Because of their star-studded casts and creative writing, these films dominated the competition.
A heist movie has fascinated audiences since the days of The Great Train Robbery (1903). Desperate and clever individuals capable of exploits law-abiding citizens only dream about have enthralled them. Lee Strasberg’s new school of actors in the 1970s paved the way for the fedora and the cowboy hats to fade into obscurity. With Point Break, Reservoir Dodos, Heat, Mission Impossible, Jackie Brown and Steven Soderbergh’s first excursion into big-budget robbery-pictures came an explosion of modern movies that still define the sub-genre to this day. The plots were brought to life by tight writers, sophisticated directors, and hot-to-trot actors in a way that contemporary heist movies still fail to match.
They have replaced the classic cigar-smoking, Tommy gun-wielding selfish gangsters of the past with nuanced, cunning figures whose morals is more murky than their goals. In many ways, these films are a metaphorfor how the capitalism system is eroding the American middle class. Even if there is a lot of philosophical discussion, the best heist movies are exciting and suspenseful at the same time. In order for a large-scale shootout to be as effective as an unarmed heist, the execution must include those aspects. Soderbergh’s aesthetic and the ensemble cast of Ocean’s Eleven wowed audiences around the world with their charm, humour, and vitality. For more than two decades since its release in 1997, it has become a pop cultural icon, but it isn’t the only brilliant, suspenseful, and surprising heist picture that has emerged since the new millennium. Beautiful, humorous, and intellectual even in its follow-up. These 27 heist flicks are worth watching, notwithstanding Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen.
In comparison to Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man stands out as one of the most underappreciated Marvel origin stories. There is an amazing display of spectacular effects, superhero action, and comic book movie fusion in this film. With Paul Rudd’s performance as burglar Scott Lang, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) entrusted him with sneaking into his old corporation and taking back all of his life’s hard work. A angry protege, a spurned daughter, and a shrinking suit are the unexpected additions to this mixture of action and humor. Comedy, charm, energy and wit are in abundance thanks to the scripts of Hot Fuzz’s Wright, Joe Cornish and Adam McKay. We must single out Michael Pena’s (End of Watch) quick-witted, passionate companion and thief as a particular highlight of the ensemble. It’s a witty, heartwarming heist flick and origin story.
2. Army of the Dead
For Zack Snyder, 2021 was a fantastic year. Justice League was released four years after its theatrical release, and he was able to see the dissemination of his zombie heist picture, Army of the Dead, on Netflix four years after its theatrical premiere. It’s a zombie-heist mix that’s violent, inventive, and action-packed. Zombies are reinvented as well as the genre of heist movies in this film. On a mission to crack and clear out a safe under the Las Vegas Strip, Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and his band of mercenaries and miscreants are joined by a group of zombie-infested mercenaries and criminals. In this film, Snyder was in charge of writing, producing, directing, and photographing, giving it his signature style and flair. During the opening credits alone, the director shows a superb ability to manipulate the audience’s emotions. It’s an excellent song choice and gradual shift in tone that sets the tone for the experience one may expect from Army of the Dead’s opening sequence. A prologue, an anime, and at least one sequel to Zack Snyder’s latest zombie flick are all in the works, according to the director.
3. Baby Driver
Baby Driver falls just short of being a musical due to its lack of musical numbers. Throughout the nearly two-hour runtime of this epic montage of music and automobile chases, the action, blocking, edits, and sound are all synced to the rhythm of each needle drop. Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) stars as Baby, a competent driver who works as a getaway driver for a criminal organization run by Kevin Spacey in Edgar Wright’s latest picture. Energy is everywhere in this film, just like in all of Wright’s previous works. in scenes depicting Baby at home, caring for his old deaf neighbor, Joseph (CJ Jones), and following his encounter with Deborah (Lilly James). Featuring songs chosen by Wright and seamlessly woven into the film’s visuals, the soundtrack is a visual treat. The lyrics of each song are spelled out in writing and uttered verbatim throughout the film. Bold and entertaining chase sequences are cut and choreographed to some of the sweetest music you’ll ever hear. As a result, the performances in Baby Driver are hammy and theatrical, perfectly in line with the eccentric musical universe presented in the film.
