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Best Heist Movies

Prepare to have your heart stolen by the best heist movies.

By Stephen HamiltonPublished 8 years ago 6 min read

There’s nothing like a flawlessly executed heist movie. The plotting, the scheming, the thrill of pulling off the perfect heist, and then the aftermath of it all. For years, audiences have been fascinated with the criminality, strategizing, action, and in recent years, technology, of heist movies. It’s no wonder that so many films in the genre have been updated or remade. The most memorable ones provide the blueprint for dynamic and bold heists that keep audiences enthralled. Whether you’re just looking to be entertained or planning your big score, we’ve compiled a list of the best heist movies for you to enjoy.

After serving a six year stint in prison for grand theft auto, Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) and his cellmate Nick are finally granted parole. Rudy is looking forward to returning to his family and starting a new life, and Nick can’t stop talking about meeting his romantic prison pen pal, Ashley, in person. But just before being paroled, Nick is murdered during a prison riot. Afterwards, instead of heading home, Rudy chooses to assume Nick's identity and meet his mystery woman. However, we later find out that prior going to prison, Nick worked at an Indian casino and that may have been the why Ashley reached out to him in prison. Rudy soon finds himself going past the point of no return with Ashley's brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise) and is forced to participate in a casino robbery that Gabriel and his gang have been planning with Nick in mind. This film has a convincing cast and will keep you amused, it doesn’t hurt that it packs a pretty darn good ending too.

The 2001 version of Ocean's Eleven is a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film of the same name. The film features an all-star cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García, and Julia Roberts. We first meet Danny Ocean less than 24 hours into his parole from a New Jersey lock up, and the sarcastic, charismatic conman is already mapping out his next plan. After handpicking a crew of 10 gifters, hustlers, and tech savvy criminals, Danny orchestrates the most refined, intricate casino heist in history. All he asks is that everyone follows three rules: Don't hurt anybody, don't steal from anyone who doesn't deserve it, and play the game like you've got nothing to lose. It’s an entertaining witty, funny, and well-acted comedy heist and one of our personal favorites. If you have time, you should check out the original, too.

In this sequel to Ocean’s Eleven, we see that despite pulling off one of the prime heists in Las Vegas history, the members of the gang have already spent most of the money they swiped. Casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) demands that the Ocean crew return the loot, plus millions in interest or he’ll sick the police on them. Unable to come up with the cash, the crew must to come together to pull off another series of heists, this time in Europe. This sequel really showcases the crew as modern anti-heroes, criminals with a conscience. And, like always, they play the game like they’ve got nothing to lose. Are you in or out?

Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his band of criminals are back at it for a third time, as they hatch a ruthless scheme for payback after callous casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino) backstabs Danny's friend and mentor. First, Ocean's posse plan to hit Bank in the paycheck by destroying the notion that the house always wins. Next, they wreck Bank's ego by sullying his reputation as the only hotelier to be awarded the Royal Review's Five Diamond Award for each of his properties. The film doesn't give enough time to goofballs Casey Affleck and Scott Caan, who provide much of the film’s comic relief, but overall, the film is exciting and Clooney’s easy sense of cool and witty banter with Pitt make this movie worth it.

Posing as Elvis impersonators during international Elvis Week in Las Vegas, five pilfers storm the Riviera Casino with guitar cases full of artillery and pull of an audacious robbery. Led by ex-con Michael (Kurt Russell) and his wily ex-cellmate, Murphy (Kevin Costner), they get away with millions of dollars in an impressive rooftop helicopter escape, but the casualties are high. Suspicion and in-fighting between the criminals soon leads to rebellion, greed, turmoil, and betrayal. The star-studded cast includes Christian Slater, Courteney Cox-Arquette, David Arquette, Jon Lovitz, and Kevin Pollak. Heist, action, and Elvis costumes, what more could you want in a movie?

When their efforts to raid a casino owned by dreaded gangster, Pope, (Robert De Niro) go awry and a shootout results, Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Cox (Dave Bautista) are forced to escape on foot, hijack a city bus, and take the passengers hostage. Now, in a high speed chase, the partners will not only have to outfox the police, but they will have to deal with Pope's unhinged crony in order to make it through the day alive. But we quickly see that things are not always what they seem, and Vaughn has more than one card up his sleeve. An unexpected, fast-paced, and well executed film with a great concept and cast.

After being betrayed by a fellow con during a heist in Venice, a clique of life-long criminals concoct a brilliant plan to get their gold back and to get some revenge. The team includes leader Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg), driver Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), explosives man Left Ear (Mos Def) and techy Lyle (Seth Green). They request the help of their former partner’s daughter, Stella (Charlize Theron), and hatch a plot to recover the gold. The plan? Holding up an armored car by creating a gigantic traffic jam in Los Angeles. Seems simple enough, right? Though this film bears little resemblance to the original 1969 movie starring Michael Caine, this remake speaks for itself as an adventure comedy that’s much more than run-of-the-mill. While the title's a misnomerthe movie actually takes place in Los Angelesthe action is still just as exciting as it invokes the question of honor and dishonor among thieves.

Inspired by the true story of the notorious 1971 robbery of Lloyds Bank in Marylebone London, the bank job is a fast paced, fun film. Retired petty criminal Terry Leather (Jason Statham) has become a struggling car dealer and settled into an uneventful London life with his wife and kids. However, when an ex-girlfriend from his old neighborhood (Saffron Burrows) resurfaces with an offer to pull off a lucrative bank heist, he can’t resist. After Terry gathers his gang of misfits and hustlers and begins plotting, he discovers that there are other schemes at play and powerful players who also have their eyes on the vault's contents. Unknowingly, pulling off the heist thrust them into a lethal snare of fraud and illicit scandal that spans London's criminal underworld, the highest levels of the British government, and the Royal Family itself. It’s a heist gone wrong, in all the right ways. The Bank Job didn’t win any awards, but it's enormously fun, energetic, and completely entertaining.

Gordon Jennings (Idris Elba) and his crew bask in a lavish way of life funded by heists, and they evade arrest by sticking to a strict set of rules. While celebrating their most recent job, a former member of the crew presents a bold plan to stick up an armored car. The enticement of such a huge “take” is too tempting to resist. However, unbeknownst to Gordon's men, this heist puts them on a collision course with both the Russian mob and a detective (Matt Dillon) who will stop at nothing to apprehend them. This high-stakes thriller features an all-star cast of eye candy for the ladies that includes, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Jay Hernandez, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown, and Tip “T.I.” Harris. Takers will give you the adrenaline-rush you’re looking for, packed with twists, turns, and style.

The fifth part in the Fast and Furious saga, Fast Five is a little less about racing and more about pulling off the heist of a lifetime. Ever since ex-cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Torretto (Jordana Brewster) busted her brother Dom (Vin Diesel) out of jail, they've journeyed from border to border to dodge the Feds. In Rio de Janeiro, they decide they need to do one last job before they can gain their freedom permanently. Bringing together their elite squad of racers, drifters, and hustlers, Brian and Dom know they must pull off the job before the federal agent (Dwayne Johnson) on their trail corners them. Fast Five is one of the best movies in the Fast and Furious catalog, definitely a must-see.

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About the Creator

Stephen Hamilton

Definitive movie buff. Quickly realized that it was more financially prudent to write about film than trying to beg for millions of dollars to make his own.

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    Stephen HamiltonWritten by Stephen Hamilton

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