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10 Most Clever Bank Robberies in Movies

by Spout
August 10, 2011 5:03 AM
51 Comments
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by Christopher Campbell

This list was originally published on July 1, 2009. It is being reposted ahead of the opening of the bank robbery comedy "30 Minutes or Less."

Before seeing Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s new crime film "Public Enemies," we decided to check out an earlier portrayal of the infamous bank robber, Lawrence Tierney in "Dillinger." The 1945 picture is a bit disappointing in terms of bank jobs, which are mostly shown in quick succession during a montage. There is one interesting robbery, but technically it’s an armored truck heist (also, having been shot by Fritz Lang for an earlier film, the scene doesn’t quite fit the rest of the movie). From what we hear, the robberies in "Public Enemies" aren’t that much more memorable, even if they do resemble an MGM musical, which is a shame considering how clever the real Dillinger was.

We definitely prefer a clever criminal and a clever plan when it comes to bank robber movies. Otherwise it’s just yet another taut thriller or slapstick comedy involving a tunnel dig from the bakery/bathhouse/chicken restaurant/luggage store/etc. next door. So we’ve come up with ten favorite bank jobs that involve originality and a successful getaway (a plan isn’t that clever if it doesn’t work). There have been hundreds of bank robberies throughout film history so if we’ve forgotten something really clever, inform/remind us of the movie in the comments. We’ve purposefully excluded armed vehicle, stagecoach and train robberies, though, so stick specifically to internal bank jobs.

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More: Remakes, Full Films

51 Comments

  • jams | June 9, 2014 9:57 AMReply

    if you think that about Heat, then you didn't see it or you didn't understand it. Your comment is useless! Filippini Financial Group

  • are_em_dee | April 21, 2014 7:13 PMReply

    The Town is just a male version of Set It Off. Both so-so. And all bank movies bite off of Heat... the original jammy jam. Period. Exclamation point! And I agree with SNKAEY, you killed Inside Man for anyone who didn't see it.

  • charles | April 7, 2014 2:44 PMReply

    worst list eveeeeer!

  • Bruce Mc | March 31, 2014 9:57 AMReply

    FuKin shit, I don't even know how to fuking scold you. Your list sucks.

  • Snkaey | March 16, 2014 4:03 PMReply

    @Spout Way to ruin the Inside Man for people you @sshole. What if people are just looking for bank heist movies and happen upon your site and get the whole movie ruined for them when they read the first freaking line of the first movie listed. Are you just ignorant or was this done intentionally?

  • Ali | October 19, 2013 3:23 PMReply

    Nice list but Run Lola Run isn't exactly a heist movie, but an alternative heist movie. Also Stander. But good choices. Havent's een Dark Knight.
    My number one for bank robbery and 100% heist movie is Inside Man.
    Here is my listing with 3 categories as 100% heist movies, alternative heist movies (where the mnain genre is something else) and caper movies:

    http://bestrobberyheistmovies.blogspot.com/

  • ALBERTO | October 7, 2012 4:33 PMReply

    De niño (finales de los 60, comienzo de los 70) ví en el matiné de los domingos una peli inglesa sobre el robo al banco de inglaterra, donde no se llevaban dinero, sino que ¡¡LO IMPRIMÍAN!! El título (con la traducción sui generis de aquella época) era "SIETE VECES SIETE" (no recuerdo por qué...) Me acuerdo hasta de la música y hace 40 años!! Nunca he podido encontrarla: ni en videoclubs, ni en páginas de venta por internet, ni en you tube... ¿Alguien sabe cómo encontarla? Ni recuerdo actores ni deirector, ni nada más... Gracias @kntcanarias

  • alberto | September 20, 2012 5:34 PMReply

    De niño (finales de los 60, comienzo de los 70) ví en el matiné de los domingos una peli inglesa sobre el robo al banco de inglaterra, donde no se llevaban dinero, sino que ¡¡LO IMPRIMÍAN!! El título (con la traducción sui generis de aquella época) era "SIETE VECES SIETE" (no recuerdo por qué...) Me acuerdo hasta de la música y hace 40 años!! Nunca he podido encontrarla: ni en videoclubs, ni en páginas de venta por internet, ni en you tube... ¿Alguien sabe cómo encontarla? Ni recuerdo actores ni deirector, ni nada más...
    Gracias
    @kntcanarias

  • alberto | September 20, 2012 5:34 PMReply

    De niño (finales de los 60, comienzo de los 70) ví en el matiné de los domingos una peli inglesa sobre el robo al banco de inglaterra, donde no se llevaban dinero, sino que ¡¡LO IMPRIMÍAN!! El título (con la traducción sui generis de aquella época) era "SIETE VECES SIETE" (no recuerdo por qué...) Me acuerdo hasta de la música y hace 40 años!! Nunca he podido encontrarla: ni en videoclubs, ni en páginas de venta por internet, ni en you tube... ¿Alguien sabe cómo encontarla? Ni recuerdo actores ni deirector, ni nada más...
    Gracias
    @kntcanarias

