Asphalt jungle

Bieber help me, I do like stories like this:

In a meticulously planned heist that took barely five minutes to execute, armed men disguised as police officers drove onto the tarmac at the international airport in Brussels Monday night and stole diamonds worth around $50 million as they were being loaded onto a plane bound for Switzerland, officials said.

What are the best theft movies ever btw?

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

183 replies
  1. 1
    Shawn says:

    Asphalt Jungle is my favorite black and white heist film.

  2. 2
    Roger Moore says:

    What are the best theft movies ever btw?

    The Castle of Cagliostro.

  3. 3
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


  4. 4
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Stacks better remember to ditch the truck.

  5. 5
    Sanjuro says:

    The Score (Robert DeNiro, Ed Norton)
    Kelly’s Heroes (Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland)
    The Great Train Robbery (Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland)

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    I remember years ago reading about a gang that tried to pull a similar heist. Everything went fine for them, except that their intelligence was off and what they ended up with was several bags full of industrial diamond dust. Useful, yes, but just slightly less valuable than gem diamonds…

    I’m not really sure it qualifies as a heist movie, but To Catch A Thief is pretty darn good.

  7. 7
    Gregory says:

    @Roger Moore: Yup.

    Also “Once a Thief,” “It Takes a Thief,”,”A Fish Called Wanda” and “Reservoir Dogs” (though the theft itself isn’t shown).

  8. 8
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    How does one fence $50 million in diamonds?

    Surely we have some retired heisters here who could at least speak in broad generalities.

    Or anybody with an opinion.

  9. 9
    Hawes says:

    The Killing Sterling Hayden, enuff said

    Quick Change “What kind of clown are you?” “Crying on the inside kind, I guess.”

    Inside Man was decent

    And while I didn’t like the movie, I liked the capers in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.

    Ohh. Late addition: The Usual Suspects.

  10. 10
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    The best? I don’t know. Some of my favorites: Topkapi, To Catch a Thief, How to Steal a Million, The Lavender Hill Mob, Heist, Thief, and The Great Train Robbery.

  11. 11
    Gregory says:

    @Roger Moore: Yup.

    Also “Once a Thief,” “It Takes a Thief,”,”A Fish Called Wanda” and “Reservoir Dogs” (though the theft itself isn’t shown).

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Egypt Steve says:

    A couple of weeks ago saw “How to Steal a Million” with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. Kind of silly, but I like anything with Audrey Hepburn.

    “Heat” is a damn fine heist film, except for DeNiro’s cliched final line: “I told you I wasn’t ever going back!”

  14. 14
    The Dangerman says:

    Another vote for “The Score” and one for “Heat” (DeNiro and Pacino make it great).

  15. 15
    General Stuck says:

    Sexy Beast

  16. 16
    Tokyokie says:

    Du rififi chez les hommes, Le cercle rouge et Bob le flambeur, although that last one is sort of the anti-caper caper movie. I’d say the French do them better, but Rififi was made by an exiled American (although one of French descent), and the director of the other two was the most Americanized of French film directors.

  17. 17
    Raven says:

    Sexy Beast and the Croupier

  18. 18
    Lee Rudolph says:

    Didn’t Michael Moore make one, about the theft of the 2000 Presidential election?

  19. 19
    BGinCHI says:

    See the work of Jean-Pierre Melville, almost all of it.

    The master of heist films.

  20. 20
    MikeJ says:

    Bob le flambeur
    Bande à part
    Ocean’s Eleven (the original)
    Fish Called Wanda
    The Italian Job (w/ Michael Caine)
    Point Blank (Lee Marvin)
    The Hot Rock

  21. 21
    Maude says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:
    Most likely, they have a buyer.

  22. 22
    Gregory says:

    I agree with Roger Moore. Also “Once a Thief,” “It Takes a Thief,”,”A Fish Called Wanda” and “Reservoir Dogs” (though the theft itself isn’t shown).

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    The Town might not be the best heist film but it’s the most recent one that I’ve seen.

  24. 24
    BGinCHI says:

    Also: Ronin.

  25. 25
    carolus says:

    Hands down, it’s Thief starring James Caan, Robert Prosky and Tuesday Weld.

    Great soundtrack to boot.

  26. 26
    Doug Galt says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    I liked that one with Audrey and Pete.

  27. 27
    jh says:

    Mamet’s ‘Heist” with is one of my faves. Watching Hackman, DeVito, Delroy Lindo and Sam Rockwell go at it is awesome.

    The HBO movie of the same name with Pierce Brosnan was pretty good too.

    And somebody said Topapki, which is one of was one of my alltime faves.

