retrieving the gold, it's also necessary to recover the bus and escape the pursuing Italian police and the Mafia, so spending several hours atop a mountain and wrecking your only means of transport in the process is an automatic FAIL.

    Apart from that, the "winner" fails to explain just how the windows at the back of the coach could be smashed when the slightest movement sends the pile of gold sliding towards the rear; how to drain a huge fuel tank without leaving the coach; or how someone could exit the coach to fetch rocks when the weight inside the vehicle is so finely balanced.

    Pasis - because she'd know how to rock a bus full of gold and gangsters

  6. Anonymous Coward


    I heard the theory of draining the buses fuel tank years ago, kudos to the man for adding some maths and other embellishments to it, but it isn't a 'new' theory.

  7. steogede

    Runner Up

    >> The runner-up in the challenge was Aidan Farrell, who suggested setting fire to fuel from the

    >> tank to glue the bus to the road.

    Can we have more details on how Aidan Farrell intends to set fire to the *DIESEL* fuel, given that diesel isn't very easily flammable? I suppose he could burn it by running the engine, but wouldn't 'glue the bus to the road'.

  8. Gordon Grant
    Thumb Up

    Re: Rob

    Hey Charlie Croker of course he does he planned it all down to the finest detail.

    They don't need to drain all the fuel out the bus just enough I mean he'd have sense to keep his hands on the stopper as well.

  9. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up

    That's quite clever

    I can see how it wins, unlike most of the proposed plans it is reasonably practical.

    And in response to all the inevitable 'but they're still stuck' answers, they could possibly re-inflate the tyres then coast down the mountain until they find somewhere with cars they can borrow/steal/buy.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    One of the film's producers, Michael Deeley, was on Desert Island Discs just before Christmas.

    He was asked about the ending and said that it was originally written to set up a sequel: Mafia helicopters (black ones presumably) would appear and lift the coach and gold away. The sequel would then revolve around Croker and Co's attempts to get it back.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rear wheel drive?

    If the bus is rear-wheel-drive (which it probably is) they may have a problem getting it back on to the road to make their escape...

  12. jai


    to get to the point 'just air side' you'd have to inch down the bus a bit, wouldn't you?

    and at the point where Charlie turns around to say "hang on lads....." he's already inched down the bus to the pivot point, and the front wheels are off the ground aren't they?

    so how would they set the fire so that it melts the tires?

  13. Sam Tana
    Thumb Down

    @ Ian Ferguson

    Coast down the mountain? In a coach with air brakes and power steering?

  14. jai

    better solution

    surely the better bet is to rush the back of the bus, it tips and begins to roll down the cliff side

    then, everyone in the bus lines up in a row an surfs the bus down the cliffside, all leaning to one side or the other to angle it around the largest of the rocks - in theory (okay, okay, but the sequel would be a holywood movie and they get away with just improbable rubbish) they should get to the bottom without flipping over.

    meanwhile, the Mafiosos were likely chasing them up the mountain pass road and will now realise, in a hilarious scene of slapstick comedy, that the gold is now at the bottom of the mountain and they are at the top

    queue Benny Hill music and much high-speed footage of people racing up and down the mountain side

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easier solution (maybe)

    Just get everyone as far forward as possible; assuming there are nine people in the bus and they can each move an average of one metre further towards the front, this may be enough to allow one of them (the lightest of course) to get off the bus and fetch rocks to weight down the front of the bus so that it can be stabilised to allow the gold to be recovered.

    If we assume the men weigh 70kg each (11 stone in old money) and the bus is pivoted at its centre and the men are, on average, about 1m from the front; then since the bus is 11m long they would produce a moment of (5.5m - 1m) x (9 men x 70kg) = 2835 kgm. By moving back one metre this is increased to 3465 kgm and if one person leaves the bus they still produce 5.5 x 8 x 70 = 3080 kgm. This is still greater than the original 2835 kgm that was balancing the gold originally, so it should be feasible. At no point does anyone move towards the pivot, so there should be no danger of the bus tipping over the cliff.

