Willie Nelson, Tom Signorelli, Dennis Farina, Nick Nickeas, W.R. Brown, Norm Tobin, John Santucci, Gavin MacFadyen, Chuck Adamson, Sam Cirone, Spero Anast, Walter Scott, Sam T. Louis, William LaValley, Lora Staley, Hal FrankUpdate Cast
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Also known as "Violent Streets" in some countries, "Thief" opened March 27, 1981. Even though it was critically favored, it did not do well at the box office, grossing only $4.3 million. But it was a starting point for Michael Mann's directorial career.
Along with William Petersen and Dennis Farina, the film also marked the debuts of Jim Belushi and Robert Prosky. Chuck Adamson, who was Dennis Farina's partner in the Chicago PD Major Crimes Unit, appears as a Chicago police officer.
This was Dennis Farina's (Saving Private Ryan, Get Shorty) film debut. He was still a Chicago police detective at the time. In addition, many real-life thieves and police officers in the Chicago area were advisors to Mann and some were even cast in supporting roles.
Dennis Farina and William L. Petersen both make appearances in this movie (Farina as one of Prosky's henchmen and Petersen as a local bartender). They would later both star in Mann's "Manhunter" in 1986, the same year that Farina would also play the lead on Mann's TV prime-time serial Crime Story.