Top Heist Movies, Part 4

Jackie Brown (1997) Director: Quentin Tarantino / Stars: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Robert DeNiro

A flight attendant with a dodgy past finds herself caught up amongst pothead thieves (DeNiro, Fonda), a treacherous arms dealer (Jackson), and a lovelorn bail bondsman (Foster). This masterpiece of character, humor, love and danger is Tarantino’s greatest film.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Director: Sidney Lumet / Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning, Chris Sarandon, Penelope Allen, Sully Boyar

Derived from a true story, Pacino plays one of cinema’s most sympathetic robbers as Sonny, a maladjusted Vietnam vet whose heist of a Brooklyn bank to pay for his lover’s sex-change operation turns into a hostage situation, media circus, and social commentary. Sonny’s chant of “Attica! Attica!” to rile up a crowd of public onlookers — referencing the 1971 Attica prison riot — establishes the film’s anti-establishment theme.

Heat (1995) Director: Michael Mann / Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight

Two celebrated actors, Pacino and DeNiro, face off for the first time in this tale of a detective and a thief keeping a close eye on each other, both knowing a heist is in the works.

The Town (2010) Director: Ben Affleck / Stars: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Pete Postlethwaite, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm

“The Town” refers to Charlestown, a Boston neighborhood where crime is a way of life, where Doug (Ben Affleck) struggles to manage his romantic feelings for a bank manager victimized by one of his earlier heists against his next job and avoiding capture by the FBI. Preceded by his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone and followed by the perfect Argo, this thriller polished up Affleck’s career after a series of flops had tarnished the actor.

Rififi (1955) Director: Jules Dassin / Stars: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel, Janine Darcey

The jewel heist on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris is meticulously planned and executed. But what to do with the loot? Perhaps the first great heist film, Rififi famously features a half-hour safe-cracking sequence with no dialogue or music, so realistic that real criminals began copying the technique shown in the film. Based on the novel by Auguste le Breton.