With Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain hitting theaters this weekend, now is a great time to look back at the history of heist and caper films. Today, I look back and pick out my favorite heist movies of all-time. From Heat to Inception, see where your favorites stack up or if they make the list and be sure to let me know your thoughts below. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to share and like this.
Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro and Edward Norton. Do I really need to say anymore? While the movie itself is nothing special in the creativity department, it is solidly made. A fun movie which is worth watching for these three great actors alone.
Guy Ritchie’s directorial debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was amazing, especially for a debut. Two years later, he brought us Snatch which upped the ante. Clever, funny, more finely crafted, I have to pick this as his best movie yet. To make it all the better, the casting of Brad Pitt as Mickey…have fun listening to that character.
It’s the slick production of this movie that helps it stand out from its run-of-the-mill roots. That, and a nice ensemble cast (another appearance on this list for Jason Statham and Edward Norton) really make this entertaining.
Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. With The Dark Knight he reinvented the superhero genre. With Inception he practically reinvents the heist genre as well, or at least does some damn cool stuff with it like no other. Fantastic effects, great acting, creative writing and just plain awesome fun.
Sidney Lumet has a knack for locking down his characters in a room and really playing out the drama and racking up the tension. He did it with my favorite courtroom drama of all time, 12 Angry Men. 18 years later, he did it again as he took to the heist genre. On top of that, you have arguably Al Pacino’s greatest performance. Combine Pacino and Lumet and you just can’t go wrong.
Not many will immediately have this movie come to mind when thinking of heist films. But, if you look at its core, the basic premise for this plot is a group of disgruntled office workers who seek to embezzle money from the company they work for. So, not all the guts and glory of a gun-blazing robbery, but just as effective. The movie is absolutely hilarious in its endeavor as well. Even better for anyone who has worked in an office environment as Mike Judge really nails the daily grind here.
This may not be the best movie on the list, but it’s almost certainly the most elaborate of heists. Ocean’s Eleven also does such a great job at detailing the heist and really taking you into the planning process and execution like no other movie. Witty, entertaining and stylish, crime never looked so cool as here. And an all-star cast make it all that much better.
This is undoubtedly Michael Mann’s masterpiece here and it’s the quintessential movies for modern heist films. Since it’s arrival, many have imitated but none have duplicated. I’m probably gonna receive shit for having this this low. This is another with a great cast, headlined by Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. The realism and grittiness of it really set this movie apart. In researching for The Town, Ben Affleck even said the FBI and professional robbers themselves pointed to this film as a model of realism.
As Heat is Mann’s masterpiece, The Usual Suspects is Bryan Singer’s masterpiece. Bryan Singer does a wonderful job of combining the elements of this film: a wonderful cast and an even better script. While the cast is great to watch here, it really is the writing that makes this as great as it is. Piled with twists which are wrapped in guile, the story will have you on the edge, culminating in quite possibly the best twist ending ever.
This movie doesn’t get brought up nearly often enough when talking about heist or caper films. Winning 7 Oscars (including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director), there’s no denying this is a remarkable film and it really should be one that consistently tops lists like this. Undoubtedly it’s my favorite heist film of all-time. Robert Redford and Paul Newman are always great together. The charm these two have on-screen is one of the bigger appeals of the movie. But it’s also just a fun heist film which is well written and entertaining, with a nice twist in the third act.
There you have it: my favorite heist films of all-time. With so many great movies in this genre, I’m certain to have left of some of your favorites. Let me know your thoughts below.
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