July 20, 2016
I must have larceny in my heart, for I seem to have a real fondness for the heist film. I have even been known to root for the bad guys to get away with it. Maybe what the heist film does is provide a certain wish fulfillment for the audience; it’s a safe way to dabble at the darker side of our nature. I mean, who hasn’t thought about an easy way to make a lot of money, or to get out from under a dire financial situation? Well, these questions are what I believe make the heist film so appealing. So, on that note, I give you “The Twenty Greatest Heist Films”.
In no particular order…
1.”The Killing” 1956 Stanley Kubrick. Early Kubrick effort is a tightly structured look at a truly failed robbery.
2.”Quick Change” 1990 Bill Murray, Howard Franklin. This is one of the more cheerful entries in the heist genre.
3.””The Asphalt Jungle” 1950 John Huston. The most existential of all heist films-beautifully realized.
4.”Friends of Eddie Coyle” 1972 Peter Yates. Working class characters give an authenticity to film.
5.”Dog Day Afternoon” 1975 Sidney Lumet. Eccentric bank robbery makes the onlookers part of the circus.
6.”Inside Job” 2000 Spike Lee. This tense, little heist film is full of surprises.
7.”The Anderson Tapes” 1972 Sidney Lumet. Not a great film, but it makes an interesting comment on how we are all being watched.
8.”The Drop” 2014 Michael R. Roskam. Gritty neighborhood heist film was penned with the nuances by the wonderful Dennis Lehane (Mystic River).
9.”The Man Who Wasn’t There” 2000 Coen Brothers. Very unusual noir film shot in glorious black and white.
10.”Dead Presidents” 1995 Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes. Insane heist film is perhaps too ambitious for what it delivers.
11.”Heat” 1995 Michael Mann. Thought-provoking heist film that benefits from an excellent cast.
12.”Kansas City Confidential” 1952 Phil Karlson. Kinda creepy heist film makes the robbers hauntingly anonymous.
13.”Point Break” 1991. Kathryn Bigelow. Unique spin on the genre,but too long for it’s own good.
14.”Criss Cross” 1949 Robert Siodmak. Romantic fatalism skillfully served.
15.”Rififi” 1954 Jules Dassin. This film has a wonderful twenty minute safe-cracking sequence.
16.”The Bling Ring” 2013 Sophia Coppola. Sly, seductive offering by the talented offspring.
17.”The Maltese Falcon” 1941 John Huston. The robbery of dreams?
18.”Resevoir Dogs” 1992 Quentin Tarantino. Framed through a flashback, this amazing first feature still impresses.
19.”The Thomas Crown Affair” 1968 Norman Jewison. White collar crime with a 60’s sensibility.
20.”The Town” 2010 Ben Affleck. These neighborhood bank robbers still live in and rob from their old neighborhoods.