  • alberto | September 20, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    De niño (finales de los 60, comienzo de los 70) ví en el matiné de los domingos una peli inglesa sobre el robo al banco de inglaterra, donde no se llevaban dinero, sino que ¡¡LO IMPRIMÍAN!! El título (con la traducción sui generis de aquella época) era "SIETE VECES SIETE" (no recuerdo por qué...) Me acuerdo hasta de la música y hace 40 años!! Nunca he podido encontrarla: ni en videoclubs, ni en páginas de venta por internet, ni en you tube... ¿Alguien sabe cómo encontarla? Ni recuerdo actores ni deirector, ni nada más...
    Gracias
    @kntcanarias

  • alberto | September 20, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    De niño (finales de los 60, comienzo de los 70) ví en el matiné de los domingos una peli inglesa sobre el robo al banco de inglaterra, donde no se llevaban dinero, sino que ¡¡LO IMPRIMÍAN!! El título (con la traducción sui generis de aquella época) era "SIETE VECES SIETE" (no recuerdo por qué...) Me acuerdo hasta de la música y hace 40 años!! Nunca he podido encontrarla: ni en videoclubs, ni en páginas de venta por internet, ni en you tube... ¿Alguien sabe cómo encontarla? Ni recuerdo actores ni deirector, ni nada más...
    Gracias
    @kntcanarias

  • alberto | September 20, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    De niño (finales de los 60, comienzo de los 70) ví en el matiné de los domingos una peli inglesa sobre el robo al banco de inglaterra, donde no se llevaban dinero, sino que ¡¡LO IMPRIMÍAN!! El título (con la traducción sui generis de aquella época) era "SIETE VECES SIETE" (no recuerdo por qué...) Me acuerdo hasta de la música y hace 40 años!! Nunca he podido encontrarla: ni en videoclubs, ni en páginas de venta por internet, ni en you tube... ¿Alguien sabe cómo encontarla? Ni recuerdo actores ni deirector, ni nada más...
    Gracias
    @kntcanarias

  • alberto | September 20, 2012 5:32 PMReply

    De niño (finales de los 60, comienzo de los 70) ví en el matiné de los domingos una peli inglesa sobre el robo al banco de inglaterra, donde no se llevaban dinero, sino que ¡¡LO IMPRIMÍAN!! El título (con la traducción sui generis de aquella época) era "SIETE VECES SIETE" (no recuerdo por qué...) Me acuerdo hasta de la música y hace 40 años!! Nunca he podido encontrarla: ni en videoclubs, ni en páginas de venta por internet, ni en you tube... ¿Alguien sabe cómo encontarla? Ni recuerdo actores ni deirector, ni nada más...
    Gracias
    @kntcanarias

  • alberto | September 20, 2012 5:32 PMReply

    De niño (finales de los 60, comienzo de los 70) ví en el matiné de los domingos una peli inglesa sobre el robo al banco de inglaterra, donde no se llevaban dinero, sino que ¡¡LO IMPRIMÍAN!! El título (con la traducción sui generis de aquella época) era "SIETE VECES SIETE" (no recuerdo por qué...) Me acuerdo hasta de la música y hace 40 años!! Nunca he podido encontrarla: ni en videoclubs, ni en páginas de venta por internet, ni en you tube... ¿Alguien sabe cómo encontarla? Ni recuerdo actores ni deirector, ni nada más...
    Gracias
    @kntcanarias

  • Dino | February 24, 2013 11:26 AM

    Fuck off with all the comments, fucking spammer

  • george | July 14, 2012 11:10 PMReply

    This list is stupid. No heat? You have obviously never watched any good movies. Of course you put batman at the top of the list like a stupid hipster.

  • jyhgsa | July 11, 2012 5:14 PMReply

    haja

  • bob | June 20, 2012 5:01 AMReply

    What a load of stupid movies except for batman

  • Thaddeus | April 20, 2012 8:09 PMReply

    I don't think Heat even planned his robbery, he just walked into the bank with a couple of masked men and took the money, I real psycho

  • raider2402 | June 27, 2012 3:22 PM

    if you think that about Heat, then you didn't see it or you didn't understand it. Your comment is useless!

  • bert ernie | April 12, 2012 10:12 AMReply

    Nobody likes those old movies anymore, except old guys and virgins.. Get a grip!

  • Sweaz | March 12, 2012 9:56 PMReply

    THE KILLING!

  • R.Spandit | March 9, 2012 7:53 PMReply

    Point break?

  • Jim | February 26, 2012 7:00 PMReply

    What about Quick change?