  28. 28
    Punchy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Doug said “theft” movie, not adult movie.

  29. 29
    Doug Galt says:


    Love Croupier.

  30. 30
    Gregory says:

    Gah, sorry for the duplicates. My phone kept saying comment posting failed. Stupid mobile WordPress.

  31. 31
    Roger Moore says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    How does one fence $50 million in diamonds?

    I’m guessing they either had a buyer lined up before the theft or were hired by the person who wants the diamonds. If you sell diamonds at retail (e.g. you’re a jeweler) it should be easy enough to push them into legitimate commerce slowly enough to avoid notice.

  32. 32
    R-Jud says:

    @Punchy: I thought it was a weightlifting movie.

  33. 33
    Raven says:

    The Pink Panther

  34. 34
    henrythefifth says:

    @Egypt Steve: I agree with “Heat.” I immediately thought of that film when I read this.

  35. 35
    Bruuuuce says:

    Assuming you’d count it, I’m in for The Sting, as well as A Fish Called Wanda.

  36. 36
    wasabi gasp says:

    This one was a little racy for its time.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Also, The Good Thief; it is a pretty decent remake of Bob le Flambeur.

  38. 38

    Inside Man
    Jewel Thief (60s Hindi movie)

    ETA: Ocean’s 11 (DS9 version is fun if you are a DS9 fan)

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:


    I thought it was a weightlifting movie.

    I liked the sequel “Clean and Jerk” better.

  40. 40
    Chat Noir says:

    Don’t know if this qualifies as a theft movie per se, but I love “Dog Day Afternoon.” Top notch cast and writing.

  41. 41
    Kay Eye says:

    The Grifters.

  42. 42
    AliceBlue says:

    A Fish Called Wanda

    Quick Change

    The League of Gentlemen (a b/w film I had never heard of and saw on TCM a few weeks ago. It’s about a group of ex-British army officers planning a bank heist; really enjoyable. Funny in spots too).

  43. 43
    vagabundoloco says:

    Michael Manns’ Heat and Peckinpaw’s The Wild Bunch

    Two of the all-time best heist movies.

  44. 44
    cmorenc says:

    I liked “Ruthless People”, although it is a black comedy built around a hostage-and-ransom plot theme rather than a true straight heist movie. It features Danny DeVito and Bette Midler at their best.

  45. 45
    Yutsano says:

    @Roger Moore: Also, if the diamonds are larger, they can be split into smaller stones and sold that way. There’s lots of ways of getting around the DeBeers monopoly if you look hard enough.

    OT: That’s a lotta porpoises.

  46. 46
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Chat Noir: I’m waiting for the remake, set in an ATM vestibule, in which a much older Pacino leads the much older crowd outside in chants of “Sciatica!”

  47. 47
    PeakVT says:

    Diamonds traded in Antwerp last year had a total value of $51.9 billion, accounting for 80 percent of the world’s rough diamond trade and 50 percent of trade in polished gems.

    I know it’s a minute fraction of the global economy, but that still seems like a lot of money for little shiny rocks.

  48. 48
    Cassidy says:


  49. 49
    Hoodie says:

    Maudlin’s Eleven with Bobby and Skip Bittman, William B. Williams and the immortal Bill Needle.

  50. 50
    Tod Westlake says:

    The Usual Suspects, Thief, and, if you’re looking for one waaaay off the beaten path, Bellman and True.

  51. 51
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    I liked a Polish film called Vinci pretty well when I saw it a few years ago. It borrows a little from the remake of the Italian job, but has a major plot device (making several high quality forgeries of the Da Vinci painting they’re planning to steal) that I’d never seen used in a heist film before.

    Not sure if Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid counts as a heist film, but they do steal stuff, and it is an excellent movie.

    I think To Catch a Thief counts, and even if it doesn’t it’s worth watching just to ogle Grace Kelly, who was absolutely gorgeous in that film.

  52. 52
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I like your list although I’d add “The Usual Suspects”, and “The Thomas Crown Affair” and the 1932 movie “Trouble in Paradise (Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins) because they include some romance.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    becca says:

    @Sanjuro: Always with the negative waves, Moriarty, always with the negative waves….

  55. 55
    Egypt Steve says:

    btw, does “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” count as a theft movie? If so, it’s definitely on my list. Even if we all do hate Clint now.

  56. 56
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pamelabrown53: I did think about the putting in the Steve McQueen version of “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

  57. 57
    GregB says:

    The Killing.

    The Bank Job.


  58. 58
    kdaug says:

    Don’t call me stupid.

