The Top 20 Movie Heists in History

When it comes to the most impressive movie heists that have ever been on film, everybody has their own opinion. Some people really love the older style movies that have that old Hollywood feel and others are far more accustomed to watching newer films that incorporate computer generated graphics and allow the story to go in directions that older movies simply weren’t capable of going, largely because the technology did not exist at the time. One thing is certain, when it comes to movies about some type of heist or robbery, there is certainly no shortage of stories to choose from. In fact, this easily seems to be one of the most popular types of movies in existence. Several of them were made a number of years ago and they’ve only increased in popularity since then.

Why does this type of popularity exist with certain types of movies and not so much with others? The whole point of watching a movie is to allow yourself to be transformed into a different realm of existence. You’re trying to escape your own problems that you have to face one day after another and you want to find a story that will allow you to lose yourself, if only for a couple of hours. These types of movies have all the ingredients to give you exactly what you’re looking for. Most of the time, there’s more than enough action to go around so you’re never bored. The stories are usually exciting enough to hold your attention and more often than not, there is at least one or two interesting subplots.

Some of these movies are the type that allow you to walk into and out of a room without losing your ability to follow what is happening. This is great if you want to go grab something to drink or get more popcorn and you don’t want to pause the movie every time. Others are very intricate in their storytelling and you have to pay attention to every second that goes by or you’ll wind up scratching your head and wondering what you missed. That’s the beauty of movies. There’s really something for everyone and for every mood. If you really need to get your mind off things, choose was one of the more complicated story lines because you won’t be able to think about anything except what you’re watching. Whatever you might choose, movies about some type of heist are almost always a good bet.

Below is a list of 20 movies that are considered by many to be among the best movies about a heist that have ever been made. Obviously, this is not an all-inclusive list, not by any means. The truth is, there are so many movies about heists that you could probably do a top 50 list with relative ease and if you really wanted to pore over the subject a little bit, you could probably bump that list up closer to 100. The problem is, most people would get tired of reading such a list long before they ever got anywhere near the end.

This particular list contains 20 movies about heists that many people consider to be among the best. On a rare occasion, you’ll see one on this list that is more infamous than famous and you can draw your own conclusions. Of course, you might have other movies about the same subject matter that you like better or you might find a new favorite by reading over this list. One thing is certain, you’re bound to find something that you like on here somewhere.

If you’ve been trying to think of a movie that you can watch over the weekend, take a look at the following 20 movies and then grab some popcorn and get comfortable. In reality, there are enough movies on this list to keep you busy for quite some time.

1, Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

This is a movie that a lot of people went to see when it came out. Anytime George Clooney is involved in a project, it seems like it manages to do quite well. This was no exception. Every once in awhile, you’ll run into someone that hasn’t yet seen the movie but that seems to be relatively rare. Even people that don’t typically like movies about heists or robberies went to see this one, largely because of Clooney and the rest of the cast. If you are among the people that haven’t yet seen it, it’s definitely worth giving a try. It centers around Clooney and his group deciding to create an elaborate scheme to rob a casino. If you’ve already seen it, maybe it’s time to watch it again and revisit an old favorite.

2. Three Kings (1999)

This is another George Clooney vehicle but also stars Mark Wahlberg. The film was actually made to be something of a rather dark comedy, but at its core, it is most definitely about a heist. It’s about U.S. soldiers fighting in the war in Iraq. This particular group of soldiers makes the decision that they’re going to steal a bunch of gold and smuggle it back into the United States for their own well-being. Obviously, you can see why this would be a rather dark movie. The truth is, a lot of people that have seen it never really realized it was supposed to be a comedy in any capacity. With that being said, if you want to watch a movie about the darker side of humanity, this just might be the one for you.

3. Die Hard (1988)

Who hasn’t seen Bruce Willis in Die Hard? This is one of the most popular movies in recent history and it airs on TV almost all the time. If you didn’t see it in theaters, there’s a better-than-average chance that you’ve seen it more than once through some other venue. You know when it’s a Bruce Willis movie, it’s going to be action-packed. This one certainly doesn’t disappoint. In fact, Willis plays a cop that single-handedly takes down an entire group of thugs as they plan an elaborate heist. That’s basically all you need to know when it comes to this movie. To say anymore would be to ruin all the fun.

4. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Everybody knows the story of Bonnie and Clyde, as the two went from town to town robbing people and places. This is a movie that tells their story and manages to provide plenty of action to make the story even more riveting. As you can see, this is an older movie that was made during the 1960’s. You won’t see any computer animated graphics in this one, but you will see good, solid movie making at its best. For people that appreciate the way movies used to be, this is one of the best options if you’re looking for a good movie about this particular subject matter.

5. Heat (1998)

This movie stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. You know when you get the two of them together in the same film, it has to be good. The movie definitely delivers, providing some of the best and most action-packed scenes out of any movie on this list. It also provides a good storyline and enough subplots to keep you busy from beginning to end. Obviously, the acting is second to none, as these two stars are able to draw you into the movie and make you feel like you are practically a part of it.

6) Ronin (1998)-

This is another Robert De Niro movie, and it has a little bit of a different feel than many of the other movies on this list. In fact, it is more a story of betrayal than anything else. With that being said, the movie is obviously about a heist or it wouldn’t be on this list. The more important thing to remember is that this is a movie that keeps you guessing. It’s hard to tell who’s really on the side of good and who isn’t in this film. Right about the time you think you have it figured out, you realize that you don’t really have anything figured out at all. It makes it a good option for something that will make you stop and think.

7. Inside Man (2006)

If you like to follow good movies that have outstanding actors as their central characters, look no further than Inside Man. This movie stars Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster and provides some truly interesting plot twists that will keep you glued to the TV until the very last second. If you’re looking for a good, entertaining movie that you can really sit down and enjoy, this is definitely one that should be on your own list of things to watch.

8. The Score (2001)

This is another Robert DeNiro film. You’re probably starting to see a pattern here. After all, this is a genre of film that he has participated in numerous times and as one of the most prolific actors of all time, it only stands to reason that a number of his films would end up here. In this particular installment, he plays an aging criminal that really wants to retire. However, he ends up being dragged back into his old life of crime by someone younger and more willing to take bigger risks. As you can tell, this already makes for a good story and one that you should definitely give a chance.

9. ReFiFi (1955)

This is another older movie that shows up on this list, being made in 1955. It’s unique for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, it is a French film but perhaps even more interesting, it was directed by an American filmmaker that was blackballed from making films in the United States during the Red Scare. The film itself is about a gangster as he gets older and starts to reflect on the choices he’s made. It really is an interesting film and it’s one that’s worth watching if you like films that are just a little bit different and you still want to be entertained.

10. The Town (2010)

The first thing you’re going to notice about this movie is that it features robbers dressed as nuns. What more really needs to be said about this? You know that it’s going to be an interesting film when you put these types of ideas together. Obviously, people have a tendency to trust the individuals that are dressed in the clothing of nuns, making it less likely that these robbers are going to get caught immediately. In addition, there are all kinds of spiritual implications and you can read into it as much as you really care to think about.

11. Inception (2010)

This is easily one of the more disturbing movies on this list, largely because the whole story centers around using mind altering technology in order to get people to give up secrets. If you really stop and think about it, this is a scary subject, to say the least. Imagine someone being able to sneak into your dreams and get you to tell them anything they want to know. That’s unsettling enough in any case, as every person has things that they would far prefer to keep private as opposed to letting everyone else know about. It takes on an entirely different level of creepiness when you think about someone doing this with a person that has military secrets or something similar. In this particular film, they get into people’s dreams in order to get company secrets so they can then steal them. Perhaps the most interesting part of the entire film is when the project gets turned on its ear and they start planting ideas into people’s heads. Instead of stealing their secrets, they simply tell them what they want them to do and then watch them carry out whatever they’ve been told. If this were to ever actually happen, life as everyone knows it would basically come to a screeching halt. That’s really what makes this movie so interesting and so creepy at the same time.

