When we watch movies about robberies, we always put ourselves in the criminals’ shoes and start to see them as heroes. In the real world, we know this isn’t good at all because it’s against the law and we don’t want criminals to get away with it. However, in the movies, it’s a different story because the movies are full of action, adrenaline, and interesting characters who don’t make us think that being on the wrong side of the law might not be so bad.
From Sherlock Holmes to Dirty Harry, there are a lot of action movies about detectives, policemen, and straight men who do everything they can to do good and stop crime. Movies with criminals as the main characters, on the other hand, let us have adventures and feel emotions without having to break the law or risk going to jail.
Even in books, people fell in love with characters like Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, and the thieves who stole in the dark in E.W. Hornung’s books. It didn’t take long for movies to start making criminals and thieves the heroes of the stories.
Why do we like robbery movies (and TV shows) so much? They are pure adrenaline, but they also show us brilliant characters who don’t just steal for the sake of stealing. Instead, they have a plan, goals that seem impossible, and a level of sophistication and elegance that is magnetic and hard to resist. Also, there are a few big robberies that definitely involve some strange things.
The Greatest Robbery and Robbery Movies
The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968
Why do they do it? Steve McQueen plays Thomas Crown, who does it because he wants to, can, and is bored. Thomas is a handsome and daring executive who thinks he has pulled off the perfect heist (Lupin-style) until he meets a mysterious insurance investigator who will do anything to catch him.
It’s a story about robberies, but it’s also not. The movie with Leonardo DiCaprio is about a group that tries to get into people’s dreams to “steal” and get important information. The problem is that it’s hard to get lost in a dream when you’re inside someone’s head, so they come up with a plan to avoid getting stuck in that world.
The Italian Job, 2003
This movie starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron is a remake of a 60s classic. The story is about a group of criminals who plan to rob a bank in Italy to get back at an old friend who betrayed them. To do this, they make a complicated plan to get away with millions of dollars.
This movie is up for 3 Oscars. It stars Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, and Eiza González. Elgort plays a getaway driver who had a bad experience as a child that led him to a life of crime. Now he wants to leave that life behind, but he has to do one last job to win his freedom, which turns out to be a trick and puts him and his girlfriend in danger.
Point Break, 1991
This great movie from the 1990s stars Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. The story is about an FBI agent who has to join a gang of surfer thieves. Once he’s there, though, he starts to like their way of life and wonders which side he should be on.
Ocean’s Eleven, 2001 / Ocean’s Twelve, 2004
Definitely one of the funniest heist movies ever made. In the story, Danny Ocean is a charming thief who puts together a group of experienced thieves to rob three Las Vegas casinos at the same time. Danny’s plan is great, his team is perfect, and the story has some great style moments. Together, they make the perfect team.
Inside Man, 2006
Spike Lee’s film starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, and Jodie Foster, which was probably one of the references to Money Heist, contains the perfect strategy. Here, a detective, a bank robber, and a high-level broker are dragged into negotiations to release hostages captured during a bank robbery, but everything is premeditated from the beginning and capturing the culprits becomes an impossible task.
Band of Outsiders, 1964
The movie The Dreamers with Eva Green was based on this one. Godard’s classic, which stars Anna Karina and Claude Brasseur, is about two criminals who love movies and ask a student to help them rob a bank. One of the most famous parts of the movie is when the three thieves decide to run through the halls of the Louvre Museum. At the time, this was a first.
This movie stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer, and it has one of the best heists ever seen on film. The story is about a group of professional bank robbers who start to be hunted by the police when they leave a clue in their latest heist that leads the police right to their doorstep.
Logan’s Lucky 2017
In this action-packed crime drama, starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, and Riley Keough, two brothers try to pull off a dangerous and high-profile robbery during a NASCAR race in North Carolina by getting rid of a skilled prison thief.
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