Top 08 Heist Movies

A crack team of thieves. A priceless haul. A Heist plan that cannot fail. Welcome to the world of heist films. A genre with a familiar setup where the infinite pleasures of watching criminals try to beat the odds and avoid getting caught.

The genre lends itself well to both action and characters. It’s one of the reasons the genre persists today. And why we here at Goliath are counting down the Eight best heist movies of all time.

The Town

Still of Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively and Jon Hamm from The Town. (Image via Prime Video)
Still of Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively and Jon Hamm from The Town. (Image via Prime Video)

Ben Affleck wrote and directed The Town about bank robbers in Boston, and it is one of his best movies. It stars Affleck as a bank robber whose feelings become conflicted when he falls for a bank manager he takes hostage after one of the robberies he pulls off. Co-starring Jeremy Renner in an Oscar-nominated performance as Ben Affleck’s psycho friend and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm as the FBI agent trying to catch the bank robbers before their next heist, The Town is a movie that delivers both a great story and characterization as well as exciting action sequences. And although critics complained about the film’s ending, it doesn’t detract from what is otherwise a first-rate heist movie. Ben Affleck cemented his reputation as a great director with this film, and deservedly so.

You can watch the movie by clicking here.


The Heat Poster. (Image via

A modern classic, Heat stars actor Robert De Niro as a professional bank robber who is being pursued by an obsessive Los Angeles detective played by Al Pacino. Flawlessly directed by Michael Mann, Heat is one of the best cops and robbers movies ever. It is also a fantastic heist film. The scene where Robert De Niro and his crew, which features actors Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore, rob the bank they’ve been circling for much of the movie is terrific, and the gunfight that erupts in downtown Los Angeles as the police arrive is one of the best shootouts in film history.

But in addition to being a superb heist movie, Heat is also a great drama driven by an intricate plot and compelling characterizations. The acting is superb, particularly from De Niro and Pacino, and the chase at the movie’s end is both memorable and satisfying. For a movie that looks into the motivations of cops and the thieves they chase, there is nothing better than this 1995 film.

You can watch the movie by clicking here.

The Killing

The Killing. (image via Cinema Essentials)

Director Stanley Kubrick’s first feature film, 1956’s The Killing, is about a group of thieves who rob a race track. Crafted like a chess game, The Killing is one of the best heist movies. Told out of sequence and with solid characters, this film, in many ways, has set the template for the heist movies that came after it. Highly influential, The Killing stars Sterling Hayden as the ringleader who plans the race track robbery with careful precision and attention to detail. He ropes in a group of supporting players, each with a specific role to make the robbery go smoothly. Featuring one of the strangest and saddest endings ever in a movie, The Killing is a movie with a narrative payoff. It also established Stanley Kubrick as one of the world’s top directors. It launched his impressive career—still one of the best heist movies ever made.

You can watch the movie by clicking here.

Ocean’s 11

Not the one with Frank, Dean, and Sammy: This 2001 remake has more suave star power, funnier jokes, and a more astonishing concept. George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, the smoothest cat who’s nonetheless still kinda hung up on his ex (Julia Roberts), recruiting all his hip buds to rob three Vegas casinos run by the jerk (Andy Garcia) who took his gal after the twin triumphs of Erin Brockovich and Traffic — Oscar-winning dramas about important themes — director Steven Soderbergh let loose, inviting audiences to enjoy the company of his friendly ensemble while playing sleight-of-hand as Ocean’s team effortlessly executes its heist. 

Ocean’s 11 is a movie about an incredible scheme that is a ridiculous proposition: These types of star-studded affairs usually fall flat on their face due to toxic smugness. Instead, Soderbergh, Clooney, Brad Pitt, and the rest of the crew got away scot-free, delivering a caper as dry as a martini and as sharp as the men’s suits. And the sequels are better than they’ve been given credit.

You Can watch the movie by clicking here.

Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon still. (Image via Roger Ebert.)

Sonny doesn’t want any trouble. As played by Al Pacino, he’s a regular schmo just looking for some quick cash to help pay for his lover’s (Chris Sarandon) sex-confirmation surgery. Sonny’s plan, though, is terrible. It forms the heart of Dog Day Afternoon, which is based on actual events and serves as an eternal warning that robbing a band isn’t nearly as easy as it seems in the movies. Director Sidney Lumet bathes the film in a New York atmosphere. Still, it’s equally dazzling in depicting the troubles that can occur when ill-prepared men undertake a foolish, dangerous endeavor. But what makes Dog Day Afternoon resonate is Lumet and his cast’s ability to erase the line between these fools and us — Pacino’s one-terrible-day desperation humanizes his character’s neediness and growing panic, putting the audience in the bank with him as he tries to tap-dance his way out of disaster.

You can watch the movie by clicking here.

Baby Driver

Still of Ansel Elgort from Baby Driver. (Image via Rotten Tomatoes.)

A former getaway driver is blackmailed into taking part in a job, or else his girlfriend will be hurt. Still, things go very wrong when their arms dealers become undercover officers. A gem from Edgar Wright, the cult director behind Spaced and Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver is a high-octane chase that barely lets up. It features a strong soundtrack behind all the screeching brakes.

You can watch the movie by clicking here.

Fast Five

Fast Five Movie Poster. (Image via Rotten Tomatoes.)

Before the events of the fifth installment of the Fast and Furious series, Vin Diesel’s character Dom was mainly into street racing. The money locked up in the vault from the Fast Five movie was enough to persuade Dom and his crew to shift focus and plan an elaborate heist.

Dom recruits a team comprised of members from each of the previous installments of the Fast and the Furious series. He always finds a way to make it a family affair, so the $100 million stolen from the ruthless drug lord is split evenly between seven Fast Family members.

You can watch the movie by clicking here.

Inside Man

Inside Man Movie Still. (Image by IMDb)

Outstanding as Spike Lee’s second golden run of films has been to witness. It’s slightly gutting that Inside Man is his last big-budget mainstream success. The heist itself comes early, and it’s a complex one involving thieves dressed as decorators. An elaborate hostage-shuffling system, and recordings of the dead Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. As such, it quickly turns from a howdunnit into a whydunnit, with Denzel Washington and Chiwetel Ejiofor bearing down on Clive Owen’s criminal ringleader. But, as you’d expect of Lee, it’s a superior, intelligent blockbuster of a thriller. Nobody shoots New York with the energy and wit that he does.

You can watch the movie by clicking here.

This concludes the compilation of the top eight heist movies. Please share your thoughts in the comments section if you think we have missed some. And for more content on entertainment like this, follow us on Instagram and YouTube. Your subscription will motivate us to create more content for you. 

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