Two decades after their first "big deal" landed them in jail, the original gang of Italian thieves is back in action. Peppe "The Panther" (Vittorio Gassman) already has a new job lined up, but his pal Tiberio (Marcello Mastroianni) doesn't want anything to do with it. After a series of bad breaks and mishaps, they get a run of luck that just about puts them in the clear, setting them up to enjoy the life they've been dreaming about.
Best friends Peppe and Mario are thieves, but they're not very good at it. Still, Peppe thinks that he's finally devised a master heist that will make them rich. With the help of some fellow criminals, he plans to dig a tunnel from a rented apartment to the pawnshop next door, where they can rob the safe. But his plan is far from foolproof, and the fact that no one in the group has any experience digging tunnels proves to be the least of their problems.
Fresh out prison, Tiberio reconnects with his old partners in crime, Michele Ferribote and Peppe the Panther, only to realise that a lot has changed--including crime--after twenty years. Can he cope with this new reality?