  • Easton | February 19, 2012 4:41 PMReply

    What is the picture at the very top movie called

  • nasa | March 12, 2012 7:34 AM

    The picture at the very top is a pic from the Dark Knight.
    The clip is taken from the same period in the film as the trailer covers.

  • sam | February 20, 2012 9:12 AM

    the dark knight

  • neka | February 18, 2012 6:07 AMReply

    "The Town" with Jeremy Renner was a clever bank movie. Love it!

  • jakjunu | April 5, 2012 4:23 AM

    really,i like it

  • neka | February 18, 2012 6:03 AMReply

    Public Enemy

  • Josh | February 8, 2012 1:21 PMReply

    What about "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"? It's much better than many films on your list.

  • Marc Stanley | February 4, 2012 1:16 AMReply

    The Doberman Gang (1972); Green Ice (1981), and the one with George Burns: Going in Style (1979).

  • FM | August 25, 2011 10:06 AMReply

    I like how you say the way they escaped in "Quick Change" was a "little unlikely," but have nothing but positive things to say about "The Dark Knight" which was contrived as hell. The Joker would have to be psychic to know what everyone would do and where that guy would be standing to be hit by the bus.

  • Graene | August 21, 2011 12:33 PMReply

    RocknRolla is a great modern UK film, for the people that haven't seen it but have seen Lock, stock and Snatch you will love it!

    Great piece by Guy Richie, who has been delayed from making no.2 and has no.3 written ready for production but Sherlock has kept him busy past couple of years.

    Both the hold up in that film are the simplest and amusing!

  • smath | August 18, 2011 7:46 AMReply

    The dark knight bank heist was crazy cool and so was inside man. Heat has a great back heist but it wasn’t well executed because it ends up with a great shoot out on the streets. gotta check that bill murray film out not really a fan of subtitled movies.

    http://www.allqualitymovies.com

  • Tom | August 11, 2011 7:15 AMReply

    The joker pulls the bus out of the wall of a bank in midtown (no crowd has gathered, no cops yet somehow) and drives his dust and debris (undamaged!) bus out into a convoy of schoolbuses, and no one thinks to radio in or call that this has happened. This is the worst scene by far in TDK. It's definitely the worst scene on this list, save the Invisible Man. Honestly, I love the Dark Knight, but that scene is just terrible.

  • nihilance | August 11, 2011 3:18 AMReply

    Sexy Beast

  • Cal | July 22, 2011 1:04 AMReply

    The Hot Rock

  • Ali | June 15, 2011 11:29 AMReply

    Nice list but Run Lola Run isn't exactly a heist movie, but an alternative heist movie. Also Stander. But good choices. Havent's een Dark Knight.
    My number one for bank robbery and 100% heist movie is Inside Man.
    Here is my listing with 3 categories as 100% heist movies, alternative heist movies (where the mnain genre is something else) and caper movies:

    http://bestrobberyheistmovies.blogspot.com/

  • Mark | February 10, 2011 6:21 AMReply

    Oh Please. Dark Knight is NOT a heist movie. Yes it was clever only for a few minutes. But please. It's so overrated.
    The biggest mistake is not having dog day afternoon in here.

  • Jeff | January 19, 2012 12:45 AM

    This is not best heist films! It's most clever heist moments. DERP

  • David Mcintosh | January 30, 2011 10:56 AMReply

    The craziest bank robbery movies are steal and takers

  • bob harp | January 17, 2011 2:11 AMReply

    what about reservoir dogs? Is it because they were stealing diamonds?

  • Wago | January 16, 2011 2:22 AMReply

    The Bank job

  • jay moore | January 6, 2011 6:15 AMReply

    the dark knight bank heist was crazy cool and so was inside man. Heat has a great back heist but it wasn't well executed because it ends up with a great shoot out on the streets. gotta check that bill murray film out not really a fan of subtitled movies. another great heist movie would be lock, stock and 2 smokin' barrels (british film) they don't rob a bank but it's still a very clever story of a simple heist gone wrong strongly recommend all of you guys seeing.

  • hesler | December 7, 2010 12:28 AMReply

    i want to know which is the best and clever bank robbery film

  • roofstaka moojdali | October 29, 2010 10:33 AMReply

    why is Heat not on here?

  • Christopher Campbell | October 29, 2010 5:09 AMReply

    Is Heat's bank robbery really that clever or is it just well executed?

  • J.. | October 8, 2010 6:18 AMReply

    Did you ever see one that was filmed in the 70's or so and had a guy using magetic shoes to walk over lasers or something to get into a vault?? Im just searching the net and stopped by...

  • Christopher Campbell | September 27, 2010 1:53 AMReply

    Simple answer: because the list was written more than a year ago.

    Also, though, I don't think the robberies in The Town are clever enough to now challenge any of those I listed then.

  • owen | September 26, 2010 12:55 PMReply

    how come the town is not on this list

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