One of the genres that remains fun even after over a century of movies is the Heist Movie. Whether it is a con-man movie, a bank heist film, or a full fledged Film Noir, seeing a heist as it comes together is a true joy, and in the right director’s hands, is better than most mysteries in theaters lately.
From the days of Alfred Hitchcock, who might be the master of the heist film, to more recent directors and auteurs, there have been many great heist movies in film history. The staff of Renegade Cinema sat down and figured out their favorite heist movies of all time. Check out which movies made our list and let us know your favorites in the comments below.
The Brothers Bloom
Ruby Le Rouge: The Brothers Bloom, directed by Rian Johnson (Brick & Looper), starring Adrian Brody, Mark Ruffalo & Rachel Weiss. 2 Brothers learn they have a talent to con at a very young age, and live their lives looking for a bigger and better score, though Brody’s character decides he wants out of the con game, the scheming, and planning. He wants an unwritten life. His brother (Ruffalo) agrees to let him go if he agrees to one final heist, to con a rich, young, socially inept and lonely heiress named Penelope Stamp (Weiss) out of millions of dollars. Quirky and polished, this movie is funny, poignant & exciting, and is on my top 5 favorite movies list.
Rian Johnson has a strange gift. Usually a Director can be spotted in his films if he’s really good at what he does. You know a Woody Allen Flick when you are watching it, a Del Toro flick, a Kubrick. They all have a signature thread that runs through their movies. Without it, Directors usually spend a lifetime unnoticed, doing generic movies that are often okay, but quickly hit the bargain bin, then fade into obscurity. Johnson has a talent making incredibly engaging, stylish films that don’t have an obvious tell that lets us know it’s his film. They are all so different, yet fantastic.
He doesn’t have a long repertoire, 3 films completed at this point, but 3 great movies that made him the pick for Star Wars 8 & 9, a hugely loved and nearly worshipped franchise. I’m really glad that he is getting some recognition now, The Brothers Bloom is overlooked and underrated, and maybe now it will get a little recognition too.
Caliber Winfield: I actually just watched this film again yesterday. One of my all time favorites, and the return of Ben Affleck, as he starred & directed in the film. The entire film has sort of an old-school noir look to it, with a lot of grey & blue tones, which is suited to the blue-collar, bank-robbing Charlestown. Affleck is a sympathetic guy who was simply born & raised into a lifestyle not fitting of him, trying to do whatever he can to escape a seemingly inescapable position. Absolutely fantastic film.
The Italian Job (2003)
Derek Johns: Granted The Italian Job remake doesn’t have the all star cast of Oceans Eleven but I think the casting was done better. Edward Norton is the perfect guy to play the double crossing villain, Jason Statham is the perfect guy to play a getaway driver and Seth Green is the perfect guy to play an angry hacker. Sure Mos Def isn’t the obvious first choice to play an explosives expert but to me he is possibly the most underrated rapper/actor out there.
Also, normally I despise obvious product placement but in the case of the Mini Coopers in The Italian Job, it actually works especially since they’re used for one of my favorite car chase scenes of all time.
Derek Ciapala: I don’t know if I’d define Tom Cruise’s original Mission Impossible movie as a heist movie, but it remains one of my favorites. Every twist and turn was well-worth the time spent watching the flick over and over again. Of course, Cruise giving one of his better performances instead of being an over-the-top caricature of himself makes things even better. His first Mission: Impossible remains, by far, the best film in the franchise.
Sandi Davis: Ocean’s Eleven, the 2001, Soderbergh directed flick, wins the “Best Heist Movie” title for me.
George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, who has an idea to rob three casinos at the same time. He gathers a team of experts and together they plan an elaborate deception.. While the movie plays purely tongue in cheek, it’s so much fun it spawned two sequels as well as a picture of Brad Pitt and George Clooney seated at a breakfast table titled “Proof that God Exists.”
The Italian Job (1969)
Bethany Lewis: I love The Italian Job for many reasons. One of them is the young and handsome Michael Caine as a roguish criminal mastermind and Noel Coward as the smugly British corrupt prison warden. It’s also a wonderfully clever, tongue-in-cheek, absurd movie with a fun, improbable heist plot, a creative soundtrack. And who can beat the literal cliff-hanger ending?
Caleb Masters: Inception is the ultimate heist movie. It’s got plot twists, the perfect ensemble, and an impossible “one last job” which are key to every great heist thriller. These guys go three layers deep into a man’s subconscious which is infinitely more interesting than the average flick. Not only is it an exciting premise, but the potential is limitless thanks to Nolan’s dreamy setting. Inception isn’t just a brain teaser, but one of the best ensemble heist movies of the 21st century.
Shawn S. Lealos: Michael Mann has made some amazing movies in his career, but his masterpiece is Heat. Amazingly, this 1995 film is the first time that Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro appeared onscreen together in a movie despite both starring in The Godfather, Part II. In the movie, Pacino is a cop trying to bring down DeNiro’s professional thief. There is one of the greatest gun fights ever shot in cinema in the middle of the movie, and despite Pacino and DeNiro, it is Val Kilmer who steals the entire show with his performance in this movie. There isn’t a movie better in the heist genre, in my opinion.
Mike Luxemburg: It’s the direct ancestor of every heist movie in style. Pacino and De Niro are at the peak of their respective powers. Michael Mann brings it together with such a clear, dynamic vision. I mean there’s little to say that hasn’t been said before about this movie; largely because it’s the best.