The Best Bank Robbery Movies

Pretty much everyone has considered robbing a bank at some point in their lives and Hollywood has been cashing in on our desire to live vicariously through those with the balls to go through with it for decades. Here's ten that aren't a rip-off.

Just The Facts

  1. The biggest haul in history came in 2005 when thieves tunneled into a vault in Fortaleza, Brazil and got away with around $70 million. (The average score is only around $4,500.) If they ever catch them, you can bet your money somebody will probably make a movie about it.
  2. Three out of four bank robbers are caught, according to the FBI, who pay attention to this sort of thing.
  3. Those are still way better odds than playing the lottery.

10. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

"Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Oh.. a gun."

Banks were probably even less popular back during the Great Depression than they are today, which helps to explain how Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, despite their gang's habit of killing people, became beloved American folk heroes. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway played better-looking versions of these two crazy kids in love who decided to get rich or die trying and ended up ambushed by pissed off police and pumped full of more bullets than Beatrix Kiddo's entire wedding party. Although tame by today's standards, Arthur Penn's film was superviolent for its time and was the first movie to feature someone getting shot point blank in the face. Not to mention being the first love story featuring a romantic lead with boner problems.

9. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

"We should work together again someday."

Presumably taking a break from the family business, Al Pacino and John Cazale (Michael and Fredo Corleone) found the time to star together in Sidney Lumet's Oscar-winning film based on the true story of a guy who tried unsuccessfully to rob a Brooklyn bank in order to pay for his boyfriend's sex change operation. Along with being a valuable cautionary tale on how not to rob a bank, Dog Day Afternoon also deserves props for inspiring several scenes in the crappy heist flick Swordfish, itself notable for giving grateful moviegoers their very first glimpse of Halle Berry's bare boobies.

8. Heat (1995)

Michael Mann's Heat is not only one of the all-time greatest bank robbery movies, it's also one of the all-time greatest armoured truck robbery movies. So there's that. The film has also been blamed for inspiring several actual armed robberies around the world, which is a lot more than you can say for Dog Day Afternoon. Along with having perhaps the longest gun fight scene in movie history, it even boasts a Corleone connection of its own with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro as (respectively) cop and robber.

"Are you talkin' to me?"

7. Inside Man (2006)

Unlike with Malcolm X, director Spike Lee didn't suggest that kids should skip school in order to go see his latest movie on its opening day. Which is strange in a way because planning the perfect crime is just the sort of thing they don't teach you in school. (Well, maybe some MBA programs.) Inside Man is also noteworthy for being a Spike Lee "joint" with caucasian characters who don't all totally suck. Unless maybe we were supposed to be rooting for the black cop (Denzel Washington) and not the white robber (Clive Owen), in which case maybe I missed something.

He got game. Also diamonds.

6. Point Break (1991)

"I wish I knew how to quit you."

Long before the term "bromance" oozed its way into the lexicon, there was Point Break, a groundbreaking film about the unconsumated love between a mildly retarded FBI agent (Keannu Reeves) and the leader of a gang of fun-loving criminals (the late great Patrick Swayze). Mixed in with memorable scenes of surfing monster waves, jumping out of planes, punting pit bulls and beating up members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kathryn Bigelow's total guy movie told the tale of best buds who liked to rob banks disguised as former presidents. Because presidents are the real criminals, after all. (Keep in mind it came out 15 years before George W. Bush came up with TARP funds.)

"Everybody be cool, this is a robbery!"

5. The Bank Job (2008)

The Bank Job involves a tunnel under a fast-food chicken restaurant, photos of Princess Margaret having a threesome, intercepted walkie-talkie transmissions, the British secret service, vengeful mobsters, Sherlock Holmes, S&M, Black Power militants, corrupt cops, torture with a sandblaster, and even Mick Jagger. It's also based on a true story.

"Then we'll snatch the loot and transport it away or my name isn't Handsome Rob...er, Terry."

4. Bandits (2001)

Featuring a bizarre love triangle between kinder, gentler bank robbers (Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton) and their willing hostage (Cate Blanchette), Barry Levison's comedy is very loosely based on the true story of two thieves who had the bright idea of simply visiting bank managers at their homes at night and then coming into work with them early the next morning.

Making out like bandits!

3. Killing Zoe (1994)

Is there are French word for "badass"? No, probably not.

Many years before killing Andreas Zini while drunk driving, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary directed this cult classic about a Paris bank robbery gone very, very wrong. While you might think robbing a bank in France is as simple as demanding the money and them simply surrendering it on principle, Killing Zoe illustrates that it can be a bit tougher than that.

No, a different Zoe.

2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Pictured: a blaze of glory

Seriously? You've never seen this movie? Stop reading this retarded list right now and go download it.

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

The Joker, doing his best impression of Two-Face.

A list of the greatest bank robbery movies couldn't possibly be complete without including The Dark Knight, if only because no list of the greatest movies could be complete without including The Dark Knight. The montage where the Joker and his crew take down a Gotham City bank stands as one of the best opening scenes in movie history and, seeing as how he manages to make a massive profit while also downsizing his staff, immediately cements the Joker's rep as criminal genius. Even if it does raise the awkward question of how he is possibly going to be able to find henchmen willing to go jobs with him in the future.