What makes a heist movie?
May 23, 2016 4:18 PM - Subscribe

What makes a movie part of Heist Movie Club?

Anyone in the straight world can recognize a movie with grim faces, blue-black automatics, and stacks of bills or bags of gems as a heist flick. But some of the best heist movies, like heisters, can wear disguises or do things so smoothly that the mark doesn't even know he's been hit. I'd argue that The Dark Knight is a heist movie first and a superhero movie second. Hell, the post that made me decide to pull the trigger on Heist Movie Club is one about Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and who thinks about that as a heist movie?

At least three things set a heist movie apart from your run-of-the-mill crime/thriller/murder flicks:
  1. The heisters don't have to like each other, but they do have to work as a team.
  2. There's a plan; maybe it doesn't take everything into account, maybe it has some unexpected cons—and pros.
  3. Risk of death.
Anything you'd like to add to the list? Anything I got wrong?

This FanFare post will hopefully drum up some hidden heist gems that we can watch alongside the classics of the genre.
posted by infinitewindow to Heist Movie Club (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sneakers (already done on FanFare, but still worthy of rewatch and discussion)

Heat (kinda)

Heist, of course, if only for one of the all-time great single lines in any movie ever.
posted by Etrigan at 6:47 PM on May 23, 2016

When I was making DVDs, one of my faves was a French movie called Un flic, a sort of sequel to Le cercle rouge. Both of those are going to go on the list.

I'm glad you suggested Heist, Etrigan. I also very much enjoyed Mamet's earlier film The Spanish Prisoner, but that's more of a con than a heist. I got no beef with a con movie club, but it's different from our thing here.

Another goofy heist: The A-Team movie.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:05 PM on May 23, 2016

Rififi - Jules Dassin
The Killing - Kubrick
Dead Presidents
Jackie Brown
posted by rhizome at 10:16 PM on May 23, 2016

Definitely The Asphalt Jungle too.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:36 PM on May 23, 2016

And of course, at their hearts, all three of the Die Hard movies are heists.
posted by Etrigan at 3:51 AM on May 24, 2016

Heist, of course, if only for one of the all-time great single lines in any movie ever.

How can you choose just one from this movie?
posted by ODiV at 7:40 AM on May 27, 2016

Oh, there's plenty of great ones, but the one I'm thinking of is the Jordan to their Pippen/Rodman. There's Hall of Fame, and then there's GOAT.
posted by Etrigan at 7:52 AM on May 27, 2016

A heist is a lot like sex. Two people who want the same thing, they get in a room, they talk about it. They start to plan. It's kind of like flirting. It's kind of like... foreplay, 'cause the more they talk about it, the wetter they get.
posted by RobotHero at 12:14 PM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

How about A Simple Plan?
posted by rhizome at 6:44 PM on May 27, 2016

rhizome, IMO A Simple Plan isn't really a heist. The protags stumble upon the money and have to figure a way to keep it—there's no plan that they execute to get it. It's a good flick, don't get me wrong.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:50 PM on May 27, 2016

Gotcha :)
posted by rhizome at 10:34 PM on May 27, 2016

I have a weird soft spot for comedic heist movies like Small Time Crooks. I also would like to throw into the mix some movies that I might get to at one point or another, anyway, like A Fish Called Wanda, Bottle Rocket, The Hot Rock, or Disorganized Crime or maybe, even, God Help Me, The Ladykillers or Welcome to Collinwood.

For straighter heist action, there's The Good Thief, Sexy Beast, Hard Rain (so awful but I love it), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, The League of Gentlemen, or The Lookout which all add something a little to the genre and I like for reasons peculiar to each particular film.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:48 PM on May 31, 2016

So excited for Heist Movie Club!
posted by latkes at 8:12 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

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