  59. 59
    El Cid says:

    I’ll wait until someone makes a movie about the guys in the Atlanta area who stole the $65,000 worth of chicken wings from cold storage.

    Think of the drama — the robbers coming up with the plan in the midst of low-wage jobs, the pressure of the upcoming superbowl for the wing market, the environmental pressures of drought limiting our chickens!

    [28 Jan ’13] Gwinnett County [Georgia, NE of Atl] police investigators said they believe Dewayne Patterson and Renaldo Jackson used a rental truck on Jan. 12 and took 10 pallets of frozen wings from Nordic Cold Storage.

    The theft comes at a time when demand and prices for chicken wings are at the highest…

    One percent fewer chickens were produced this year after last year’s drought drove up feed and corn prices, according to the National Chicken Council.

    Okay, they were caught soon after, but the exciting part of the movie would be these guys coming up with the plan.

  60. 60
    Cassidy says:

    National Security
    Blue Streak
    What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

  61. 61
    WereBear says:

    The Maltese Falcon has a theft, central. You’ll get slapped and like it.

    But a lot of great ones have already been mentioned.

    Asphalt Jungle; still extraordinary. I must have seen it twenty times.

    It’s really funny that “the caper” is a mainstay of Hollywood; yet there hasn’t been that many movies to get it just right.

    For instance, the movie The Hot Rock had a lot going for it, but never quite gelled, while the book is awesome.

  62. 62
    mainsailset says:

    “How to Beat the High Cost of Living” with Jane Curtin just as funny today as it was in the way back.

  63. 63
    Legalize says:

    I love heist pictures. These are all good for a variety of reasons:

    Inside Man.
    The Good, the Bad, and the Weird.
    Oceans 11 (Clooney version).
    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.
    The Sting.
    The Score.
    The Killing.
    Sexy Beast.
    The Town.

  64. 64
    Tokyokie says:

    @Yutsano: And uncut stones are even easier to move into legitimate commerce, while smaller stones are not particularly distinguishable. There’s a reason that diamonds have long been a preferred currency of black marketeer types: They’re far more valuable than gold by weight (about $1600/oz. for gold and north of $6000/carat for a diamond, and there’s about 142 carats in an ounce) and they’re difficult to trace.

  65. 65

    Atlas Shrugged part un.

    Taxation is theft, y’all.

  66. 66
  67. 67
    R-Jud says:

    60+ comments and nobody mentioned the Ladykillers? Peter Sellers wept.

  68. 68
    WereBear says:

    Charley Varrick.

  69. 69
    gogol's wife says:

    I’m with all those who mentioned Topkapi and How To Steal a Million and Trouble in Paradise. I’d add Gambit.

  70. 70
    Warren Terra says:

    How do you define “heist film”? I’d think you could make a pretty good case for The Great Escape – ensemble cast assembles a scheme to pull of a grand transgression, then tries to execute their plan.

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @R-Jud: We were trying to be nice and saving it for you, but then you had to be a jerk about. Thanks a lot.

  72. 72
    MikeJ says:

    I think we could dig up the thread we had back in January when we were talking about TCM’s month worth of heist films.

  73. 73
    WereBear says:

    Point Blank, with Lee Marvin, is a classic. His part of the heist gets stolen from him, and he has to get it back. From the Mob. And, he does.

  74. 74
    piratedan says:

    lots of good ones already mentioned…. but I’ll add some unconventional ones too….

    The War Wagon
    The Bank Job
    The Hot Rock
    The Anderson Tapes

  75. 75
    Ron Thompson says:

    Well, since there are three references to it here, I’ll just note that the title of the 1950 classic is “THE Asphalt Jungle”.

  76. 76
    hildebrand says:


  77. 77
    Legalize says:

    @Warren Terra:

  78. 78
    Cassidy says:

    Any Vin Diesel movie involving theft.

  79. 79
    Joel says:

    Why are diamonds so damn valuable anyways? Can’t Kyocera make synthetic diamonds that look just like the real thing, flaws and all?

  80. 80
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    White Heat

  81. 81
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    How about The Producers? It’s more a con than a heist, but so is The Sting, and that’s been mentioned by many.

  82. 82
    Hvillachez says:

    Don’t know about the best heist movie evar, but quite enjoyable was The Maiden Heist. Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, Marcia Gay Harden, William H. Macy.

  83. 83
    Roger Moore says:


    Why are diamonds so damn valuable anyways?

    A combination of slick marketing and careful management by a cartel to control the supply.

