Vittorio De Sica delivers a full-blown comic performance as Cesare Celli, an American gangster exiled to Italy and kidnapped by a collection of inept crooks. These incompetents are headed by Harry Price (Robert Wagner), who demands a ransom from Cesare's friends for his safe return. When none of Cesare's friends send money to rescue Cesare from the kidnappers, Cesare is outraged and concocts a scheme for a five-million-dollar platinum robbery as a way to pay Harry's gang back for their efforts and to get his revenge on a world that has ignored him. Cesare trains his collection of nincompoops for the robbery and imports the famed Professor Samuels (Edward G. Robinson) to plan the heist. After a series of problems raising the money for the robbery and obligatory bumblings by the gang, Cesare and his men are ready to proceed with the heist. But then, right before the robbery, Harry and his girlfriend, Juliana (Raquel Welch), decide to betray Cesare and abscond with the platinum themselves.