    I'm assuming there were at least nine robbers (two in each mini and three in the bus) but if there were more then the solution is easier.

    This does, of course, leave the gang stood at the side of a road with a pile of gold.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    tyres and springs

    >"This allows someone to be lowered by his feet to let the air out of the front tyres, described by Godwin as "springs" which were exaggerating the bus's rocking motion."

    Err, surely it was the *springs* that were acting as springs, exaggerating the bus's rocking motion? I don't know a whole lot about suspension, but it's got some damn big springs in it, and when you push down on the bonnet of a car and let it bounce back up, all the compression is in the springs and the tyres are barely deformed at all, and also a car that has completely flat tyres can still be bounced on its suspension.

    So I think it wasn't the tyres doing it, unless they were implausibly underpressured in the first place.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    @Sam Tana

    Ah, I think I see where your misunderstanding comes from. You entirely failed to read TFA.

    ST>"Apart from that, the "winner" fails to explain just how the windows at the back of the coach could be smashed when the slightest movement sends the pile of gold sliding towards the rear;"

    TFA>"the plan starts with the robbers smashing outwards two large central windows just "air-side" of the bus's pivot."

    ST>" how to drain a huge fuel tank without leaving the coach;"

    TFA>"Croker "could have emptied the tank by removing an access plank on the bus floor and reaching down to take out the drainage plug"."

    ST> " or how someone could exit the coach to fetch rocks when the weight inside the vehicle is so finely balanced."

    TFA>"Once this weight had been removed, one of the gang could safely exit the bus"

    ElReg: Now with subtitles, for the hard-of-reading.

  18. Schultz

    Pressurized air

    Lets hope that releasing the pressurized air from the tires doesn't throw them over the cliff. I'd estimate a bus tire to contain some 50 l of air (plenty of Bulgarian airbags!) --> 2 x 50 l volume x 2 bar pressure x (1.2 g/l). Hold your breath!

  19. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    just a thought

    rather then emptying the fuel out via the access panel whats wrong with just letting the motor run until the fuel runs out? OK could take a while, and yes maybe vibration problems but with everyone clambered on to the front of the bus, it should be fine. damn i should have entered the comp! :P

  20. Mr Bear

    Just need some duct tape and a Swiss Army knife.

    Shift everyone to the front of the bus. Then get a few people to climb outside while holding onto the bus so that their weight is further away from the pivot point, which should allow someone light to get off and get some rocks to help with the balance. And then cut the string from the blinds and find some strong but bent piece of metal and make a kind of grappling hook. Use the hook to start pulling the gold to the front of the bus until the bus is nice and happy and well balanced.

    If the bus is rear wheel drive then see if they can find some rope and something secure to tie it to and see about getting the other end wrapped around the rear axle. This can then be used to pull the bus back onto the road. Unwrap the rope and head off back to Blighty with a few ton of gold.

    I think I've been watching too much MacGyver lately, which incidentally pinched the mini scenes from the Italian Job for one of their episodes.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Use actual thinking

    Pfft. Easy peasy, just use the 'physics do not apply' card that allowed the minis to outhandle the cops whilst carrying over a ton of gold in the boot.

  22. xjy
    Paris Hilton

    Just one more thing...

    That many blokes could drag the van back onto the road, once it's safely balanced again. They could slit the tyres, fill em with grass, duct tape them together again..

    then they head back down the mountain...

    oh, and just one more thing... they take out the flame-thrower they were hiding (just in case), turn it on, and drive too fast down the hill (one of them being a superannuated rally champion). The flame-thrower scares the shit out of the pursuers and you see a close-up of their faces contorted with fear and shock before they get smashed off the road and tumble in flames onto the rocks below (all in slowmotion with close-ups of the faces as certain death approaches.

    Croker and the lads hide the van plus gold in a cave by a cove no-one else knows about except the baddy whose grandma was from this neck of the water.

