The Biggest Bundle of Them All

The Biggest Bundle of Them All is a 1968 American crime film set in Naples, Italy. The story is about a mobster and a novice gang of crooks who team up to steal $5 million worth of platinum ingots from a train. The film stars Robert Wagner and Raquel Welch and was directed by Ken Annakin.

The Biggest Bundle of Them All
Directed byKen Annakin
Produced byJosef Shaftel
Sy Stewart
Written bySy Salkowitz
StarringRobert Wagner
Raquel Welch
Godfrey Cambridge
Davy Kaye
Francesco Mulé
Vittorio De Sica
Femi Benussi
Music byRiz Ortolani
CinematographyPiero Portalupi
Edited byRalph Sheldon
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • January 17, 1968 (1968-01-17)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States


An Italian gangster, Cesare Celli, formerly active in Chicago but now retired in his homeland of Italy, is kidnapped by Harry Price and his gang. Much to everyone's disappointment, none of Cesare's friends or associates is willing to pay a ransom to get him back.

His professional pride offended by this development, Cesare offers to assist Harry and girlfriend Juliana in pulling off a daring heist that could net them $5 million. Cesare even brings in criminal mastermind Professor Samuels to run the operation.

A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber is hijacked to be used to transport platinum ingots after a train robbery. Harry and the gang overcome many obstacles and the robbery is a great success, at least until the bomber doors open unexpectedly and the loot falls out.



Director Ken Annakin recalled that ten days into pre-production of the film, then titled The Italian Caper, a story reader from MGM discovered an old script in their archives that had the same story as the film, and that script was currently being filmed as The Happening by producer Sam Spiegel for Columbia Pictures. Producer Josef Shaftel met Spiegel with the result that he had to give up his 15% share of the profits, Spiegel had the power to approve every page of the shooting script, and the film, retitled The Biggest Bundle of Them All would not be released until six months after The Happening (which had a delayed release).[1]

Filming began in April 1966.[2] Female lead Raquel Welch had just made Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years BC, but the latter had not been released. She signed to make Fathom while shooting Biggest Bundle.[3]

"I didn't get to know Raquel Welch too well - we didn't have too many scenes together," said Edward G. Robinson. "I must say she has quite a body. She has been the product of a good publicity campaign. I hope she lives up to it because a body will only take you so far."[4]

Male lead Robert Wagner was under contract to Universal who loaned him out to make the film.[5]

The interior scenes were filmed at the Cinecittà studios in Rome. The movie was released in France as "La Bande à César". The B-17 airplane used was B-17G-85VE 44-8846 and actual World War II combat veteran aircraft. Currently being flown by the Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis Museum.[6]

Annakin later recalled that Welch "tended to wing her lines a little bit and would keep us waiting, and I wasn't going to stand for any of this, so we had a big showdown quite early in the picture. I just said to her: `Unless you know your lines and come on time when you're called, I'm going to make sure I use you for the absolute minimum of time. I shan't do any closeups. I shall just do medium and long shots of you.' And, of course, being the woman she was, she was very co-operative after that!"[7]

THE MUSIC - The opening song, "Most of All There's You", sung by Johnny Mathis was written by Riz Ortonlani with lyrics by Norman Newell. The title song,"The Biggest Bundle of Them All" was sung by the popular award winning British musical group - The Animals; it was co-written by Ritchie Cordell and Sal Trimachi. Notably, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer previously produced and released several motion pictures The Animals had appeared in prior to 1968.

See also


  1. p. 19i Annakin, Ken so You Wanna Be a Director? Tomahawk Press 2001
  2. Merle Registers in 'Hotel' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 12 Apr 1966: c9.
  3. Revolts Brewing in Britain By A.H. WEILER. New York Times 31 July 1966: 83.
  4. Edward G. Robinson--Mr. Bad Guy Never Had It So Good: EDWARD ROBINSON Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 28 Feb 1967: d1.
  5. 'Scandal' to Become Musical Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 1 Aug 1966: c22.
  6. B-17 44-8846 History Archived 2008-11-15 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Eighty-nine-year-old British filmmaker Ken Annakin is delighted; Portman, Jamie. CanWest News 23 Mar 2004: 1.
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