This early 2000s treasure stars Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thorton as a brilliant and funny team. They’re not the previously stated desperate folks who were coerced into criminality by the system; these are two men who have set their sights on a standard of living that is out of reach for the vast majority of people on Earth. After robbing banks unarmed, they progress to a method of operation known as the “Sleep-Over Bandits,” which has earned them the nickname. While their criminality isn’t sadistic in nature, the kidnappers and thieves they use are cold, cunning, and calculating. Cate Blanchett, an erratic accomplice to their criminal spree, infringes on their goals. After a little dance-and-sing-along to “I Need a Hero,” she continues to wreak havoc with her unpredictable comedic genius. Once the group is assembled, the interaction between charismatic Bruce Willis, neurotic Billy Bob Thorton, and insane Cate Blanchett drives the film. Trio of friends turns into a love triangle that explores what love and companionship might mean outside of heteronormative expectations.
5. Dragged Across Concrete
When it comes to gritty, manly films, S. Craig Zahler is following in the footsteps of his predecessors from the 1980s and ’90s era. Brawl in Cellblock 99 and Bone Tomahawk are two of the author-turned-earlier filmmaker’s works that have evolved into Dragged Across Concrete. It’s about two suspended cops, Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn, who attempt to rob a criminal who turns out to be an actual bank robber in the movie. It’s a three-and-a-half-hour long film that’s full of dialogue and character development, as well as disturbing violence. An disturbing and chilling bank heist sequence conducted by really threatening and ingenious individuals is bolstered by a gloomy, tragic universe. The weight of the action and tragedy is bolstered by the strong performances of people in difficult situations. Those who stick with it will be rewarded with a deep reservoir of characters whose mortality feels tenuous when the bullets start flying.
It’s hard to think Drive has been around for a decade. Even after all these years, Ryan Gosling’s crime-and-robbery thriller The Revenant is still a masterwork of contemporary filmmaking thanks to its blistering soundtrack and illuminating cinematography from Newton Thomas Sigel (X-Men: Days of Future Past). A stuntman who moonlights as a wheelman for LA’s criminal underworld, Gosling’s character, the driver, is a quiet, driven individual. What we know about him is up to us to discover, therefore we can only speculate about his past and future. His attempt to divide his professional and personal lives is evident. When his worlds converge, the first half of the film dissolves into a brutal, vengeful finale. There is a lot of violence, and the special effects are enough to make you squirm. As with his last picture, Bronson, director Nicolas Winding Refn brought his signature style to his first American production, Drive, which combined it with his customary careful pacing to create an immediate masterpiece.
7. Fast Five
It’s a blast to watch Fast Five. As a modern tribute to 1980s action epics, it remains a relic of the genre’s glory days. Fast & Furious 7 is a first-of-its-kind film in that it brings together the cast from all seven films, and introduces Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Special Agent Hobbs. By embracing movie magic and rejecting the laws of physics, director Justin Lin breaks free from the constraints of his first two films in the trilogy. As a prelude to the film’s unpredictable, outlandish, and frequently comical world, a speeding bus full of convicted felons flips over a halted muscle car at the end of Fast & Furious (2009). To avenge a South American criminal lord, the Fast family, lead by Vin Diesel’s Dominic Torreto, plan a heist. On their mission to bring down Reyes, Dom and Brian (Paul Walker) enlist the help of a who’s who of drivers and badass, including Tyrese and Ludacris from 2F2F, Han (Sung Kang) from Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot from 2009’s Fast and Furious (Joaquim de Almeida). The final half-hour of the movie is one of the most action-packed of any blockbuster series, with a robbery that is both clever and destructive, while also being utterly absurd.
