The Best Heist Movies of All Time, Ranked for Filmmakers - Featured

The heist film has evolved over the decades, taking on many forms and styles. From sleek and chic to rough and gritty, filmmakers have taken the heist movie in every direction. The best of which have perfected the criminal ensemble, the intricate heist executions, or have taken the heist narrative into completely unique and innovative directions. What directions might that be? We’ve compiled a list of the best heist films of all time to find out.

Best new heist movies

25. American Animals (2018)

Americaan Animals  •  Cast & Story Featurettes

Based on the unbelievable true story of four young men who attempt one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history, American Animals delivers thrills, suspense, and humor in a way that is closer to reality than most heist movies.

The realism works both for and against it. It creates relatable and sympathetic characters in a wild scenario that unfolds before our eyes. But it also lacks the spectacle of the fictional, grand heist blockbusters.

Top heist movies based on a true story

Conclusion

American Animals unfolds closer to reality than most heist movies that claim the “based on a true story” stamp.

Great heist movies

24. Baby Driver (2017)

Edgar Wright’s top heist movies  •  Baby Driver

The film's director of photography describes Baby Driver as a “postmodern musical,” saying, "there's not singing and dancing in the street but the world acts to music." This is a perfect way to describe the rhythmic pacing that director Edgar Wright creates in all his work.

This time, he combines it with gripping car chase scenes, a standout cast, and witty banter that makes it a uniquely humorous and entertaining watch.

Top heist movies by Edgar Wright

Conclusion

Edgar Wright creates a rhythm in Baby Driver that makes it so engaging. While it may lack the traditional heist intensity and suspense, it operates on a level of fun that is undeniable.

The best heist movies of all time

23. Logan Lucky (2017)

Logan Lucky  •  Trailer

Steven Soderbergh broke out of retirement to direct Logan Luckya complex, high-octane heist film about two brothers assembling a team to rob the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Soderbergh assembles the perfect cast in this wildly fun, yet complex story. Full of eccentric characters and witty dialogue scenes, Logan Lucky ranks among Steven Soderbergh’s best movies and proves he still has what it takes to entertain audiences in theaters everywhere.

Steven Soderbergh’s best new heist movies

Conclusion

The brilliant performances of Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, and Adam Driver make Logan Lucky a charmingly clever and surprisingly stylish heist movie.

Best hollywood heist movies

22. The Town (2010)

Behind the scenes of the best heist movies of all time  •  The Town

Working both sides of the camera, Ben Affleck stars and directs The Towna Boston heist film filled with memorable characters, a pressing detective, and a twisted love story that actually landed on our most romantic movies list!

Affleck proves that he can still operate at a high caliber despite some previous busts. But really it’s Jeremy Renner who steals the show as Affleck’s brother and the film’s loose cannon.

Great heist movies with Ben Affleck

Conclusion

Affleck’s The Town radiates with Boston authenticity and does not shy away from the action, balancing both the internal and external conflict in its storytelling.

Top heist movies of the 80s

21. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

A Fish Called Wanda  •  Apology Scene

A Fish Called Wanda is a clever comedy with the guise of a jewel heist movie plot. Kevin Cline’s Oscar-winning performance will leave you in stitches. This witty screenplay follows four hilarious characters who team up to commit a robbery, but when they begin to double cross each other, the comedy ensues. 

The hilarious cast is what makes A Fish Called Wanda one of the few funny heist movies that manages to be hilarious, even decades later.

Comedy heist movies

Conclusion

A Fish Called Wanda combines a perfect cast with the wit of English comedy for one of the most hilarious heist movies.

Top heist movies list

20. The Italian Job (2003)

The Italian Job  •  Driving School

This modern take on the 1969 film The Italian Job attempts to fill its predecessors shoes by matching its star-studded cast, redemption, and plenty of Mini-Coopers. While it fails to take any risks to make its plot or characters more engaging, it is nonetheless a fun watch, filled with entertaining chase scenes performed by the cast themselves.

