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04.14.2017by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Heist Movies of the 21st Century

Today sees the release of the eighth film in the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise. While the series has become about more than cars, at the film's core in an elaborate heist. Over the decades, heist films have enjoyed great success in Hollywood and the last seventeen years have been no exception. Looking just at the 21st century, here is our ranking of the ten best heist films. If you disagree with our picks or have a suggestion for one we missed, let us know in the talk backs below.

#10 - HEIST

David Mamet has always been one hell of a screenwriter and his 2001 heist film was released the same year as the higher profile THE SCORE with Marlon Brando, Edward Norton, and Robert De Niro. HEIST is the superior film boasting a great cast that includes Gene Hackman, Sam Rockwell, Danny DeVito, and Rebecca Pidgeon, but failed to make a splash with audiences. This may be the least recognized film on this ranking but the intelligent plot and great dialogue make it a worthy addition.

#9 - MATCHSTICK MEN

Ridley Scott's dark comedy represents one of Nicolas Cage's best films of the past two decades. Despite being a box office bomb, MATCHSTICK MEN has garnered a following since it hit home media and for good reason. This movie has a great script and some stellar performances from Cage and Alison Lohman. This is one of those films you forget all about until you see a photo or clip and it makes you instantly want to watch it all over again.

#8 - THE ITALIAN JOB

It is no coincidence that F. Gary Gray's THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS looks like it was made by a man familiar with car chases and crime plots. The 2003 action film THE ITALIAN JOB was the first time Gray teamed with actors Jason Statham and Charlize Theron for a film that had some thrilling chase sequences along with a fairly involved crime plot. This may not be the best film on this list but THE ITALIAN JOB is a lot of fun and deserved a sequel.

#7 - FAST FIVE

Justin Lin's third round as director of the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise was also the best film in the series to date. Switching the plot completely from a racing centered narrative to an over-the-top action extravaganza breathed new life into a franchise that needed it. The Rio sequences alone are worth the price of admission. Each sequel has tried to replicate the formula of FAST FIVE and while the stunts have gotten bigger, none of the movies were better than this one.

#6 - THE WAY OF THE GUN

After THE USUAL SUSPECTS, acclaimed screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie made his directorial debut with this thriller that stars Ryan Philippe and Benicio Del Toro as low level criminals undertaking a heist that could be their big score. A meditation on violence, THE WAY OF THE GUN was maligned by critics but has become a cult favorite thanks to a great ensemble cast and some truly quotable dialogue.

#5 - HELL OR HIGH WATER

One of the best films of 2016, HELL OR HIGH WATER evokes everything from The Coens to John Wayne westerns. All the while, the film is an indictment of America's current socio-economic climate and uses that to tell a story that is both timely and gripping. Chris Pine has rarely been better and Ben Foster continues to prove that he is one of the most underrated actors working today. Plus, you have Jeff Bridges in his trademark cowboy mode which itself is worth watching for two hours.

#4 - INSIDE MAN

One of Spike Lee's best films, INSIDE MAN opens as a fairly formulaic heist film replete with bank, hostages and negotiator. But, as the film unfolds, the true motivations of Clive Owen's character prove this story is more than just a tale of criminals stealing diamonds. Instead, it becomes an indictment of war crimes, Wall Street, and everything else plaguing the United States in the early 2000s. A damn well acted film with stunning work by Jodie Foster, Denzel Washington, Christopher Plummer, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Willem Dafoe.

#3 - THE TOWN

After the critical acclaim for GONE BABY GONE, Ben Affleck made his second and superior directorial effort with THE TOWN. Set in his native Boston, THE TOWN stars Affleck as the leader of a group of bank robbers. The film was both a critical and financial success and paved the way for Affleck to become one of the best filmmakers working today. But the real strength of THE TOWN lies in the great cast who truly evoke the New England lifestyle and accent that Affleck brought to GOOD WILL HUNTING.

#2 - INCEPTION

Christopher Nolan is a mastermind of a filmmaker and for every great adaptation he has made, there is a stunningly original story like INCEPTION. A very different type of heist than any other film on this list, INCEPTION is chock full of insane visuals and a Russian nesting doll of a plot that still packs a wallop to this day. A damn enjoyable movie and a deeply analytical cinematic adventure, INCEPTION is a classic.

#1 - SNATCH

While many prefer Guy Ritchie's previous and tonally similar LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, I have always been partial to the much glossier SNATCH. Maybe it is Brad Pitt's instant classic portrayal of Mickey or maybe it is the huge cast of now familiar faces including Jason Statham, or maybe it is just that SNATCH is a quotably hilarious film full of violence and humor.

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7:26AM on 04/15/2017
Ocean's 11 was released in 2001, it should be top 5,
Ocean's 11 was released in 2001, it should be top 5,
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-1
6:19AM on 04/15/2017
-FAST 5; THE TOWN - 4/10
-HELL OR HIGH WATER - 7/10
-INCEPTION - 8/10
-FAST 5; THE TOWN - 4/10
-HELL OR HIGH WATER - 7/10
-INCEPTION - 8/10
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5:11PM on 04/14/2017
Heist is a great movie with some really awesome one-liners ("I hate to do anything as dramatic as count to three but one . . . two . . . three."). A lot of these are difficult to place because they're so different in tone and style - Snatch, Inception, The Town are difficult to compare to each other. One's an action drama, one's more sci-fi than heist movie, and the last is more of a stylistic gangster movie. It's a good list, just not sure about the order (I personally think Heist should be
Heist is a great movie with some really awesome one-liners ("I hate to do anything as dramatic as count to three but one . . . two . . . three."). A lot of these are difficult to place because they're so different in tone and style - Snatch, Inception, The Town are difficult to compare to each other. One's an action drama, one's more sci-fi than heist movie, and the last is more of a stylistic gangster movie. It's a good list, just not sure about the order (I personally think Heist should be top 5).
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4:19PM on 04/14/2017
Lock Stock > Snatch
Lock Stock > Snatch
Your Reply:



4:22PM on 04/14/2017
The article is looking at the 21st century, and it's depressingly low on quality movies in this area. It should be a top 5 list so bad movies don't get attention.
The article is looking at the 21st century, and it's depressingly low on quality movies in this area. It should be a top 5 list so bad movies don't get attention.
+1
10:38AM on 04/14/2017

Seriously?

If you are going to include The Heist and Matchstick Men, it really makes me wonder how you forgot (or left out) Ocean's Eleven? Either the original or the remake SHOULD be in this list.
If you are going to include The Heist and Matchstick Men, it really makes me wonder how you forgot (or left out) Ocean's Eleven? Either the original or the remake SHOULD be in this list.
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9:35AM on 04/15/2017
Fair enough about the original. But the remake is definitely in the 21st century (Dec 2001).
Fair enough about the original. But the remake is definitely in the 21st century (Dec 2001).
6:20AM on 04/15/2017
The original OCEAN'S 11 isn't from this century.
The original OCEAN'S 11 isn't from this century.
4:20PM on 04/14/2017
At least Tower Heist with Ben Stiller wasn't included. Certain movies should just end careers.
At least Tower Heist with Ben Stiller wasn't included. Certain movies should just end careers.

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