8. Heist (2001)
Heist, which came out the same year as Ocean’s Eleven, is everything that film is not. Its surroundings are bleak, savage, and threatening. Gene Hackman leads a team of slick-talking thieves and con artists who are ready to take on the world. The gang is dragged into “one final task,” as in a few of the films on this list, before everyone rides out into the sunset. Toretto would be embarrassed to see Hackman’s gang acting like a family in the acquisition and takedown of a gold cargo. As a straight-playing criminal film that lacks much humor despite the presence of comedic geniuses Gene Hackman, Danny Devito, and Sam Rockwell, it is not a comedy at all, even if they are all on screen together. It makes up for its lack of levity with subterfuge. The backstabbing and deaths begin to pile up as everyone tries to get their hands on the gold they feel is theirs at the end of the film. Fun, chaotic, and one of the most inventive heists despite a simple set-up, this is one of the best movies to come out in a while.
9. Hell or High Water
Hell or High Water, the story of two Texas brothers who steal money following their mother’s death, is as thought-provoking as it is thrilling. Among the finest movies of 2016, it got four Oscar nominations, including best original screenplay and best supporting actor for Jeff Bridges. Scriptwriter Taylor Sheridan’s (Sicario) critique of the current situation of the American capitalist system is a ferocious one. Sharp and hilarious, the cast of superb character performers brings a unique warmth and energy to the piece. Jeff Bridges and his colleague Gil Birmingham—two Texas sheriffs whose bickering and banter rivals Chris Pine and Ben Foster’s on-the-run robbery spree—are electric as the brothers on the run. Director and storyline enable for the portrayal and reality of both fraternal relationships. Filmed in New Mexico, it’s the most Texas film ever made there.
Some criminals steal money and jewelry, while others steal secrets from Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio). These criminals don’t break into bank or museum vaults, but they do break into the minds of people who have sought-after knowledge. Films like “Inception” are rare because of their originality and ability to engage the viewer’s mind. Imitation and parody have become commonplace because of its popularity and appreciation. Iconic cinematography by Christopher Nolan and heartbreaking performances by DiCaprio, Cotillard, Murphy and Watanabe all contribute to the film’s ambition and grandeur (Godzilla, 2014). As one’s consciousness moves deeper into the mind of a target, things get a little weird and exciting, but it all makes sense if you understand how it works. Including outstanding cinematography, sound editing and mixing, and visual effects, the picture took home four of the eight Academy Awards it was nominated for. Even now, eleven years later, it remains a high point in Christopher Nolan’s impressive oeuvre.
11. Inside Man
In spite of its age, Inside Man manages to be a sharp, spectacular, and contemporary heist movie. Inside Man is not just a career high point for director Spike Lee (Blackkklansman), but also a landmark in the annals of heist filmmaking due to the skillful use of the script, nonlinear editing, and a slew of other techniques at his disposal. It’s half the joy of the movie to see Denzel Washington’s gamesman-like negotiator try to match wits with Clive Owen’s pompous and clever Dalton Russell. Throughout the film, director Spike Lee’s distinctive critical voice calls attention to issues of racial profiling, stereotyping, and open racial prejudice and discrimination in police enforcement and society at large. Layering the film and the supporting cast—including Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Jodie Forster (Silence of the Lambs) and Christopher Plummer (Knives Out)—consistently highlight the ideas. Though much of the film is told through Denzel Washington’s eyes, the picture is far from copaganda, because to the jazz music and a strong supporting cast.
12. Logan Lucky
Soderberg’s Logan Lucky is a hillbilly heist picture that follows The Knick’s two brilliant seasons and a decade after the Ocean’s trilogy came to an end. It’s the Logan brothers’ scheme to rob a NASCAR race with the help of Adam Driver’s character, Channing Tatum (Daniel Craig). The starring men’s casting couldn’t have been better. While trying to put the plan into action, Tatum and Driver play good ol’ boys with terrible habits. High-pitched Southern accents, like Benoit LeBlanc from Knives Out, can be heard coming out of Daniel Craig’s mouth. On-screen chemistry and plot are both enhanced by his character as the group’s hard-edged, jailed career criminal. It’s just as charming, funny, and insightful as the Ocean’s films, but without the tuxedos and neon lights. Just as in the Ocean’s series, this fun heist picture mainly suffers from a lack of tension in that the masterminds always feel a step ahead of everyone else. Watching the Logan brothers’ strategy in motion as they hit unanticipated obstacles is still enjoyable.
13. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Throughout the years, the Mission Impossible films have grown in accordance with the standards of action cinema. John Woo and J.J. Abrams, two of the greatest cinema directors of all time, both worked on Brian De Palma’s heist thriller about a floppy disk before Brad Bird (The Incredibles) started the story arc continuing driving the franchise storyline into Mission Impossible 7. A year before the release of Tom Cruise’s Tom Clancy-inspired action series, Jack Reacher, Mission Impossible incorporated everything of the stunts, disguises, gadgets, and stealing that made the Mission Impossible films so popular. The film’s ballistic speed is as high as any action-heist picture on this list, thanks to the action and the comedy. Breaking up the suspense of the undercover break ins with Simon Pegg’s (Shaun Of The Dead) humorous timing, it glides between major set-piece scenes. Fans of heist flicks, action films, espionage films, and other genres will like this well-rounded production, which features an impressive ensemble cast.
14. National Treasure
In the 21st century, “I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence” has become one of the most recognizable sentences of all time. With his almost-clenched-teeth articulation, Nicolas Cage perfectly captures the sensation of astonishment and discovery that was so well depicted in National Treasure. Cage portrays Benjamin Franklin Gates, an explorer and historian whose family is tasked with safeguarding an ancient artifact from the ravages of time. After watching National Treasure, viewers were introduced to a world of hidden societies and secret messages, as well as lost artefacts that had long been forgotten. As the group solves mysteries and puzzles linked to real-life historical events and people, it is exhilarating to be part of the adventure. Newcomers could expect additional intrigue and pleasure after a burglary at the National Archives, where the Declaration of Independence was stolen to confirm hidden hints in the document.
15. No Sudden Move
There will be no sudden movement. Steven Soderbergh is known for his films about heists, but Ocean’s Thirteen is an opposite to that heritage. An all-star cast, including a few of Ocean’s best, tries to influence the course of a patent robbery in the 1950s. They’re not alone. Characters writhe and writhe across the screen as the unusual lens through which the majority of the film is shot distorts their appearances. It appears as if the backgrounds have been drawn on a continuous loop in an old-time animation. From the style and sound to the nonstop backstabbing, this film is apart from Soderbergh’s previous heist movies. Professionals and experts aren’t working together to split a large take, nor are principled-but-bewildered rural boys taking advantage of an opportunity. People on the bottom of the heap have to go through a lot of pain and suffering to get one step ahead, while those at the top of the heap continue to reap the rewards of goodwill and fortune that keeps on coming their way.
16. Now You See Me
Now You See Me has a cast and crew that rivals any other film on this list. In Now You See Me, directed by Louis Leterrier and written by Ed Solomon (No Sudden Movement), Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans, director), and Edward Ricourt (Jessica Jones), the film succeeds. Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson reprise their roles as two of the Four Horsemen, a troupe of magicians who stage bank robberies as a theatrical act. Dave Franco (The Disaster Artist) and Isla Fisher complete the Four Horsemen (Hot Rod). While banks around the world are being persecuted by law enforcement, the Horsemen continue to swoop in and give money. There are multiple Academy Award nominees in the supporting cast of law enforcement officers, insurance reps, and interested parties. It’s clever and visually appealing, and the unpredictability of magic enhances the mystery.