  84. 84
    Merfy says:

    Not a movie, but did anyone else watch “The Knights of Prosperity”? It was a tv show a few years back that starred Donal Logue (The Tao of Steve) and a then-unknown Sofia Veraga as part of a group of misfits planning to rob Mick Jagger. I remember really enjoying the first few episodes, but I lost interest once the group changed their target to Kelly Ripa or Ray Romano or some other snoozer. I think it got cancelled pretty soon after that.

  85. 85
    Hvillachez says:

    Oh and, as several have already mentioned, any Jean-Pierre Melville movie… And Rififi.

  86. 86
    Raven says:

    Ladykillers, I like the Cohen’s version.

  87. 87
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Yes, the depictions of the theft in the Panther movies are always very entertaining. Then there’s the investigation that follows, of course.

    “Do you have a lee-sance for your minkey?”

    Also, too, “Ruthless People”.

  88. 88
    SatanicPanic says:

    Does The Bank Dick count?

  89. 89
    MikeJ says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: The Producers is great but more problematic as a heist film in that it was essentially a nickle and dime con repeated over and over.

    When Cool Hand Luke cut the heads off parking meters it didn’t make that great film a heist film.

  90. 90
    Cassidy says:

    Fast Five…hell, the whole Fast & Furious franchise.

  91. 91
    Paulk says:

    My God, this sounds like the plot to Rough Cut, an 80s Burt Reynolds/David Niven caper.

    Actually, despite the mustached smirker, a pretty entertaining little flick with some good twists, if you’re up for that kind of thing.

  92. 92
    Raven says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Zat iz not my dog. . .

  93. 93
    Warren Terra says:

    @El Cid:

    I’ll wait until someone makes a movie about the guys in the Atlanta area who stole the $65,000 worth of chicken wings from cold storage.

    Do we know enough about what happened with Canada’s Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve to hope for a good film from that story?

    (honestly, I just enjoy saying “Canada’s Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve” and knowing I’m referring to an actually existing thing; it sounds like a humorous invention)

  94. 94
    Raven says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: the lunatic Dreyfuss. . .

  95. 95
    liberal says:

    Speaking of (legalized) theft, what would the price of diamonds be if the supply weren’t controlled by the diamond cartel? My impression is “much, much lower,” but I haven’t seen any hard claims.

  96. 96
    catclub says:

    @El Cid: There was also the maple syrup heist in Quebec. From the Canadian’s Strategic Syrup Reserve.

  97. 97
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    À la recherche du Noël perdu by the great French director, Jean-Brian Zatapathique. It served as the inspiration for How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

  98. 98
    Chris says:

    The Sting, both Italian Jobs, Three Kings.

  99. 99
    liberal says:

    Damn things are flammable too, apparently.

  100. 100
    jake the snake says:

    Several have already mentioned “Bob Le Flambeur.”

    Stanley Kubrick said that it was the pertect crime film, and never made another crime film after he saw it.

  101. 101
    DPS says:

    Fargo, Dog Day Afternoon, Reservoir Dogs? More about the consequences of a heist that goes wrong right away, I guess.

  102. 102
    White Trash Liberal says:

    The Usual Suspects, Rififi, Reservoir Dogs, Raising Arzona, Fargo, Heat…

    Does Bonnie and Clyde count… Love that one

  103. 103
    Bobby Thomson says:

    The Great Escape – not a theft movie per se, but it follows the same plot. So does Argo, with some revisionist history.

    Reservoir Dogs

    Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

    The Sting


    The Getaway

    Out of Sight

    The Big Hit

    Is the new Hobbit movie any good? I have trouble with unnecessary trilogies.

  104. 104
    gVOR08 says:

    @WereBear: Loved The Hot Rock. Was surprised nobody had brought it up.

  105. 105
    catclub says:

    @Warren Terra: Beaten by 60 seconds on the syrup front. Curse you!

  106. 106
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Oh, and Heat sucked.

  107. 107
    piratedan says:

    @WereBear: good call with Charley Varrick

    also fond of Gibson’s Payback

  108. 108
    MikeJ says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Does Bonnie and Clyde count… Love that one

    I love Bonnie & Clyde, but it’s not really about a heist, it’s about their career. There’s no intricate plot to silence the alarm and knock out the guard while one of them is lowered from the skylight or tunnels from underneath. So no.

    I will allow the previous mention of The Great Escape though. They were stealing themselves from the prison camp.

  109. 109
    Seanly says:

    I luvs me a good heist/con film. Here’s some of my favorites:

    Kelly’s Heroes
    The Sting*
    Ocean’s Eleven (both)
    The Great Train Robbery
    and many, many of the others mentioned here.

    Is Usual Subjects really a heist film? It’s a good movie & I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s not really a heist picture in my mind.

