Six years out of prison and Eddie Pedak (Alain Delon) has kept his nose clean, avoiding any contact with his brother (Jack Palance), the head of a criminal gang. Determined to live a normal life, he's got steady work, a loving wife (Ann-Margret) and a charming little daughter. Unfortunately, Eddie also has enemies, among them a vengeful police inspector (Van Heflin) whose harassment costs the ex-convict his job. In need of money to support his family, Eddie has no choice but to risk his future on one final heist in this "hard-bitten"(The New York Times) tale of a desperate man plagued by misfortune and fate. Tautly directed by Ralph Nelson (Lilies of the Field), Once a Thief was written by Zekial Marko, who based the film on his novel and appears on-screen as Eddie's friend Luke.