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.