    There are a bunch recommended ones I haven’t seen so I must put them on my Netflix list…

    * The Sting 2 is one of those movies I can never ever see. I started watching it once, realized it was gonna be terrible and never looked back. To my mind it doesn’t exist and all the good folks at the end of The Sting lived happily ever after. The second Blues Brothers film is the other verbotten movie in my household.

  110. 110
    Cassidy says:

    Stealing Hrvard
    Tower Heist
    Any of the Ocean’s sequels
    The Newton Boys

  111. 111
    dedc79 says:

    Not saying it’s the best of the bunch, but thought that A Simple Plan was highly underrated

  112. 112
    Scott P. says:

    How does one fence $50 million in diamonds?

    You don’t fence them, silly. You use them to build a giant laser.

  113. 113
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yes, the Steve McQueen version is far superior to Pierce Brosnan’s.

  114. 114
    Culture of Truth says:

    Yes, Three Kings is a good recent one.

  115. 115
  116. 116
    Cassidy says:

    So, all joking aside, my favorite heist movie is 3000 Miles to Graceland. I’ve enjoyed most of the others, but they’re pretty standard fare, IMO. I do enjoy the F&F franchise only for the over the top zaniness. I also think Paul Walker is a better actor than he gets credit for. I think that Blue Streak was a lot of fun and Martin Lawrence doesn’t get enough respect. Payback was fun and I’m a little irked about the two Parker movies coming out. I really wish they had settled on a lead actor and made a franchise out of them as the books are fun.

  117. 117
    Roger Moore says:


    Speaking of (legalized) theft, what would the price of diamonds be if the supply weren’t controlled by the diamond cartel?

    I suspect it would depend a lot on the scenario you presented for the diamond cartel disappearing. Are you assuming that there was never such a thing, or that the existing one were somehow destroyed by anti-trust regulators? What happens to the hoard of gem-grade diamonds they’ve been keeping off the market to keep prices artificially high: is it dumped on the market all at once, is it sold off over some interval, or is it destroyed? Does somebody continue their campaign to tell men that they’re scum women that their men are scum if they don’t spend two months salary on a diamond when they get engaged?

  118. 118
    WereBear says:

    @dedc79: I thought it was awesome, and the book, even more so.

  119. 119
    kd bart says:

    This story sounds like the first draft of the film Rough Cut.

  120. 120
    artem1s says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    worked in the industry for awhile. depends on whether they have laser inscriptions. These can be polished off but it takes time and a stone cutter/polisher.

    If they aren’t laser inscripted then they could just sell them piecemeal on the intertubes. If they are patient and have a way to launder the money they might not ever get caught.

    If they want to sell bulk they will have to have a fence or front of some kind who operates on the wholesale level. I’m sure they are plenty of them but the law will be looking for large amounts getting dumped on the market.

    My bet is they will go through Eastern Europe or the Middle East and sell to individual buyers over the internet. The rest of the diamond world is still pretty well controlled by DeBeers.

    But $50M isn’t really that many diamonds, if they are large, good quality gem cut stones. you could carry them around in your pockets. Less than a thousand stones, maybe only a few hundred. $50M in gold, that’s hard to get rid of.

  121. 121
    vagabundoloco says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    I was going to suggest The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, too, but also wasn’t sure if it technically counts as a heist movie.

    I suppose intrigue-filled, spaghetti Western, treasure hunt is a more accurate description, but it’s still a very heisty movie.

    One of the greats, regardless. Worth watching, and rewatching.

  122. 122
    Unsalted Sinner says:

    Best theft movie? Why, Olsenbanden for full musikk, of course.

  123. 123
    AliceBlue says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    I agree. How could we forget “Top of the world, ma!”?

  124. 124
    Tokyokie says:

    @Seanly: Well, in The Sting 2, Jackie Gleason, Mac Davis and Oliver Stone replace, respectively, Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw, so you pretty much have to wonder, why bother? It comes off like a cheap knockoff of The Sting from a B-movie studio in the Philippines, not so much bad as tawdry, like trying to pass off cheap rayon for hand-woven silk. Had it not borne the imprimatur of The Sting, it would have just been another forgettable made-for-TV sort of thing. As for Blues Brothers 2000, I sat (mostly slept) through it on a trans-Pacific flight. It’s actually worse than you might have imagined. It’s a rare movie indeed whose suckitude comes through with the sound off while being watched in two-minutes bursts from under drooping eyelids.

  125. 125
    kd bart says:


    Oliver Reed. Not Oliver Stone.

