16 thrilling movies about bank heists

16 thrilling movies about bank heists

Another Hollywood awards season has started and bank heist movies have not gone away with Man on a Ledge, In Time and Tower Heist being released in 2011. With the advent of motion pictures, this true crime topic became a favourite for filmmakers and remains such.

I think it's safe to say that most bank related crime has moved online and that there aren't as many thugs storming bank branches as there used to be. There still are, but just not as many. The swashbuckling days of piracy and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are long gone now. 

And, in what is normally the nasty business of stealing other people's belongings, movie directors re-imagine low-life bank robbers as somewhat loveable rogues taking back what they are owed from people less moral than themselves - like a modern day Robin Hood. These thieving characters are often portrayed as being the noble thief (if such a thing exists), settling an old score or doing the robbery as "one last job" in order to escape the life of crime once and for all.

We may be lead to believe that Hollywood's answer to high fees and interest rates is to simply to rob the banks. They declined to comment. In no particular order, here's 16 of the best movies about bank heists and robberies to watch this weekend.

1. The Bank Job (2008)

The story revolves around Martine (Saffron Burrows) offering Terry (Jason Statham) a lead on an easy bank hit on London's Baker Street. She sets a target of a roomful of safe deposit boxes containing cash and jewellery worth millions. However Terry and his team don't realise that the boxes also contain dirty secrets from high authorities. These secrets lead them into trouble and running from authorities for robbery and obtaining information that could be used against them.

2. Ocean's Twelve (2004)

Daniel Ocean the founder of the group Oceans recruits one more to the team, so he can pull off three major European heists in this sequel to Oceans 11. Fascinating and exhilarating story line as they "rob Peter to pay Rob".

3. The Italian Job (2003)

A group of robbers, formed by Charlie Croker, who creates a cunning plan for the largest traffic jam in Los Angeles history, this gives them time to pull off a huge robbery. Driving their way out of the city and through traffic by sidewalks so they can make a clean get away.

4. Heist (2001)

Heist stars actors Gene Hackman and Danny De Vito. The film revolves around a group of thieves that starts to crumble as the movie progresses. With several twists and a full complement of noteworthy performances, Heist is a well-developed example of a con among cons film.

5. The Silent Partner (1978)

Elliott Gould stars in this clever bank stick up movie from 1978. He's a bank teller held up at gun point in his bank but what ensues is a tense battle of wits to outsmart the criminal.

6. Transporter 3 (2008)

Jason Stratham is Frank Martin, a man known for his driving skills and ability to deliver less than legal items for less than honest people. The high points of this, and every Transporter film, are the action sequences and the excitement. Stratham pulls such scenes off with an irreverence that seems to attract filmgoers.

7. Training Day (2001)

Starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, Training Day contains one of the best performances of both actors' careers. Both were nominated for 2001 Academy Awards as best actor and best supporting actor respectively. Washington won. The contrast and conflict between the two main characters grows throughout the film while both are placed in high-energy situations. In the end, only one can make it through the day alive.

8. Limitless (2011)

Limitless is a heist film in the way that one man uses an artificial intellectual advantage to make himself money in the financial game. This film stars Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro with Cooper giving a performance unlike any other in his career before it. Throughout the film, he transforms from a slacker writer to a high-energy whiz kid using a super drug.

9. Man on a Ledge (2011)

Between picking up a gig as a Terminator and landing the job of a lifetime in Avatar, Sam Worthington is doing pretty well for himself. Man on a Ledge does nothing to bring the caliber of his recent work down. Though stuck out on a ledge for nearly the entire film, he manages to pull the audience into the story and make himself an integral part of everything that is going on, including a major heist he is orchestrating while on the ledge.

10. Flawless (2007)

Flawless, as the name suggests, is a diamond heist film. It stars Michael Caine and Demi Moore. Both of their characters work for the London Diamond Corporation in the 1960s and plan to steal from them. Flawless is more understated than most heist films, with fewer bangs and more development.

11. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a film starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. It is loosely based on the true stories of two outlaws by the same names. The drama, suspense, historic worth and cinematography of this film landed it a spot in the US Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

12. The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight is the most recent Batman film and the last film of Heath Ledger's short career. It features Ledger as the Joker and Christian Bale as Batman. The Joker torments Gotham City and pulls a bank heist at the very beginning of this film. While all around a highly acclaimed movie, The Dark Knight was made unforgettable by the efforts of Heath Ledger, who portrayed a chilling Joker. Sadly, he died while the movie was still in production.

13. In Time (2011)

Singer and actor Justin Timberlake is back in the movies again. This time, he is a man living in a dystopian future where people can stay young forever if they have the means. If they do not, they die at the age of 26. The film's concept is a somewhat new take out the running out of time genre.

14. Inside Man (2006)

Another noteworthy Denzel Washington performance comes with Inside Man, but this film also has Clive Owen and Jodie Foster in the ranks. Inside Man combines the bank heist genre with the hostage genre in a not altogether original way. However, it is made exciting by the cast and filmmakers.

15. Heat (1995)

With the incomparable duo Robert De Niro and Al Pacino starring, nothing went wrong with Heat. In the film, Al Pacino is the police cat and Robert De Niro is the criminal mouse. However, they might as well be tigers in a cage, each lending ferocity to the film that made it what it is today.

16. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Spielberg's 'Catch Me If You Can' isn't strictly a bank heist movie but we included it nonetheless. The true story of Frank Abagnale and his rise from bank fraud extraordinaire went from news headline to a feature film starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. The role of Abagnale netted DiCaprio a Best Actor Golden Globe nomination. The movie's idiosyncratic opening scene is a real treat for lovers of good design.