Great heist movies that are remakes

Conclusion

The Italian Job plays it safe with its screenplay, but is carried by its stellar cast and fun stunt scenes.

The best bank heist movies of all time

19. Fast Five (2011)

On-Set Footage  •  Fast Five

Fast Five completely revamps the Fast and Furious franchise with the introduction of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and a new heist plot line. These new movie elements took the franchise from a rather redundant street racing series to a world of crime, thrill and entertainment.

It’s also worth mentioning that Vin Diesel and The Rock face off in an epic fist fight you thought would never happen which makes the film one of the best action heist movies of all time.

Top heist movies of the Fast and Furious franchise

Conclusion

Fast Five is a turning point for the franchise and delivers in a whole new and fun way that its predecessors did not.

Best new heist movies

18. Hell or High Water (2016)

Gas Station Fight  •  Hell or High Water

From the writer of Sicario and Wind River, Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water combines the atmosphere and themes of a Neo-Western with action of a bank robbery film in a compelling way.

Following two brothers trying to save their family ranch by mustering up money anyway they can. The film plays with themes and characters we’ve seen before, but presents them in a new and exhilarating way.

Great heist movies of the modern westerns

Conclusion

Hell or High Water brilliantly balances the best of Neo-Western genre tropes and characters within a context that is adapted to the modern world.

The best heist movies of all time

17. Bottle Rocket (1996)

What Wes Anderson's First Film Teaches Us About His Style

Wes Anderson’s first film, Bottle Rocket, may look different from his now famous stylized aesthetic, but it still feels like a Wes Anderson film. Co-written with Owen Wilson, Bottle Rocket combines naiveté with the wit and humor we would come to expect from this auteur director

It also makes for a unique take on a crime film. Although it doesn't land high on the list of Wes Anderson’s best films, it is a great way to see the inception of Anderson’s style.

Great heist movies from Wes Anderson

Conclusion

If you enjoy the auteurism of Wes Anderson and his work, Bottle Rocket  is a great watch for both its story and seeds of Anderson’s directing style.

Female heist movies

16. Jackie Brown (1997)

Berlinale Press Conference Jackie Brown 1998

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Jackie Brown is Quentin Tarantino’s most underrated film. Likely due to the fact that it is the least characteristic to Tarantino’s directing style. However, this is actually what works for the film.

It limits any overt stylistic direction and allows the performances of Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert De Niro to take center stage. The result is a well-crafted screenplay that is executed brilliantly by the cast.

Quentin Tarantino’s best heist films

Conclusion

Jackie Brown is one of those films that, when you first see it, you wonder why you haven’t given it a watch all these years. It’s the underdog that ranks among the top of Tarantino’s best films.

Diamond heist movies

15. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

The Thomas Crown Affair  •  Like Ice Scene

While many rank the 1999 take on The Thomas Crown Affair among the best crime movies, we think it is appropriate to pay homage to the original for establishing the cleverness and coolness of the film despite the differences in plot. Steve McQueen is “like ice” and remains a presence on screen over 50 years later.

Best heist films with Steve McQueen

Conclusion

Cool, calm, and composed, The Thomas Crown Affair appears to be sleek and chic, but is not afraid to get its hands dirty with a clever heist plot.

The best heist movies of all time

14. Inside Man (2006)

Inside Man  •  Shoot Me Scene

Although Spike Lee is known for his auteurist style, his restraint in directing Inside Man proves to work for the story. This gripping tale of bank robbers, a police detective, and a high-power broker took screenwriter Russell Gewirtz five years to write.

Patience paid off when it landed in the hands of Spike Lee. The film is reinforced with outstanding performances by Denzel Washington, Willem Dafoe, and Jodie Foster and lands among the top ten of Spike Lee’s best movies.

Spike Lee’s best heist films

Conclusion

While Inside Man lacks the distinct style of Spike Lee we all love, it allows the suspense and thrill to take center stage.