  126. 126
    WereBear says:

    @AliceBlue: Actually, to be pedantic, it is:

    Made it, Ma! Top of the world!

    Though I think it’s funny how movie quotes evolve; sometimes, the civilian version is actually better. More pithy, or something.

    But I am a huge Cagney fan, and it’s one of his greatest.

    If that battery is dead, it’s gonna have company.

  127. 127
    handsmile says:

    Quickly scanning this thread, but I’m surprised (maybe even disappointed) that Inside Job (2010) has yet to be nominated. The most successful heist of our time.

    Besides the usual suspects (and The Usual Suspects), I’m glad that a few previous commenters thought to mention The Grifters, Three Kings, and Ronin, all first-rate and perhaps underappreciated examples of the genre.

    And I have a real love for the Coen Brothers re-make of The Ladykillers, but that’s mostly for Hanks performing against type and the immortal performance of Irma P. Hall as Mrs. Munson.

  128. 128
    kindness says:

    The best theft movies?

    Is there a movie of Congress giving the galtians everything after they crashed the world economy in 2008?

  129. 129
    Tokyokie says:

    @kd bart: Yeah, of course. Duh. Ken Russell once said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Most actors only have a couple or three tricks, and the director’s job is getting them to perform those tricks on screen. Except Oliver Reed. He only has one trick.” And he seems to be performing that trick somnambulantly in The Sting 2.

  130. 130
    e.a.f. says:

    Sounds like Paddy Mitchell is alive and well and still working. He and the Stop Watch gang pulled this off in canada back in the 1970s. They all went to jail but Paddy Mitchell did escape and still is out there. I would suggest, he might be in brussels.

    These heists are just works of art. I don’t know why they want to send the guys to jail. Politicians steal so much more.

    then of course they never did catch the gang who pulled the vault job in Vancouver either, back in the 1970s.

    I realize these are criminal actions, but then so much other crime, by governments and corporations just goes unchallenged.

  131. 131
    e.a.f. says:

    Sounds like Paddy Mitchell is alive and well and still working. He and the Stop Watch gang pulled this off in canada back in the 1970s. They all went to jail but Paddy Mitchell did escape and still is out there. I would suggest, he might be in brussels.

    These heists are just works of art. I don’t know why they want to send the guys to jail. Politicians steal so much more.

    then of course they never did catch the gang who pulled the vault job in Vancouver either, back in the 1970s.

    I realize these are criminal actions, but then so much other crime, by governments and corporations just goes unchallenged.

  132. 132
    Thor Heyerdahl says:


    See the work of Jean-Pierre Melville, almost all of it.

    The master of heist films.

    Agreed. I watched “Le Cercle Rouge” and thought it was fantastic.

  133. 133
    e.a.f. says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage: very easily. everybody likes a deal.

  134. 134
  135. 135
    Hungry Joe says:

    This one has everything: intricate, knuckle-biting heist; brilliant, cold-blooded thief; lovable dupe; brave, intrepid hero; thrilling chase: “The Wrong Trousers.”

  136. 136
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    btw, does “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” count as a theft movie? If so, it’s definitely on my list. Even if we all do hate Clint now.

    I’d then put “Once Upon a Time in the West” on the list. Henry Fonda plays a great land thieving character.

  137. 137
    PeakVT says:

    @e.a.f.: Paddy Mitchell is dead.

  138. 138

    The original version of The Italian Job

  139. 139
    gene108 says:

    The Other Guys
    Die Hard

  140. 140
    kuvasz says:

    Bonnie and Clyde.

  141. 141
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    I realize these are criminal actions, but then so much other crime, by governments and corporations just goes unchallenged.

    This is why Bernie Madoff went to jail. He stole from the rich, not from the poor.

  142. 142
    Steeplejack says:

    @Egypt Steve, @The Dangerman:

    Heat is well cast from top to bottom–not just De Niro and Pacino but Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman and even Val Kilmer, about whom one producer once allegedly said, “I wouldn’t hire him to star in The Val Kilmer Story.” Kevin Gage is excellent as the psycho Waingro.

    As for the ending, it’s pretty much the curse of the genre that they all unravel a bit at the end. So not too many points off for that.

  143. 143
    gene108 says:


    I was going to suggest The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, too, but also wasn’t sure if it technically counts as a heist movie.

    I think you’d have to throw in For a Few Dollars More, if you’re going Spaghetti Westerns/heist movies.

  144. 144
    Steeplejack says:


    Seconded on all those.

  145. 145
    jc says:

    Charley Varrick.

  146. 146
    Steeplejack says:


    That’s a classic!

    “You’re not gonna take it all off, are you, baby?!”

