The 35 Best Heist Movies

Almost inseparable from the inception of cinema, the heist genre has enraptured audiences for generations, as it offers an escapist appeal to the anti-hero and the outlaw. There is something intrinsically cinematic about heist films, with the best of them moving like a captivating ballet through the intricacies of elaborate schemes to get rich and get away.

Edgar Wright‘s newly released “Baby Driver” offers an homage to the rich history of heist-induced exhilaration (our review). It’s a film that thrives on adrenaline and the inventive use of music that we’ve seen throughout Wright’s filmography. In honor of the picture, we’ve put together a list of our favorite heist films; ones that continue to steal our hearts till this day. And take note, if you’re in Brooklyn, Wright’s put together “Edgar Wright Presents Heist Society” which runs Jun 27—Jul 23 at BAMCinematek. We cover many of the same films, so consider it a great primer before you hit this awesome programming.

READ MORE: Edgar Wright’s ‘Baby Driver’ Is A Thrilling Fast And Furious Fantasia [Review]

The Usual Suspects” (1995)
With enthralling noir elements helping to unravel the mythic tale of Keyser Söze, Bryan Singer’s “The Usual Suspects” breathes crackling cool into a heist turned murderous mystery. Narrated by Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), a minor member of a gang formed by unusual circumstances, he’s interrogated by detective Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri). The seemingly trusting narrator Kint spins an intricate tale, revealing an entangled web created by the criminal mastermind, Keyser Söze. As the story unfolds, riveting layers of lies are unveiled until the final deception is ultimately sprung upon the viewer. What transpires in the film is nothing short of cunning as what we and Kujan are told is not what we see. Conversely, what we witness is not what we have been told. As baffled as Kujan appears, when the twist rears its head, viewers are equally taken aback by this searingly brilliant thriller with one of the best, most unforeseen twists in movie history. With a labyrinthine plot and ingenious use of narration, “The Usual Suspects” is the greatest trick the devil had ever pulled on audiences.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)
A sly, criminal western flick that hinges almost entirely on the strength of two performances by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, eschews darker undertones and grittiness for whimsical simplicity alongside a touch of sepia. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” signified a breath of fresh air to the burgeoning western genre that grew grim at the dawn of a new violent revolution of the film. The titular outlaws do not take themselves seriously enough to fit the Spaghetti Western archetype, rather, they made themselves at home as death-defying scoundrels looking for thrills. Newman as Butch and Redford as Sundance are a lively pair, embodying one of the most memorable on-camera duos with neither of them giving a damn about a thing. With these enthralling anti-heroes, bank robberies, high-speed chases, and some fantastic shootouts are a whole lot of fun.

Jackie Brown” (1997)
“Jackie Brown” is Quentin Tarantino’s most focused, character-driven project to date. The director’s third full-length feature is a stark deviation from his frantic predecessors, with a lighter more leisurely mood compared to the more hectic and violent “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction.” As such, “Jackie Brown” was heavily scrutinized by his die-hard fans for straying from the chaotic realm of his other films and choosing to lean back rather than providing edge of your seat thrills. The end result is an enjoyable but more somber picture, fuelled by little conversation and a stubbornly still camera, as we come to understand the pain of Max and Jackie, and their desire to escape their circumstances. “Jackie Brown” is shrouded in mystery, but instilled with hope for a better life.