Best heist films list

13. The Bank Job (2008)

Making of the Bank Job

This British heist movie matches a classic style with an underdog sentiment. The movie is full of strong dialogue scenes and compelling characters that focus more on the sport of thievery rather than the grand spectacle. It’s '70s aesthetic and production design is the perfect backdrop for the rough, old school tone of the film.

Great heist films from the U.K.

Conclusion

The Bank Job is gritty and rough and functions uniquely as a contrast to other clean cut heist movies.

Best heist films of the 90s

12. Point Break (1991)

Point Break  •  Chase Scene

Despite the feeble attempt to recreate the film in 2015, Point Break still remains one of the more classic heist films to this day. Katheryn Bigelow directs a glorious cast including Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, and Gary Busey in a story of an F.B.I. agent who goes undercover to investigate a group of bank robbers.

Best undercover bank heist movies

Conclusion

Point Break’s combination of memorable robbery scenes, undercover suspense, and high energy make for a classic heist movie...with surfing!

Best casted bank heist movies

11. Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Ocean's Eleven  •  30 Behind the Scenes Facts

While many were skeptical about a remake of the original, Ocean’s Eleven exceeded all expectations. The screen presence of The Rat Pack is matched by the remake's star-studded cast, including Clooney, Pitt, and Damon. Director Steven Soderbergh draws on past heist movies to create one of the most iconic heist films of the modern era.

Great heist movies from Steven Soderbergh

Conclusion

Ocean’s Eleven is humorous, slick, intricate, and clever in a way that makes it a quintessential Hollywood commercial heist film as well as one of Steven Soderbergh’s best films to date.

10 best heist movies

10. The Sting (1973)

World's Easiest Five Grand Scene  •  The Sting

After the world saw the magic of putting Paul Newman and Robert Redford on the same screen in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, audiences were ready to see the two back in action.

Luckily, The Sting delivered on all fronts. Following the clever trickery of two con artists and the ultimate heist, The Sting became the first Universal Studios film to win the Best Picture Oscar since All Quiet on the Western Front in 1930.

Best Hollywood heist movies of the 70s

Conclusion

The Sting capitalizes on the ensemble of Redford, Newman and director George Roy Hill with a comedic tone, but finds its own voice in its complexity and trickery.

Action heist movies

9. The Italian Job (1969)

The Italian Job  •  Trailer

It would be a shame to mention the remake of The Italian Job without mentioning the original 1969 film on this list. The vintage British style and humor of the film is something that it will forever hold over the remake. Not to mention the quite literal cliffhanger ending will leave you wanting to see more of the film’s characters far after the credits roll.

The original best heist films

Conclusion

The original Italian Job is a joy ride that functions on charming characters and a story that stands the test of time.

The best heist movies of all time

8. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Dog Day Afternoon  •  Scene Comparisons

Based on the true 1972 event, Dog Day Afternoon finds Sonny (Al Pacino) robbing a bank to pay for his lover's operation. What ensues is a media circus and hostage situation that, in reality, became an event that police departments later used in training officers how to handle hostage situations. As wildly outrageous as the film is, it boldly and respectively attempts to stick as close to the real story as possible.

Good heist movies based on a true story

Conclusion

Al Pacino delivers an incredible performance in an honest and engaging film that is stranger than fiction.

Top 10 best heist movies

7. The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Usual Suspects  •  You Think You Know Movies?

Who is Keyzer Soze? The Usual Suspects uses a non-linear structure and a star-studded cast to answer this burning question. Without giving too much away, the film follows the interrogation of the sole survivor of an elaborate heist, full of trickery and question marks.

Action heist movies

Conclusion

The Usual Suspects uses the non-linear structure to tell a gripping story with one of the biggest twists in all of cinema.

The best heist movies of all time

6. Heat (1995)

Heat  •  The Perfect Blend of Realism and Style

The title of the film perfectly and concisely describes its intensity and suspense as it follows a group of professional bank robbers who are on the verge of losing it all. With powerhouse performances from Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, and Al Pacino, the film plays on the classic cops and robbers dynamic with a modern tone that exceeds all expectations.