  147. 147
    Thor Heyerdahl says:


    The second Blues Brothers film is the other verbotten movie in my household.

    The only good thing about that film was that blues jam with so many of the masters

  148. 148
    Steeplejack says:


    Excellent movie. And underrated.

  149. 149
    Shana says:


    also Diva

  150. 150
    Steeplejack says:


    Any Vin Diesel movie involving him getting paid to be in the movie is theft.


  151. 151
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shana: I would have listed Charade, but I didn’t see it as a pure heist film – the heist itself having taken place 20 years earlier. But I do love the film.

  152. 152
    Arclite says:

    The heist in Goodfellas was also at an airport, and also actually happened, and was also for an obscene amt of money at the time.

    Here’s the history channel doc on the heist.

    Part 1
    Part 2

  153. 153
    Steeplejack says:


    Really good movie! I’d forgotten that one.

  154. 154
    mandarama says:

    A lot of young women now are moving away from diamonds for their engagement rings, because of the publicity about mining practices, false price elevations, and how the industry funds conflict. For my birthday, I got moissanite earrings–just as beautiful and sparkly, very close to diamonds on the Moh scale so durable, less expensive, and made in labs. It’s silicone carbide, and named after the dude who discovered it in meteor rocks in the 19th century. I mean, science and meteor rocks…that’s just cool, and even more so when you put it up against sweat mining, exploitation, and corporate malfeasance.

    When I got married lo these many years ago, we couldn’t afford the traditional engagement ring anyway…but I like sparkly stuff, and moissanite is just cool.

  155. 155
    Cassidy says:

    @Steeplejack: Bah, whatever. ;) He’s made some fun movies. No one will ever accuse him of being an amazing actor, but he has a great screen prescence.

  156. 156
    Steeplejack says:

    Lots of good movies mentioned in this thread. I thought The Anderson Tapes would go unmentioned, but I see someone did cite it.

    On the comic/farcical end of the spectrum, After the Fox (1966) holds up pretty well. Peter Sellers is a master criminal who uses a fake movie production to cover the smuggling of a gold shipment. It’s a weird crazy quilt–written by Neil Simon and directed by Vittorio De Sica, with Victor Mature as a has-been matinee idol who thinks the movie is production is real–and it’s not completely successful, but it’s worth taking a look at when it shows up on TCM.

    I was trying to think of the earliest heist movie I could remember, and I guess it all goes back to The Great Train Robbery (1903).

  157. 157
    Steeplejack says:


    Actually, he has been in some good movies; it’s just that his clunker ratio has been pretty high and seems to be skyrocketing. He was good in Boiler Room and Pitch Black. But the Riddick sequels and the Fast/Furious franchise propelled him into full Stallone pomposity mode.

    ETA: He does have–or can have–a powerful screen presence. I just hate to see it wasted. Sort of like Jason Statham.

  158. 158
    Cassidy says:

    @Steeplejack: Honestly, I think he’s a guy who recognizes his limits as an actor. By alla ccounts he seems like a decent guy and I think he knows his range isn’t great, but he does action really well.

    ETA: That being said, I enjoy popcorn fare. I like Riddick and am looking forward to the next movie. I think they make for good sci-fi. A Man Apart was decent. It wasn’t Man on fire, but passable.

  159. 159
    Steeplejack says:


    But even with limited chops as an actor you can do action movies that aren’t completely self-absorbed crap. That’s my beef with most of Diesel’s movies. They seem to scream, “I’m Vin Diesel, bitch! Just my presence on screen is awesome enough.” Ditto for middle- and late-period Stallone.

    Compare and contrast with, say, Bruce Willis, who, although I think he is a good actor, can work in the limited-chops zone quite well. (I note that the new Die Hard movie looks like it could actually be worse than anything Stallone or Diesel has done.)

    I think for the limited-chops actor it comes down to selection of material. Pick a good script where your limited chops can work, fine. Pick a personal “vehicle,” disaster ahead.

  160. 160
    Cassidy says:

    @Steeplejack: I never got that vibe, but that’s a subjective thing. I think he makes fun of himself a lot, tbh. The Pacifier was all about making fun of his typecasting as an action star and it worked. Honestly, I think his movies get better with him more involved. The F&F series was okay. The first one was fun and the 2nd and 3rd sequels were crap, but once he got back involved (4 and after) and was part of the creation team with Justin Lin, the movies got better. I realize they’re not everyone’s thing, but the production did improve. Same goes for Pitch Black. It was good. Riddick was “meh”, but I’m excited for the next one because he’s involved.

