When it comes to crowdpleasers, it’s hard to beat a great bank robbery movie.
Let’s face it: Each of us, at some point or another, has fantasized about getting rich quick. Everyone wants the American dream— but what if there was a way to get it in one night?
Thrilling action scenes and heart-stopping suspense are at the heart of the best heist movies. But with so many Hollywood movies out there, how do you know which ones are the best?
In this post (in no particular order), we’ll list our pick for the seven best bank robbery movies. How many of them have you seen?
1. Point Break
It’s hard to beat the over-the-top action of 1991’s cult classic, Point Break.
Starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, the story follows an FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of bank robbers. Far from ordinary, the gang goes by the name “The Ex-Presidents” because they wear masks of former US presidents during each heist.
What makes this bank robbery movie unique is the epic big wave surfing and skydiving scenes between robberies. For all you adrenaline junkies out there, Point Break delivers big-time.
2. The Bank Job
Okay, so it’s not the most original name for a heist movie. But what 2008’s The Bank Job lacks in original titling, it makes up for with an interesting plot.
Based on a real event in 1971, a group of thieves (led by Jason Statham) break into a vault and steal the contents of dozens of safety deposit boxes. The fascinating part is that it disappeared from the news within a week, prompting all sorts of conspiracy theories.
In the film’s version, the main character finds naughty blackmail photos of the Royal Family. As a result, he’s simultaneously pursued by the Secret Service and the mob.
What really happened back in 1971? Watch the movie and decide for yourself.
3. Ocean’s 11
Witty and fun with an all-star cast, 2001’s Ocean’s 11 is one of the best heist movies ever produced.
Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon lead a brilliant and hilarious team to rob a Vegas casino of a cool $160,000,000. Just for fun, throw in a demolition expert, a crotchety old blackjack dealer, and a love triangle with the beautiful Julia Roberts.
The result? The ultimate feel-good heist movie, complete with an ending sequence by the Bellagio’s dancing fountain. It’ll make you believe anything is possible.
4. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
For a heist movie with an old-fashioned western twist, check out 1969’s classic hit, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Any movie starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman is bound to be fantastic, and it is. Set in Wyoming in the early 1900s (long before the likes of First Premier Bank), the story follows a band of train robbers across the wild west.
When their latest heist goes wrong, they have to run for their lives–all the way to Bolivia! The result is heart-stopping suspense and one of the greatest gunfight scenes of all time.
If you love cat-and-mouse stories, you’ll love the fast-paced and fascinating storyline of 1995’s Heat.
The film stars Al Pacino as an LAPD detective tracking down a professional thief (Robert De Niro) on his last big heist. With $12.2 million at stake, De Niro’s crew goes ahead with the robbery even though they know they’re being closely watched.
Over an iconic dinner scene, the main characters gradually realize how much they’ve sacrificed in their personal lives in their pursuits of professional excellence. They acknowledge respect for one another in one breath and, in the next, state that they wouldn’t hesitate to kill the other.
How does the story play out? You’ll have to watch it for yourself. Far from a mindless action movie (although the action is great), Heat also gives viewers some deeper life lessons to think about.
6. The Italian Job
Half fun and half serious. 2003’s The Italian Job is the perfect heist movie for a lazy afternoon.
Starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron, the movie flits between several big cities across Europe. Their next big heist is for $30 million in pure gold–not an easy task to pull off.
Round up a gang of highly specialized individuals and some equally impressive Mini Coopers, and you’ve got a well-rounded, action-packed robbery movie. It may not be as popular as Ocean’s 11 was, but it’s still deserving of a place on our list.
7. Dog Day Afternoon
Another oldie but goodie, Dog Day Afternoon addressed several interesting social issues of the 1970s.
Based on a true story, the film follows a very human and likable Al Pacino as a gay Vietnam War veteran. (Already interesting, right?) To fund a sex-change operation for his lover, he decides to rob a Brooklyn bank.
When he gets discovered mid-heist, he locks the doors and holes up with the frazzled bank staff to formulate a new plan. The story offers plenty of humor and suspense while never clearly establishing a “good guy” or “bad guy.”
Unlike other over-the-top bank robber movies, this one is pretty close to how an attempted heist might actually go down.
The Best Bank Robbery Movies: Now You Know
The best bank robbery movies have one thing in common: They’re real crowdpleasers.
So the next time you want great action, suspense, and heroes you can cheer for, queue up one of these great bank heist movies.
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