The best heist movie list

Conclusion

It is hard to resist seeing a movie with both Pacino and DeNiro, but the two heavyweight actors are backed by a clever script and masterful direction by Michael Mann.

Good non-linear heist movies

5. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Has Reservoir Dogs Aged Well?

Quentin Tarantino’s first film, Reservoir Dogs, still holds a flame over 25 years later. Why? It provided a fresh take in a genre full of stereotypes, tropes, and cliches.

The film, with elements of a classic heist film, focuses on what other movies of the genre do not. The non-linear structure of the film opens up on the aftermath of the heist and Tarantino keeps us engaged fully through as we as the audience actively pieces the story together.

The best heist movies of all time from Quentin Tarantino

Conclusion

This debut film is anticipatory of the heights to be reached with Tarantino's best films, but nonetheless brings a fresh and unique take to the crime genre.

The best heist movies of all time

4. Inception (2010)

Inception Hallway Dream Fight  •  Art of the Scene

Although Christopher Nolan dipped his toes into the heist genre with the opening scene of The Dark Knight, it wasn't until Inception that we found out where Nolan could take a heist film.

The result is one of Nolan’s best movies and one of the most original heist films ever. Although the point of the heist is not money, gold, or jewels, the team executes a robbery nonetheless with an ending that has left audiences and theorists scouring the internet for answers.

Christopher Nolan’s best heist films

Conclusion

Nolan combines the elements of a great heist film with the awe and wonder of science fiction to produce a masterpiece.

The best heist movies of all time

3. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

A Getaway Driver Scene  •  Bonnie and Clyde

This stand out film of American cinema follows the real life story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, a criminal couple who led a gang of bank robbers and outlaws during the Great Depression.

The film showcased violence and shootouts that marked the beginnings of New Hollywood. The film operates with a sense of naturalism that capitalizes on the true, dangerous nature of crime.

Top heist movies based on a true story

Conclusion

Bonnie and Clyde stunned Hollywood and set the precedent for films to come, proving that shootouts and violence, within the context of a great story, can draw crowds at the theatre.

Best diamond heist movies

2. Rififi (1955)

Top 10 Movie Heists Of All Time

The gripping suspense of Rififi unfolds in a thirty-minute scene without dialogue or music. The beginning of the film has influenced many of its successors in the crime genre. It sets up both the reward and risks before the intense thirty-minute-long heist scene.

While many modern thrillers and horror films utilizes sound design to immerse the audience into the suspense of a scene, Rififi was one of the first to implement it in such an intense way. It’s ingenuity in its use of sound as a device to create suspense as well as its well-structured screenplay made it Cinefix’s number one best heist movie.

10 best heist movies of all time

Conclusion

Rififi builds on each act of its story, slowly planting seeds that grow into the iconic and masterfully suspenseful heist scene.

The best heist movies of all time

1. The Killing (1956)

5 Directors Influenced by Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing

Before they were genre cliches and tropes to avoid, many of the heist film elements were mere ideas in the wild imagination of a 27-year-old Stanley Kubrick. To understand the ingenuity of Kubrick’s The Killingyou must first recognize the plethora of movies it has influenced.

The non-linear structure of the killing has been said to inspire the works of Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. The hiding of a gun in a gift or box has been used in films like Dog Day Afternoon and The GodfatherCritics have also pointed out the influence of the film on Ocean's Eleven, The Dark Knight, and Logan Lucky. The Killing has stood the test of time among Kubrick’s best films and as one of the best heist movies of all time.

Stanley Kubrick’s best heist movies of all time

Conclusion

The Killing was merely Kubrick’s third feature film and his first remarkable one. Kubrick flexes his ingenuity and control over story in the best heist film of all time.

UP NEXT

Best Crime Movies of All Time, Ranked

While the best heist movies of all time function on their own unique tropes and genre characteristics, they exist within a larger genre all together. The crime genre has resulted in some of the best and most gripping movies ever produced. Check out our list of the best crime movies of all time.

Up Next: Best Crime Movies →
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