According to bank heist movies, you need a pistol, a duffel bag, a getaway car, and a creative disguise to pull off the perfect heist. However, the heist’s success or failure typically depends more on the team chemistry and the plan itself than on the tools of the trade. The bank robbery movies that deviate from the model are the most fascinating. Analyzing popular bank robbery films from the previous century reveals that they differ significantly in style and structure, from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where the robbers escaped on horses, to Wisdom, where the Robin Hood-like bandits prefer to erase people’s debt records to taking their money.
Movies about bank heists have captivated audiences’ full attention for decades and appear to have no end in sight. In the event of a tense but successful caper, audiences can’t resist the opportunity to analyze what went wrong and entertain ideas for how they might have handled it better. In the case of a failure, audiences can’t resist the chance to analyze what went wrong. We made an effort to keep the emphasis on heist films that take place in banks, even if there are many more heist films that undoubtedly deserve praise but are not on our list. The top 10 bank heist films are listed below.
1: Heat (1995)
In Michael Mann’s three-hour movie, two legendary actors—Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro—join forces. Heat digs deeply into the criminal underground via the eyes of top-tier thief Neil McCauley (DeNiro), who is being chased by Lieutenant Vincent Harris (Pacino) with ruthless intensity. This isn’t just your standard smash-and-grab thriller. While McCauley struggles to find love while working on a plan, the police officer’s obsession with locating the master thief progressively weakens his personal life.
When the two unintentionally cross paths in a coffee shop and discover they have far more in common than they would want to acknowledge, everything comes to a head. The dramatic performances by DeNiro and Pacino are outstanding, and the film’s directing and action choreography is among the greatest ever. Heat is not only one of the finest heist films ever filmed but also one of the most realistic since Val Kilmer used a military quick reload with 100% accuracy, earning praise from the American army in the process.
2: The Town (2010)
Ben Affleck’s The Town, an unexpected blockbuster, may be his finest achievement. Affleck portrays Doug, a failed hockey player who reluctantly becomes a bank robber, as he makes a comeback to Boston. Affleck becomes smitten with the bank teller he holds at gunpoint when a bank heist goes wrong. The traditional “one last job” attitude causes an internal struggle between choosing a good road and leading a life of crime.
The Town is a stark and gritty story of redemption, strife, and bloodshed while not being wholly innovative. Affleck does well in front of the camera, but Jeremy Renner gives a heartbreaking and fantastic performance as Doug’s insane pal Jem.
3: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Even though it isn’t about a bank robbery, Ocean’s Eleven, a replica of the legendary Rat Pack movie, is one of the greatest heist movies ever made. The film follows the slick conman Danny Ocean (Clooney) as he tries to con casino owner Tony Benedict (Garcia) out of $160 million. The only issue is that Benedict is romantically involved with Ocean’s ex-wife. You can make one of the finest heist films by adding Bernie Mac for laughs, Don Cheadle’s dubious British accent and roughly 50 sequences of Brad Pitt eating.
4: The Usual Suspects (1995)
One of Spacey’s most outstanding performances, this mind-bending story of betrayal led to a 1995 Oscar nomination for him. The theft of a $91 million shipment of cocaine by a crew of misfit professional criminals seems like the ideal crime. However, things get a bit out of hand when the group discovers that the man they unwittingly stole from is Keyser Söze, the most infamous thief in the world. As he eliminates them one by one slowly, Söze confirms the rumors that he is a criminal leader who should not be trifled with.
The classic climax of The Usual Suspects may be the part of the movie that people remember the most, but the early scenes are a master class in filmmaking.
Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Willis play two unusual allies in crime in the movie Bandits. They simplify the process of robbing banks by confronting the bank managers in their homes, staying the night there, and entering the bank the next morning with their targets. Terry Lee Conner and Joseph Daugherty, two actual bank robbers, served as the inspiration for the movie. Because of the fantastic chemistry and humorous timing of the three main actors, Bandits is one of the finest bank robbery films.
6: The Bank Job
Terry Leather and Martine Love, played by Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows, organize a heist on London’s Baker Street, targeting a room full of safe deposit boxes overflowing with valuables. The Bank Job is one of the finest bank robbery movies of all time because it is inspired by the real-life Baker Street theft in 1971 when the criminals hired a nearby store and tunneled 40 feet to the bank. The stolen products have never been found to this day.
7: The Italian Job (2003)
Edward Norton is back to his slick best in The Italian Job, another fantastic adaptation of a classic heist movie, playing the robber who betrays his team to take $30 million in solid gold before throwing them to a watery fate. Mark Wahlberg, who is, as Transformers showed us, practically unstoppable, is one of those individuals, which is unfortunate for Norton.
The team escapes in three Mini Coopers after devising a scheme to seek retribution and steal back their valuable treasure. The Italian Job excels in balancing humor and absurdity, making it one of the best heist films ever made.
8: Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Gone in 60 Seconds has all the ingredients to become one of the greatest heist films ever made while not a movie about a bank robbery specifically. Memphis Raines (Cage), a retired master vehicle thief, is given the difficult task of robbing 50 vehicles in one night when he is called back to finish a job started by his younger brother Kip.
If he doesn’t finish it, Kip will be killed by the ruthless criminal boss Raymond Calitri, played by Christopher Eccleston, a former Dr. Who. As with any excellent heist film, there is an unneeded montage showing Raines reuniting the old crew, which includes a dreadlocked Angelina Jolie and a mute Vinnie Jones. Nicholas Cage in all his scream-whisper brilliance.
9: Logan Lucky (2017)
Jimmy (Tatum), a divorced laborer who is down on his luck, loses his Job, risking his bond with his daughter. Jimmy joins the aid of his amputee, war veteran brother Clyde for a one-time theft that would provide for their needs rather than just accepting the current circumstances. Even better, the two would-be robbers consult the only person they know who has any experience robbing a bank: the loud-mouthed, tattooed redneck Joe Bang, who, rather unexpectedly, is portrayed by James Bond star Daniel Craig. This one is indeed fanciful, but it’s still a lot of fun and one of the finest heist movies this decade.
10: Fast Five (2011)
It’s fascinating to see how, over the past 20 years, the Fast & Furious franchise has changed. With the release of Fast Five in 2011, the series abruptly changed from what had initially been a loosely based movie about modified automobiles. In the movie, FBI agent Brian (Walker) once more does a lousy job of upholding the law.
Instead, he decides to partner up with fellow government agent Hobbs (Johnson) in his mission to exact revenge on the Brazilian drug lord who killed his squad. Taking $100 million from the drug lord’s safe is part of the bizarre plot; this sum would be sufficient to fund the Fast and Furious team’s new beginning. Even though it’s not one of the finest heist movies, Fast Five makes up for its weak plot with a tonne of incredible car chases and fight scenes.