  161. 161
    Citizen_X says:

    The Getaway. Peckinpah, MacQueen, Ally McGraw, crime across Texas, how can you go wrong?

    And Dead Presidents is way underrated.

  162. 162
    Hawes says:

    I’d make a distinction (too late for this thread) that there is a difference between a “crime” movie (Goodfellas, any number of noir classics, most mobster movies) and a “caper” movie which revolves around one or two pretty clever thefts. I’m not sure if Heat is a crime movie or a heist movie.

    Additionally, I hated The Hot Rock. It was like everything shitty about the ’70s rolled into one sweaty, polyester clad mess.

  163. 163
    Jebediah says:

    @jake the snake:

    Just put it on my netflix queue.

  164. 164
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    I’m not sure if Heat is a crime movie or a heist movie.

    Crime movie. The heists and and specifically how they are done are not central to the plot.

  165. 165
    phein39 says:

    I haven’t seen these mentioned yet:

    Die Hard is a pretty good heist-thwarted film,
    The Getaway (Steve McQueen version only), is a good after-the-heist film.
    Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, with Eastwood and Bridges, is, well, cute.

    How could Office Space not be listed? Could this be the first cyber-heist?

    The Villain: Arnold Schwartznegger as “Handsome Stranger,” named after his father, fending off Kirk Douglas.

    Haven’t seen Drive, but my teen-agers like it.

  166. 166
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    How could Office Space not be listed? Could this be the first cyber-heist?

    They did it in Superman III.

  167. 167
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    Imma gotta throw some love out to the Breaking Bad episode, “Dead Fright.” Not a movie, but a damn riveting 40 minutes or so train heist plot with an ending that only further cements why Mrs. Pantload and I refer to the series as “Holy Shit!”, since we tend to wind up saying that each time we watch an ep.

  168. 168
    Michael says:

    It’s not a heist movie in the traditional sense, but the first Mission Impossible revolved around first preventing a heist (unsuccessdully) and the perpetrating one, and I thought that was a really fun movie.

  169. 169
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Steeplejack: Supermannnnnnn . . . . .

    You may now weep manly tears.

  170. 170
    Steeplejack says:


    Honestly, I think his movies get better with him more involved.

    I’ll concede your point there. I kind of gave up on the F-F franchise and never made it to the fourth one.

    Also had the thought that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson does a good job of handling the limited-chops career conundrum.

  171. 171
    Steeplejack says:


    Drive (James Sallis) was a good novel. I haven’t see the movie.

  172. 172
    Steeplejack says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Whaaa . . .?

  173. 173
    OzarkHillbilly says:



    Not strictly a heist movie, but it gets my vote. Definitely Scorsese’s best.

  174. 174
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @gene108: Not sure either of those count. The people perpetrating the heist were the bad guys in both instances. I think the protagonists have to be the perps in a true heist film.

  175. 175
    YellowJournalism says:

    Road to Perdition has a few neat heist scenes.

    And if Reservoir Dogs counts because of what happens after the heist, then Charade definitely should count. Both movies get better with each viewing, too!

  176. 176
    vtr says:

    Woody Allen’s Small Time Crooks

    Welcome to Collinwood


  177. 177
    crosspalms says:

    Glad somebody mentioned The Hot Rock. “Afghanistan Bananistan.”

  178. 178
    Miss_modal says:

    Nine Queens and The Aura (both by Fabian Bielinsky)
    Out of Sight and Ocean’s Eleven (Soderbergh)
    The Killing (Kubrick)
    Bob le Flambeur
    Does Big Trouble in Little China count?
    Quick Change
    Usual Suspects

    I’d say The Killing is the best straight-up heist movie; Ocean’s Eleven is the funniest/most fun (Snatch is close, but not fully a heist film); Nine Queens is my favorite on the list but is closer to a con-game film than a heist (The Aura is a heist film but not quite as good) and Inception, of course, is probably the most convoluted/thought-provoking. Special mention to Charley Varrick (because Walter Matthau, duh) and Office Space. Also the heist episode of Community, where they rescue the Dean from Chang.

  179. 179
    Miss_modal says:


  180. 180
    Miss_modal says:

    Oh, and Die Hard for the best foiled-heist movie (also, Alan Rickman!)

  181. 181
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Fun with Dick and Jane with George Segal and Jane Fonda, though the remake with Jim Carrey and Tia Leoni wasn’t bad.

  182. 182
    Donny says:

    How about No Country For Old Men?

  183. 183
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Cassidy: Did anyone else think “Riddick-ulous”? To be fair, I haven’t seen the movie, just the trailer. Which was enough to make me not want to see it.

Comments are closed.