Top Ten Heist Movies

Twelve-year-old Dre Parker could’ve been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother’s latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying — and the feeling is mutual — but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre’s feelings make an enemy of the class bully, and kung fu prodigy, Cheng. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han, who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.

In honour of the release of ‘Botched’, we’re taking a look at heist movies and asking : does crime pay? Certainly not for Ritchie Donovan in ‘Botched, as  a professional thief whose luck has just run out. He is the only survivor from a heist that goes terribly wrong, Ritchie is forced to take the rap and is sent to Russia to steal a priceless antique cross, locked in a safe on the penthouse floor of a Moscow skyscraper. Things start badly and go rapidly downhill when, during the robbery, Ritchie and his Russian accomplices are forced to take hostages because they are trapped by the police, on the unused 13th floor…But surely there are times when crime does pay (and more importantly it’s worth watching!). takes a look at ten heist films to see before you die (or before you’re carted off to Russia…)


(1) The Thomas Crown Affair – directed by Norman Jewison

Yes, admittedly it’s all style over substance in this cat versus mouse flick that  just drips with late 60s era coolness. You all know the story, billionaire  mastermind thief playboy Steve McQueen tries to stay ahead of the sexy insurance investigator Faye Dunaway who wants to prove he’s the ringleader behind some robberies. The remake’s not bad either, but we recommend the original for the chemistry between the two leads.




(2) Bottle Rocket – directed by Wes Anderson

How many knew Wes Anderson’s first film was this quirky heist film with the brothers Wilson? I bet not many, but it was and Bottle Rocket is one all should know.  Three twentysomethings (Owen and Luke Wilson, Robert Musgrave) plan to crack open a warehouse’s safe while the place is unoccupied. Some criminals are organized, some, not so much, Anderson’s fall into the latter category. Bottle Rocket is  a heart-warming heist like no other.

(3) The Killing – directed by Stanley Kubrick

It’s no surprise that Kubrick made this list. He’s directed films from almost every genre. In ‘The Killing, five men plot to steal two million dollars, but one of ’em told his dame. Will she rat them all out, or want a cut of the action? An early Kubrick film with top notch cinematography. 


(4) Reservoir Dogs – directed by Quentin Tarantino

Sometimes Heists go wrong, and when they do, who to blame can be troublesome. You will never listen to Stuck in the Middle With You by Steeler’s Wheel the same way again after seeing this movie. Why do I have to be Mr. Pink? Oh, and Quentin makes a brief cameo in his first film as well.




(5) Ocean’s Eleven  – directed by Steven Soderbergh

Set against the backdrop of neon Las Vegas, this celebrity filled heist film was another that was just a lot of fun to watch. Clooney is Danny Ocean just out of prison and he has a plan to knock off the vault at the Bellagio. The film is tongue in cheek, has a lot of implausable or impossible scenes, but it is still a lot of fun…


(6) Inside Man  –  directed by Spike Lee

Masterfully crafted by Spike Lee ‘Inside Man’ is the perfect Heist movie (with an excellent cast to boot). The story is laid out in front of you in the opening moments via an excellent monologue by Clive Owen resulting in an entertaining montage getting us inside the bank, from there the perfect cast of actors hired to carry out the story take over.


(7) Heat – directed by  Michael Mann

Michael Mann’s 1995 teaming of screen legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino is a heist film at its core, but it is also so much more – cop thriller, a romance drama and a shoot ’em up all wrapped up into one hell of a film that only gets better with each viewings.


(8) The Italian Job – directed by Peter Collinson

60’s Hackney lad (and original Alfie) Michael Caine stars in this jovial heist about a group of loveable cockney rebels who attempt to steal a stash of gold bullion from the grid-locked city of Turin, on the day of an England v Italy football match, right under the noses of the Italian Mafia and under the watchful eye of Noel Coward’s banged up criminal mastermind and monarchy obessive Mr Bridger. It put the Mini-Cooper on the map – an unforgettable British classic.


(9) The Sting – directed by George Roy Hill

The Oscar winning film from 1973 is the holy grail of heist movies! Paul Newman is the established con artist and Robert Redford is the young pretender. Together they set about pulling off “the big con.” Set in 1930’s Chicago, this film oozes cool and the chemistry between Newman and Redford practically fizzes from the screen.



(10) Dog Day Afternoon – directed by Sidney Lumet

Sidney Lumet’s masterpiece works on all levels as heist potboiler, social commentary and even family melodrama. It was 1975, Nixon was out of office and troops were withdrawing from America’s second biggest military mistake, Vietnam, and attempting to assimilate themselves back into a country whose populous wanted to forget about ‘the war’. True story Dog Day Afternoon starred Al Pacino in arguably his greatest role as homosexual Vietnam war veteran and one-time thief, Sonny.


‘Botched’ is in Irish cinemas now.