Lists, Top 5s — August 12, 2011 at 3:03 am



30 Minutes or Less, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari, hits theaters today. The film features Eisenberg as a guy who is kidnapped, has a bomb strapped to his chest and is forced to rob a bank in order to save his life. That got me thinking about how I would go about robbing a bank if I was in a similar situation. As with everything else in life, I learn all my lessons from films. So, I thought we should look at some of the best movie heists to take place on celluloid.

Now remember, these are not the best films with bank heists in them. These are the best heists to take place within a film. Here’s what I got…


LITTLE KNOWN FACT: The first teaser trailer for the first Spiderman film featured footage of a bank heist where the criminals escape in a helicopter only to end up stuck in a web flung between the twin towers. When September 11th happened, the trailer was pulled and the scene was cut. It was an awesome trailer but only gets an honorable mention since I never saw the entire scene.


Probably my favorite film on the list but the weakest of the group as far as bank heists go. However, it did a great job of setting up The Joker character and shows just how calculating the villain is… getting exactly what he wants and taking out each of his fellow robbers in the process.


This is certainly the rock-n-roll pick! The president masks give it a nice charm and Swayze is da bomb as Bodie, yo. Who knew a movie with Gary Busey featured in a major role could be so damn good?


I wish Jason Statham did more movies like this. This is actually a nice little action/drama. If I had to pick a (movie) method for robbing a bank, this is for sure the one I would go with… tunnelling in from an abandoned store located adjacent over a long holiday weekend so you can go through each and every safe deposit box… priceless!


This is a great Spike Lee joint… who knew there was such a thing… DON’T FUCK UP OLDBOY! Ahem, sorry. I think this is one of the most clever bank heists in movie history. I only have two questions. Why didn’t everyone involved hideout behind the fake wall instead of risking getting caught coming out with the hostages? And how did no one notice that the office supply room had gotten five feet smaller? Sorry, this is Dylan’s influence on my movie watching.

1. HEAT.

Everybody knows I have a sweet Blu-Ray and flat screen combo. What everyone doesn’t know is that I’m not a big surround sound guy. I don’t do any of that. About ten years back though, a friend of mine said I had to watch the Heat bank robbery and subsequent shootout accompanied by his surround sound. I have to say, it was AMAZING! One of my favorite movie scenes and easily the greatest bank heist getaways of all time.

So, what did I forget?


  • While I know there are many ways of judging what makes a bank heist great, I think Dog Day Afternoon earns some brownie points for longevity and the greatest Al Pacino subplot of all time.

  • Great list. Not a good submission, but the first thing that came to mind was the Oceans gang taking down a casino called The Bank in Oceans 13. Matt Damon with the big nose getting tough with Barkin, Don Cheadle in the stuntman suit, the Fox coming out of the wall grabbing the fake jewels and flying away like a dick.

  • No Oceans movie on this list? Not even an honorable mention? And “The Bank Job”? Ick. I’d probably replace Bank Job with a little known gem called Stark Raving Mad.

    I overall do not approve of this list! Sorry!

  • Knowing your dislike of anything much older than you, I’m pretty confident in guessing that you’ve never seen a little 1950 film called Gun Crazy that has one of the most interesting heists ever filmed. We don’t see the heist, but the decoy outside the bank whose job is to distract the local cop. It’s all done in one take from the interior of the getaway car and most of the dialog is ad libbed. Frikkin’ brilliant.

  • A lighter bank heist I love is when the trio of dim escaped convicts gets caught up with Baby Face Nelson in O Brother, Where Art Thou? Funny stuff.

  • Well, there is absolutely no way a list of this kind doesn’t have Heat at the #1 spot so you got that covered. Good call on Inside Man, a pretty underrated film IMO.

  • Nice list. I also like the simplicity of Clooney’s bank heist at the start of Out of Sight. He’s cool and collected and doesn’t need a gun or any help. The other great heist films that I can remember don’t involve a bank, so those are disqualified from your list.

  • How about:

    Ocean’s Eleven (2000)
    The Killing
    Dog Day Afternoon

    and I’m sure I’ve left some out anyways.

  • I feel like a lot of people are throwing out heist films and not specifically BANK heist films. Im being AnalFest 2011. Wasnt the Killing a horse track?

  • Great list, good to see Inside Man, a very underrated film in my opinion.

    And Heat is great, definitely one of my favourites as well.

    It’s actually hard to think of more Bank Heist films, I can think of many jewellery store ones though, such as Reservoir Dogs, A Fish Called Wanda, Le Cercle Rouge etc…

    Also, The Town had a pretty good bank heist scene.

  • Love the list overall, Kaiderman. You know I’d have Point Break on mine, and I’m glad to see that my influence is rubbing off on you. 😉

    The only one I might take issue with is The Bank Job. It was an ok flick, but I really wanted to like it more. Bland.

    I’m not saying this should make anyone’s top five, but I just thought of a fun bank heist that I’d imagine most have long since forgotten: Buscemi and McGregor in Big Fish.

    • They rob a bank in Big Fish? I forget that part.
      The Bank Job makes the list for the heist itself which is actually kind of brilliant. I agree on the film though.
      I want Statham a to do more like this and The Mechanic but then also want those films to be just a bit better!

      • RE Big Fish – yea! What’s so great about it is that McGregor wasn’t even planning on being involved, but he’s in the bank, runs into Norther Winslow and – BAM – they’re robbing it together.

        Good point on Bank Job, and Statham in general. We were spoiled with two of his first films being his best (the Ritchie’s).

  • Nice list, I especially like “Inside Man.” Maybe I’m missing something, but why are so many people suggesting “Ocean’s 11”? This is a bank heist list guys, Ocean’s didn’t rob a bank. This is coming from a guy who has “Ocean’s 11” in his top 20 movies of all time list too, so normally I’m biased in its favor.

  • @Just about everyone: First off, these are bank heists, not just heists. Second, they are rated not on the movie but the coolness of the heist itself. So, I love Dog Day and think it’s the best Pacino performance ever but it goes horribly wrong so I can’t count it!
    “Now remember, these are not the best films with bank heists in them. These are the best heists to take place within a film.”
    Just to clarify guys. I like all the films you’re throwing out but we’re judging on heist alone.

    • Indeed, good sir! And in that case, I’d still rank Inside Man over Heat (sorry “Heat” lovers!). Heat’s a great film and all, but I think Inside Man has a more awesome and brilliant heist.

      And you should definitely check out Stark Raving Mad. It has Seann William Scott in a more serious role (it’s more of a dark comedy), and the heist itself it pretty cool.

      OH! And what about Fast Five?! I just thought of that one. I guess they’re in a police station, but they’re like… bank VAULTS. Does that count?

  • It’s hard to go with anything other than Heat. Since it’s Bank Heists, I cant think of any sequences I’d put above the ones you’ve got. To be honest, I haven’t seen that many heist movies.

    I do think Rififi has a good heist scene, but it’s a jewelry heist, not a bank heist.

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