Dr. Schristian Szell's (Laurence Olivier's) famous catch phrase, "Is it safe?" is shorthand for "Is it safe for me to go to the bank and retrieve the millions of dollars worth of diamonds that I extorted and stole from Jewish victims during the Holocaust?" Ironically, right up until the moment that Szell starts interrogating Thomas 'Babe' Levy (Dustin Hoffman) with that question, it would have been safe. When Babe's answers are not satisfactory, Szell starts drilling into his teeth to "extract" the truth. Babe eventially escapes, retrieves his father's pistol, and after he learns what Szell is up to, intercepts the Nazi as he leaves the bank. Apparently, Babe's brother 'Doc' (Roy Scheider) was not trying to double-cross Szell, because Babe is the only one who shows up to hold Szell at gunpoint. Babe forces Szell into a water treatment plant, and starts throwing the diamonds into the sewer. When Szell panics, Babe tells him that he can keep whichever diamonds he can eat. Eventually, Szell's avarice overcomes his fear of the pistol, and he attacks Babe. In the struggle, Babe throws the entire suitcase of diamonds down a rickety staircase to the water below. In his haste to chase the diamonds, Szell falls down the stairs and inadvertently stabs himself with his switchblade/bracelet. Babe jogs away from the scene, leaving behind the Nazi's corpse (and apparently, the diamonds as well, a single one of which could pay for his now-much-needed dental work), and tosses the gun into the river.