There is nothing better than a fantastic heist film. Guy wants to steal something. He assembles a crew. The police get tipped off. Cue the cat and mouse game, the thieving hijinks and the inevitable playoff and the daring escape. It never gets old.
Plus all the thieves in this list look so cool doing it. Makes me want to stop writing for this site and plan my own heist.
Just don’t tell anyone, kay? I’ll let you know what private island I end up on with my loot.
20th Century Fox
Point Break (1991)
The Score: Unspecified
Nothing can touch the awesome duo of Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in this heist classic. Sure, the acting is of the so-bad-it’s-great variety, but you can’t debate that this isn’t a fun watch.
Between the surfing, the lingo and the bank heists by the Ex-Presidents, the movie’s a time capsule of 90’s action and filled with pure adrenaline.
Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
The Score: $250 Million worth of Diamonds, and ruining Willy Bank.
While I have no major complaints about Ocean’s Twelve, I really missed the Las Vegas setting. Fortunately, this brings us back with a convoluted plot for revenge and the theft some some valuable diamonds.
It’s a fitting end to the trilogy.
The Score (2001)
The Score: French Sceptre worth $4 Million.
This film is pretty low on most people’s radar, which is a shame because it’s got some tremendous acting. On one hand, it’s the only time the Robert DeNiro and Marlon Brando (both icons who played Don Corleone in The Godfather Trilogy), shared the screen, plus it’s got Edward Norton in a mindfuck of a role.
It’s one of the purest heist films in recent history, and it also plays out in an unexpected location; the old city of Montreal, Canada.
The Italian Job (2003)
The Score: $35 Million in Gold Bullion.
For me, it’s a toss up between the original and the remake. Both have their value, but I think the recent one is a little closer to my heart for the action and for the inclusion of Charlize Theron.
From the opening heist in Venice, Italy, to the freaking Mini Cooper chase through the LA underground.
Makes me want to drop some bucks on a tricked out Mini to beat downtown traffic.
Ocean’s 11 (1960)
The Score: No Amount Given.
I do think that the 2001 remake is a far better film, but the original Rat Pack version, is just so damn cool. The Ring-a-ding scheme to rob the Sahara, Riviera, Desert Inn, Sand and Flamingo casinos on New Years Eve captures the vintage spirit of what the seedy strip used to be.
The 60’s were some old-school-cool times.
Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
The Score: $16 Million in Gold Bullion.
This hilarious caper flick is a heist movie, combined with a WWII action comedy and a subversive anti-war statement. Plus it’s got Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles and Donald Sutherland in it.
In it, a group of misfit WWII US soldiers band together to go behind enemy liens and steal a cache of Nazi gold. Extra points go to Sutherland’s character, who somehow was a stoned hippie from the 60’s, in 194’s Europe.
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
The Score: £13 Million worth of Diamonds.
Not only is this film a great tale of thievery and sneakiness, it’s also fucking hilarious. If you’re into black comedy and Monty Python-esque humor, then this is your jam.
Bonus points go to a very sexy Jamie Lee Curtis, though I’m still not 100% on which fish Wanda really was.
Jackie Brown (1997)
The Score: $500,000.
Quentin Tarantino’s homage to the blacksploitation genre is criminally underrated. With cinema legend Pam Grier in the title role, she helps to bust a money smuggling scheme with a crafty sting operation.
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
The Score: $2.6 Million.
The badass and stylish Steve McQueen plays a bored billionaire who masterminds the perfect crime to steal money, just because he can.
An incredibly sexy Faye Dunaway plays the insurance investigator who’s on his tail. The two play a sexy game of cat-and-mouse, that turns into a love affair. It might sound cheesy, but this movie shows off how “old-school cool” the 60’s used to be.
Inside Man (2006)
The Score: A Bank Vault of Money.
This Spike Lee film starring Denzel Washington as an NYC detective matching wits with a master thief played by Clive Owen, is incredibly clever. In fact, the robbery plot in the movie is far more complex than you originally realize, and will make you want to watch it again, to see what you missed.
The Score: Emerald-Encrusted Dagger.
There’s something about the 60’s culture that made heist films so stylish and cool. The movie’s about a master thief who’s looking to break into the Topkapi Palace Museum in Instabul, and steal a dagger.
This is a fun caper film, that plenty have imitated in the years since, but not as well. Plus the robbery sequence is tense, and will leave you biting your nails.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Score: $91 Million Worth of Cocaine.
Some consider it too complicated, or overrated, but this film rocked. There’s so many plot twists and misdirections, and that finale is to die for.
The Score: $1.6 Million in Bearer Bonds/$12.2 Million in Cash.
This tense film has been imitated, but never duplicated. It’s a solid film that avoids cliche’s and uses incredible characterization to tell the story. Plus, it’s the only film in existence to have Robert De Niro and Al Pacino share the screen. That restaurant scene still leaves me breathless.
It’s a fucking great film.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
The Score: $160 Million.
It’s been 17 years, and I still love this film. It captures the old-school cool of the original and brings it to the modern era, with the crew taking down the Bellagio’s vault in an ingenious way.
Plus, the ending scene still gives me chills.
The Killing (1956)
The Score: $2 Million.
This film-noir from legendary director Stanley Kubrick, is a masterclass in suspense and editing. The story is simple; a thief wants to rob a horse track’s money-counting room on the day of the big race.
What transpires is a movie that hops with different timelines and character perspectives and tells the story of a compelling caper.
The Score: 240 Million Francs Worth of Diamonds.
Directed by the same guy as Topkapi, this is the film that started off the entire genre of heist films. Technically a film noir, it was initially banned in France, for fear that real-life French crooks would use it as an instruction manual.
The best part is the film’s 28-min heist sequence, which is done with no dialogue or music. It’s a tense, edge-of-your-seat score that no film has ever topped to date.