I’m a sucker for a great heist or bank robbery movie. This week one of my all time favorite films of all time Michael Mann’s Heat turned 20, so in honor of that I have ranked my top 10 favourites in the genre.
You may totally disagree with my list, but these are the movies that I enjoy the most and are crafted the best in my opinion. Let me know your favorites in the comments below.
10. “The Score” (2001)
Frank Oz’s 2001 heist thriller starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando, three acting heavyweights in a really fun flick that slipped under th radar. THe film is about an ageing jewels thief (De Niro) who tries to take down one last score so he can retire into the sunset with his lady (Angela Bassett). Brando’s character Max puts the crabby Nick (De Niro) together with the youthful unruly Jack (Norton), who he reluctantly works with on the job of a lifetime. Twists, Turns and a lot of great dialogue, with brilliantly executed final act, with a killer score from Howard Shore to boot.
9. “Inside Man” (2006)
Denzil Washington and Clive Owen lock horns in Spike Lee’s entertaining bank robbery caper. With excellent back and forth between Washington’s detective and Owen’s robber and with a great supporting turns from Jodie Foster, Christopher Plumber and Chiwetel Ejiofor Inside Man is a worthy entry onto our list. With various misdirections and twists and turns, the film has all the right qualities for a great bank job flick.
8. “Heist” (2001)
Legendary veteran actor Gene Hackman plays Joe a career Jewel thief who is blackmailed into taking down one last big job by crime Boss Mickey (Danny De Vito), who sends his nephew Sam Rockwell to keep watch over proceedings. David Mamet delivers a tense witty film, that focusses on its characters despite some killer plot twists.
7. “The Town” (2010)
Ben Affleck’s second foray into full feature directing proves he isn’t a flash in the pan. An expertly crafted story that focusses on a bank robber, Doug MacRay (Affleck) in Charlestown, Boston and his feelings for a bank manager (Rebecca hall) from one of his earlier heists. Includes an excellent turn from Jeremy Renner and a smartly written film, that has realistic lean, brutal and efficient violence and action.
6. “Inception” (20010)
Christopher Nolan took a break from directing the caped crusader to direct this complex story about breaking into peoples minds to simply plant an idea. This highly lucrative business, is Led by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Cobb, who is tasked with his team into the mind heist of CEO (Cillian murphys). A complex thinking mans blockbuster, with great perfomrances and crazy visuals.
5. “Thief” (1981)
THe first of two Michael Mann films on the list, the lesser known “Thief” stars James Caan as a ex-con jewell thief with dreams of a normal family life who reluctantly agrees to do a job for the mafia. Things star to take a turn for the worse in this superb neo-noir thriller that features a great performance from James Belushi as Caan’s friend and accomplice.
4. “Sexy Beast” (2000)
The first feature from the then TV commercials director Jonathan Glazer, with a stellar cast of Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane and Amanda Redman. Safecracker Gal (Winstone) has retired to Spain with his wife Deedee, when an old colleague from his shady past turns up to persuade him to come along for a lucrative job. The film has very few locations, but what really makes it work are its performances from ALL of the cast, Kingsley as Don logan, gives one of the most menacing, twisted and funny performances ever captured on film.
3. “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975)
Sidney Lumet directs, based on a true story of Sonny (Pacino) who robs a bank to pay for his lovers operation, a media circus ensues as it turns into an hostage situation. Like many of the film’s on the list the performances make the film tick, Pacino is at his best with the excellent late John Cazale as his accomplice, with an Oscar Nominated turn from John Sarandon as Sonny’s pre-transgender partner.
2. “The Italian Job” (1969)
Iconic British crime caper starring Michael Caine as Charlie Croker a gangster just out of prison, who takes over a big job from a friend when he is murdered by the Mafia in the Italian Mafia. Featuring some of the most iconic lines in cinema history and a killer finale where Mini Coopers are used to steel gold.
1. “Heat” (1995)
No surprise with number one on the list, one of my all time favourite movies. Directed by Michael Mann and starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Val Kilmer. Neil (De Niro) and his team of professional bank robbers leave a clue on their last heist and start to feel the ‘heat’ from Vincent (Pacino) an LA PD detective. Featuring one of the greatest shootouts in movie history, a brilliant brutal set-piece where cops and robbers meet on the streets of LA. The film only features one speaking scene with its iconic leads together at the same time, a standout scene where nemesis’s De Niro and Pacino meet for coffee. Great turns from all the cast, with a beautiful, realistic, melancholy feel to proceedings, Heat is a true masterpiece in the crime drama genre.