Stick ’em up! Heist movies and the inside job

Who doesn’t love a good heist movie?

Not being much of a one for planning, the complex interplay of plan, heist and getaway you find in the genre seems like a regular stroke of genius to me.

Add in the odd feint, a double triple cross and you’ve got my mind whirling like a top. Which is why trying to write one is probably a really bad idea. More on this in the hopefully-not-too-distant future (assuming I’m able to get my brain to play ball).

Heist movies are like magic tricks– I’m forever trying to work out what they’re doing while they do it, but in the end all it takes is a little distraction technique and I’m as clueless as the next man. Which makes it hard work when you’re the guy trying to throw distractions at people.

So. The way I figure it is this: what does every good heist need? What’s the one indispensible element that guarantees you’ll be able to make off with the loot?

A man on the inside.

I’m kind of hoping that the difference between watching a heist in a movie and writing one for the page is that you’re the guy on the inside, you’re the one who sets the plays and plans for the contingencies. You’re not in the dark, in fact, you’re practically Keyser fuckin’ Söze.

I’ll let you know how I get on.


As a postscript, when you ask Twitter a question it always handily replies. And when the question is ‘what’s the best heist movie?’ you’re never short of an answer or two. It seems that I’m not the only fan of heist movies (though this does mean I *am* going to have to abuse my housemate’s LoveFilm subscription to catch up with all these recommendations):

@steverolston I’m rather fond of The Lookout and Reservoir Dogs… and Inception if it counts.

@herdivineshadow Tu£sday

@vivyouell Some heistiness in ‘Once upon a time in the America’ in a sort of 20s prohibition way

@Itsonlypretend reservoir dogs has got to be in there surely?

@MattGarvey1981 the Sting and even though its pretty much the same film I love confidence

@Berwyn77 I would have to say Heat is up there.

@WatchGuardComic The Italian Job (either), Ocean’s Eleven (either)

@McNastyPrime have you seen Heist (from 2001) with Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito?Pure Heisty goodness

@isavedhiphop inception

@youdothatvoodoo Rififi (1955, French) is one of the original and best heist movies. More recently, I recommend Spike Lee’s Inside Man.

@dbronx Two favorites: Heist (2001)-Hackman, Lindo, DeVito; The Score (2001)-DeNiro, Norton, Brando

@ciaranlucas Inside Man, Point Break(sort of), Die hard.

@KennyEvil Not strictly what you’re after but the last episode of Mad Men s3 has that feeling.

@moviedan Inception, Driver, The Getaway, Heat, Reservoir Dogs, um… Probably more. Oh, Sneakers 😉

@rogue_eight Heat’s always a good choice.

@arphilips The Hot Rock.

@TPBPodcast HEAT

@njv2442 The Great Muppet Caper, for sure

@john_j_owens Best heist movies are Heat and Inside Man

@westonfront Jimmy Cagney’s White Heat is a good’un

@itsthatlady that would be inside man. Glad to see someone else likes it. Also: rififi- definitely, love that film.

@Gurroo Inside Man. Loved it. Owen and Denzel W.

@DylanTeague The Inside Man, it’s a good film with some good twists

@westonfront The French are very good at this sort of thing. “The Red Circle” is a great existential heist thriller.

@DylanTeague Rififi’s a good Fench one. The Spike Lee one with Clive Owen is good too.

@LeeGarbett The Die Hard movies could qualify too, right?

@westonfront Dustin Hoffman’s “Straight Time” is an underrated masterpiece of the genre.

@westonfront Dog Day Afternoon

@LeeGarbett assuming you’ve thought of Ocean’s 11, Heat, Res Dogs etc. Dog Day Afternoon is great.

@westonfront Can’t beat the Sterling Hayden diptych of “The Asphalt Jungle” and “The Killing”

@itsthatlady inside man

@Gurroo Sexy Beast count? I love that film.

@Gurroo The Usual Suspects

@LeeGarbett The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Matthau/Shaw version) Kelly’s Heroes

@itsthatlady the thomas crown affair, rene russo version.

@LovelyLee_G umm.. does Kelly’s Heroes count?

@GingerElvis Heat, obviously.

(Thanks to all of the above for their helpful replies and to Andy Diggle for the retweet)


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