The Best Heist Movies, Ranked

By July 27, 2018Lifestyle
Heist films, like 2001's "Ocean's Eleven" with George Clooney (left) and Brad Pitt, have been thrilling audiences with their cool adrenaline since the 1950s.

You know the formula. A team of thieves has its eyes on a lucrative, difficult-to-steal prize. And they’ve cooked up an elaborate scheme that can’t go wrong. Yet it always does, and plans must change on the fly.

With booty in hand, one of two things typically happens. Either our anti-heroes skate away filthy rich, or things go terribly wrong and everyone winds up dead or in jail.

Welcome to the modern-day heist film, a genre that’s been thrilling audiences since the 1950s.

In choosing the movies that best rep the art of stealing money, we’ve stayed away from basic bank robbery, stick-em-up stories in favor of thefts with more intricate and/or novel plots. Also, the heist(s) should be central to the story (as great as it is, the Lufthansa heist is not the primary focus of “Goodfellas”). As for the take, it matters, but not as much as style and invention.

Finally, special consideration was given to the cult classic leading off this round-up of the 15 best heist movies.

“Point Break”
In "Point Break," Patrick Swayze co-stars as the leader of a surfer gang that moonlights as the Ex-Presidents – bank heist specialists wearing latex masks of former leaders of the free world.

Year: 1991

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

The heist score: Amount unspecified

“I am an FBI agent!”

Why yes, of course you are, Keanu Reeves. And fans of this modern cult classic are forever grateful for one of the most memorable so-bad-it’s-great acting performances in movie history.

Also along for the action-packed ride? Patrick Swayze, who co-stars as the quasi-mystical Bodhi, leader of a SoCal surfer gang that moonlights as the Ex-Presidents – bank heist specialists wearing latex masks of former chiefs like Nixon and Reagan. Two robberies occur on screen, but exact loot amounts aren’t mentioned.

No worries, brah. Ease back and settle in for 2 hours of “one hundred percent pure adrenaline!”