Tagline: Love makes the world go 'round... Love of Gold.
Joe Moore (Hackman) runs a ring of professional thieves, which includes Bobby Blane (Lindo), Don "Pinky" Pincus (Jay) and Joe's wife Fran (Pidgeon). During a daylight robbery of a jewelry store, Joe's picture is captured by a security camera, leading him to choose an early retirement.
This doesn't sit well with Bergman (DeVito), who is Joe's fence. After accruing a number of expenses in setting up another, much more complicated robbery, Bergman decides to withhold payment to Joe and his crew for their share of the jewelry job. He insists they go through with the other job -- the hijacking of a Swiss airplane carrying a large shipment of gold.
Bergman further insists that his hotheaded nephew, Jimmy Silk (Rockwell), be a part of the heist. Joe reluctantly accepts him into the fold, But a series of shifting loyalties amongst thieves changes the whole complexion of their task, including Jimmy's personal interest in Joe's wife.
A violent gunfight on Joe's boat brings the film to a climax, revealing who has double-crossed whom and which thief ends up with a fortune in gold.
Essentially a re-examination of Mamet's favorite device, the confidence game, the film was more of a success with critics than audiences. Roger Ebert is among the film's admirers, praising not only Mamet's trademark verbal constructions ("Everybody wants money -- that's why they call it money!") and restrained approach to on-screen gunplay, but also the care that the director takes in shaping the relationships between the principals.