12. The Killing (1956)

This is a movie about the robbery of an elaborate race track. Again, it’s a movie that was made several decades ago so it relies more on solid acting and directing as opposed to upping the ante with computer graphics. For people that really appreciate this type of filmmaking, it’s definitely a movie worth watching. Try not to get hung up on the fact that it was made in the 50s. Even for people that might initially think that it’s too old to be interesting, that assumption would definitely be incorrect. The movie is worth giving a chance. Even if you don’t normally watch movies that weren’t made in the age of computer graphics, you’d be doing yourself a favor if you watch this one.

13. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

This is a movie that stirred up quite a bit of controversy when it was made. Some people love it and others absolutely can’t stand it. For the most part, the controversy has to do with all of the violence that ends up being shown throughout the movie. If you like movies that have a lot of action, a lot of explosions, and a lot of bullets, you’re probably going to like it. If you prefer something that is more well-thought out and requires you to keep up with the pace of the film itself, you may not be as crazy about this particular choice. Again, it all depends on your personal preferences.

14. The Bank Job (2008)

This is a British film about a true story. It chronicles the Baker Street robbery that occurred in London in 1971. This is one of the few films about a heist that actually deals with a true story, so it is automatically something that becomes interesting to anyone that likes this genre of film. Even if you don’t particularly watch a lot of films about heists, yet you like films about some point and time in history, this is a good choice for you because it deals with both. In addition, it is a good film that maintains your level of interest from beginning to end and it does a good job of telling the story

15. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

This is another Al Pacino film. Many people consider it to be standard fare for him, as he has starred in a number of crime dramas that easily fit into the same mold. It is definitely a good film and it tells a solid story. In addition, it’s a throwback to a time during filmmaking when people weren’t afraid to be a little more rough and tumble than they are today. If you enjoy watching older films and you like watching people that can truly take you to a different place when they act, this should be near the top of your list.

16. The Italian Job (2008)

True, this movie is about robbery, but it’s more about revenge than anything else. In the film, the main characters are basically left for dead, yet they survive. Ultimately, they decide that they are going to get revenge on the individual that left them there to die in the first place. This revenge comes in the form of an elaborate robbery. In addition, this movie easily has some of the best stunt driving that has ever existed. It makes it a great action film so whether you are watching for the action or the story, it’s not likely that you’re going to be disappointed here.

17. Thief (1981)

This is an interesting movie about a professional criminal that really wants to go straight. In the film, the character has spent his entire adult life doing things that could have easily gotten him thrown in prison for the rest of his life and he’s making an honest effort to leave that life behind and begin anew. Unfortunately, the mafia finds him and they’re not about to let him go straight. As one of the best safecrackers around, they’re determined that he’s going to do what they want him to and he’s determined to do anything but that. This pits the two against each other and creates a very interesting story that’s worth seeing.

18. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Most people have seen this movie, and the thing is, younger individuals think that this movie was an original release. The truth is, the 1999 version was actually a remake of an earlier 1968 film by the same name. The original film starred Steve McQueen and many people will readily argue that the original is far superior to the remake. If you really want to know which is best, rent both of them on the same weekend and watch them back-to-back. Then, you can decide for yourself which one is worth seeing again.

19. Fast Five (2011)

This movie has turned into a franchise that seems to have a life of its own. It’s nothing short of astonishing when you really stop and think about it. Granted, the movie is about a heist but a lot more time is spent with some fancy stunt driving and a lot of computer-generated graphics that make things look even more outrageous than they are. If that is the type of thing that attracts you to a movie, you’re going to love this one and every one that came after it. If you’re more interested in movies to tell a story and don’t rely on technology to get the attention of the audience, you may not be as impressed by this particular franchise. Nevertheless, it made the list because it is easily one of the most popular films as far as money made at the box office goes. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel, it’s also a movie that a lot of people want to see just because it has some of the most prolific action stars of their time.

20. Point Break (1991)

This is a good movie as far as movies about heists go, as it incorporates the California surf scene into the story. It stars Keanu Reeves and some people really do love the film. Others love to hate it. Regardless of your personal stance on this film, it made the list because it’s gathered something of a cult-like following. If you haven’t seen it, you might want to check it out and see what you think for yourself.


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