There are a lot of movies which fit into the heist genre but only a handful of them are worth talking about. Over the years we’ve seen almost countless efforts and while some of them stand out for featuring brilliantly clever plans, others fade into the background.
The movies listed here, however, most definitely fall into the former category. Featuring compelling characters, amazing heists, and huge twists and turns, all of these movies are worth your time and they deserve to be remembered as the best the genre has to offer.
We think you’ll be surprised by some of our choices too as they’re not all traditional heists!
6. Den Of Thieves
Did you know that $120 million in cash is taken out of circulation on a daily basis and destroyed by the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve? It’s a shocking statistic but one which makes the perfect basis for Den of Thieves. After all, nabbing that huge amount of money is an easy score right? Not when you have LA’s best cops on your tail, it’s not!
A classic cops vs. robbers drama, the movie is an exciting, thrilling, and tense affair. It serves as an exciting homage to classic heist thrillers of the past while also delivering something new for moviegoers, no easy feat when there are so many big screen stories which fit into that genre. Needless to say, Den of Thieves is well worth checking out.
5. The Town
Ben Affleck made his directorial debut with Gone Girl but he forever wiped away the memory of Gigli with The Town. Revolving around a former hockey star turned reluctant bank robber who starts dating a woman he actually held at gunpoint while masked, it’s a fascinating tale which puts complicated plans to one side for a strong character drama.
The final heist in a baseball stadium as the gang looks to pull off One. Last. Job. (where have we heard that before?) is brilliant, though, and the action scenes here are nothing short of fantastic as we’re taken on a down and dirty ride through the life of a gang of crooks who all have very different reasons for why they’re pulling these dangerous jobs.
4. Fast Five
Before Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson came along and helped rejuvenate the Fast and Furious franchise, it didn’t really have the best reputation. However, it turns out that making this an over the top heist movie was the smartest decision the studio could have made because crooks, cars, and the theft of a drug lord’s $100 million safe proved to be a blast to follow.
While some of the other movies listed here featured very intricate plans and complicated plots, this movie’s leads simply tore the safe straight out of the police station and made their way through Rio de Janeiro causing all sorts of wanton destruction. Fast Five moved the franchise away from street racing perfectly by putting the focus on a thrilling heist.
3. Ocean’s Eleven
The first instalment of the Ocean’s trilogy and still by far the best one, this is a heist movie done right as dashing thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his crew assemble to rob the rich and powerful. Don Cheadle’s shocking cockney accent aside, the Las Vegas setting worked perfectly and the target – Tony Benedict – was someone it was easy to root against.
Throw in a fun romantic subplot, great character interactions, and Steven Soderbergh delivered one of his best movies in Ocean’s Eleven and one which stands the test of time. The heist itself was brilliantly planned out and came together in such a way that it leaves you thinking after the credits roll and it will be interesting seeing how Ocean’s 8 compares!
Christopher Nolan’s most inventive movie revolved around Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dominick Cobb, a world-class thief not of banks but of people’s minds as he traveled within their dreams (and then, you know, dreams within dreams). The plot is far too complicated to explain here but it works and we’re left with one of cinema’s most satisfying heists.
From Han Zimmer’s memorable score – BWOMMM! – to the stakes behind this heist as Cobb attempts to balance the masterful theft of someone’s memories with clearing his name for his wife’s murder, everything worked here. The cast was also astounding and Inception is worth checking out for that downright amazing (and dizzying) corridor sequence alone.
1. Avengers: Infinity War
Before Marvel Studios’ latest instalment of The Avengers franchise was released, the Russo Brothers billed it as a heist movie and they weren’t kidding. The whole thing revolves around Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy racing to retrieve the Infinity Stones before Thanos gets his hands on them, a heist with the highest of stakes.
Don’t believe us? Well, Avengers: Infinity War featured a series of heists with the fate of half the universe on the line and this unique approach to storytelling in a superhero movie definitely paid off, even if it didn’t pan out the same way as many other stories here. That ultimately doesn’t matter, though, because at its core, the ensemble was a heist movie!