17. Ocean’s 8
A real successor to the Ocean’s tradition, Ocean’s 8 uses wit, humour, and charm as well as knowledge and sophistication in its portrayal of a high-stakes crime syndicate. When Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean (played by Sandra Bullock) decides to steal a six-pound diamond necklace from the neck of Daphne Kluger (played by Anne Hathaway) during the Met Gala, the scheme is both risky and exciting. With a nod to David Holme’s legendary big band orchestrations, Daniel Pemberton’s music for Ocean’s 8 brings new life and vitality to the film. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett shine in every scene they’re in, and the movie is a hoot. Throughout the entire film, Blanchett’s swaggering, stylish Lou steals the show with her attitude and taste. While there are nods to the previous films in the series, the verve, tone, and stunning palette let the film stand out as a unique entry in the series.
18. Ocean’s 11
Ocean’s 11 still ranks as one of the greatest remakes, casts, and heist flicks of all time, more than 20 years after its release. It’s one of the most stylish and exciting movies of the new millennium, thanks to its all-star cast, daring vault break-in, and nonlinear storytelling. Filmmaker Soderbergh’s cinematography and composer Holme’s music keep the b-roll alive throughout the film’s running time. I like it because it was witty without being too silly, polished without being snobbish, and exhilarating with an exclamation point. Everyone in Hollywood’s A-list has a role to play in the scheme to rob a casino owner of more than $120 million without causing any harm. The film’s only flaw is that its characters are so well-versed in their craft that they never feel like they’re in danger of failing. In Ocean’s 12, of course, this plot is thwarted.
19. The Place Beyond the Pines
Even though The Place Beyond the Pines features some of the most thrilling heists ever seen on film, it is a much more complex drama that examines the effects of generational trauma. The story is structured like a television series, beginning with a group of characters and then moving on to their offspring. Blue Valentine filmmaker Derek Cianfrance returned with Ryan Gosling as a stuntman and bank robber on a collision course with a hotshot rookie cop, Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born). These father/son narratives investigate the notion of personal responsibility, treachery, and devotion through the use of romance and corrupt officer side plots. Emory Coen of Lords of Chaos and Dane Dehan from The Cure for Wellness take over the narrative in a temporal shift. After abandoning the heist movie formula, the film’s thematics come together to make one of the most full and explorative movies on our list.
20. Public Enemies
Heat, directed by Michael Man, is one of the most uplifting films of the previous half-century. Since then, visual media productions have drawn inspiration from and ripped off the film’s action, character building, style, and performances. If you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss is about when Johnny Depp revealed that he’d be returning to one of his favorite genres, the heist movie, you’re not alone. Return to the days of the fedora-wearing, cigar-smoking gangsters of the thirties, forties, and fifties with this flick! It is replaced by vivid depictions of infamous outlaws who are on the run from a federal task force led by Melvin Purvis, a special agent (Christian Bale). When trying to achieve a hyper-realistic look at the old-time crime era, Michael Man’s early experimentation with digital cameras on Collateral and Miami Vice paid off. One of the most dynamically lit yet polished digitally recorded films before digital cameras became the industry standard is provided by cinematographer Dante Spinotti, who has worked with Mann on several films, including Heat.
21. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is one of the best Star Wars films ever made, according to any fan of the franchise. Modern special effects and a plot that was hinted at in Episode 4: A New Hope are used to recreate the look and feel of the original trilogy. Those who haven’t seen any of the other films in the series will find this one to be an excellent starting point. Fans who have been following the show for a long time will find this touching and polished. The troops and assassins in the gang are all intriguing, but a few stick out. K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) in particular shines as an expressive and sassy empirical droid reprogrammed to fight its creators. Star Wars’ spiritual side is revived by Donnie Yen’s (Ip Man) Chirrut Imwe, played by Donnie Yen (Ip Man). Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, 2014) found a way to create tension in a story whose ending was spoiled 40 years before the movie was made. He did this, with the help of the writers and actors, by creating endearing characters whom the audience desperately root for despite knowledge of their circumstances.
“I wanted to tell everybody and I couldn’t tell anyone.”