Selected Classics: Gambit (1966)


Happy birthday to the illustrious Shirley MacLaine, born on this day April 24, 1934 in Richmond, Virginia.

In celebration, I’m sharing one of my favorite Shirley MacLaine classics, Gambit, starring the exceptional duo of MacLaine and Michael Caine.

Between the superb acting and the wonderful 1960’s design, I can’t help but be drawn to it. And with charismatic characters, suspense, clever dialogue, good humor, and beautiful wardrobes, this film really has everything you could want from a light 1960’s heist story.


Harry Dean (Michael Caine) concocts a lofty plan to steal priceless art from the world’s wealthiest man, Mr. Shahbandar, centered around enlisting the aid of a Hong Kong showgirl named Nicole Chang (Shirley MacLaine), who bears a striking resemblance to Shahbandar’s ex-wife. Dean believes that Shahbandar will be so enthralled with Chang’s resemblance to his former wife, that Chang can distract him while Dean pursues the theft of an ancient statue.

While the movie is enveloped in exotic settings, it was actually filmed entirely in California.


From beginning to end, the film captivates the audience. In the opening scene, Dean suggests his plan to Nicole, and the filmmakers have a unique way of keeping the audience guessing after watching a mysteriously silent leading lady for the first half hour. Much to my delight, it only got more interesting as the film progressed. This film was incredibly charming and an absolute pleasure to watch.