    Then they have a quiet ale or two by the sea, smelling the Mediterranean pines.

    In a few months Croker returns with his dad in a launch, having killed the others in the meantime. Loads the gold under the tarp and heads off into the sunset.

    (Paris cos she too could have cooked this up on the bog, and the old stories are always the best...)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When I saw this competition I also thought about first losing a few windows - possibly with the aid of an underpant-elastic powered catapult so that you could hit the rear ones without moving towards the back of the bus. The windows on that bus look pretty big and must have weighed a fair bit. They'd have had to somehow open the Venetian blinds on the side windows if they wanted to get rid of them also.

  24. Charles Manning

    Pommies... step aside please...

    Crooks are always tooled up, so shoot a hole in the tank.

    9mm or so will easily go through the bottom of the van and the tank, letting it run out. Contrary to Hollywood dramatics this is very unlikely to start a fire, particularly if this is diesel fuel.

  25. Sam Tana

    @ various anonymous cowards

    Working from El Reg's still photo, and assuming that the gold is in bank-standard 400 ounce bars, there's at least 8 imperial tons of gold on that coach, which means that each of the three Minis would have had to outhandle the Italian police while carrying at least 2.66 tons of gold, not a measly one ton as you suggest...

    As for not reading the article - only by breaking the back windows is any real weight benefit obtained, and as all the windows are protected by venitian blinds (which would cushion the blow of any thrown object) it's impractical to break them from a distance without serious risk of the thrown object bouncing back into the coach, adding to the weight that's beyond the pivot. So how - in detail - could the windows be broken?

    Only if the fuel tank is rear of the gold would emptying it be an advantage. To access a valve on the tank, Crocker would also have to be rear of the gold - but he can't get even get close to it without triggering a slide. So how does he do it?

    I may be hard-of-thinking, but at least I am thinking.

  26. J Day

    Might as well jump!

    Surely all they have to do is keep jumping, the resulting vibration/movement would gradually move the gold back!

    ...and if the coach fell down the cliff I suggest they use the same approach but just before impact, not forgetting to duck when the gold rockets to the front of the coach.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a solution at all.

    The "winning solution" does not work, nor does the original scenario. Even my rough analysis below shows how far out of court both are. The balance problem depends on tonnes not odd hundreds of grammes or even hundreds of kilos, so even losing the fuel would probably not help and punching out the windows is pointless. But even if the whole scenario were tenable (which it isn't - see below) the winner apparently fails to explain how the man who empties the fuel tank becomes self-levitating and does not contribute to the rearward mass beyond the fulcrum while doing so. Maybe he has a some very long tools.

    But I felt something was wrong with the scenario itself when I took another look at the movie in slowmo today, so let's do a Fermi solution. I estimate around 500 gold bars (2 pallets, each with 7 layers of 9 cages, each holding 4 bars), which according to standards weigh 12.5 kg each, making just over 6 tonnes. There are 12 guys on the coach, each weighing maybe 80 kg max each - just under a tonne in total. So the gold weighs at least six times as much as the men.

    Initially, the bus is shown as evenly balanced about the middle of its length with the gold very near the fulcrum on the "wrong" side and the men about a quarter of the bus length from the front. The men move right to the front doubling their leverage, but as the bus rocks the gold slides practically all the way to the rear - about twice the distance the men moved from the fulcrum - multiplying its leverage by a bit less than four. So the endpoint approaches 12 times the original imbalance in favour of going over the cliff and the bus would obey the law of gravity. So from the physics perspective it's a non-problem anyway - might as well have used magic. Shame on the RSC for sloppy thinking.

  28. Moss Icely Spaceport


    But didn't they ditch those luvly minis out the back of the moving bus and off the cliffs?

  29. Ed

    An IT manager Bah

    Quick someone ring the bastard phone we need to know how the BOFH and PFY would handle the situation......

This topic is closed for new posts.