The classic heist movie has been a staple genre in Hollywood for decades. A close-knit team of criminals planning to make off with the haul of their lives. Sounds familiar, right?
Yet despite the fact that most modern heist films are all based on this similar premise, that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. There are certainly a few films that stand out from the crowd, not to mention standing the test of time incredibly well. We’ve grouped together three main categories – the bank heist, the casino heist and the gang heist – and selected the most honourable mentions within each. Let’s dive straight in.
The Bank Heist – Reservoir Dogs
A heist movie like no other, it’s easy to forget that Reservoir Dogs was Quentin Tarantino’s first foray into the world of directing. In many ways it set the tone for Tarantino’s reputation as an auteur: unconventional, violent and unique. When you think of the standard heist movie, you think of three main sections: the plan, the execution and the aftermath. Reservoir Dogs almost completely does away with the ‘main’ second section, jumping between the events before and after the heist.
In doing so, we get a completely different take on the characters involved, their motivations and their allegiances. It’s a film where, for the most part, the action takes a back seat to the dialogue. We’re also still hoping for that Vega Brothers movie that’s long been talked about.
The Casino Heist – Ocean’s Eleven
Arguably the film that sparked the entire heist movie trend, Ocean’s Eleven was an immediate sensation upon its release back in 1960. Of course, the younger among us may be more familiar with the 2001 remake, starring the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. The remake stands on its own as a modern classic, transporting us back to the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip. We get a more in-depth look at the way modern casinos operate, specifically the Bellagio, The Mirage and the MGM Grand. It’s hard to find a more thrilling setting than that.
More recently, the legacy of the Ocean’s series has even reached beyond the silver screen into the rapidly evolving world of iGaming, with sites offering a range of heist-inspired games that draw on elements from Ocean’s Eleven, perfect for any film fan looking to get a taste of the casino heist thrill for themselves.
The Gang Heist – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Another debut film from one of the most important British directors of the past few decades, Guy Ritchie. The film helped launch the careers of the likes of Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones, not to mention Ritchie himself. Interesting to think that it might not have been made if it wasn’t for a little help from Tom Cruise.
Loaded with unforgettable characters and a great soundtrack, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels follows the path of a group of young schemers on a mission to repay the £100,000 they lost to an East London card-shark. It’s one of those films that leaves the audience wondering just who will come out on top.
So, there we have it, three top movies from three main genres of heist film. We’d be tempted to say we’ve seen it all, but the evolving nature of the heist movie probably means there’s much more to come.