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The Best Heist Movies Since ‘Heat’

The arrival of Steve McQueen’s Widows has our alarms going off. It’s time to run down a list of the best heist movies since the 1995 release of Michael Mann’s Heat. Why Heat? Because there are heist movies before Heat, and heist movies after Heat. Below, you’ll find winking caper-comedies, psychological thrillers, meditative ruminations on age, and Heat. Because you gotta have Heat.


Chris Ryan: Heat ruined heist movies. Michael Mann imagined Los Angeles as an ocean, covered in neon algae, patrolled by two Ahabs. Al Pacino’s cop, Vincent, is chasing the white whale thief, Neil, who in turn, is chasing an almost mythical final score (aren’t we all?). When you say the words “bank robbery,” I immediately think of the downtown L.A. heist that brings the film to a climax. It has become the signifier to the sign. Within the subgenre, Heat has taken on a kind of biblical importance. It’s so influential —in its visceral depiction of action and its mythical portrayal of cop and robber—that it’s almost impossible to even think about another heist movie without relating it back to Heat. And yet somehow, after all these years, and all the Christopher Nolan homages, Heat still goes. It still surprises, still shocks, and still reveals new layers of meaning and mystery.

The Bank Job

Adam Nayman: I have no idea how historically accurate The Bank Job is. Supposedly, it’s based on the 1971 Baker Street robbery, in which a group of thieves burgled a series of safety deposit boxes from Lloyds of London, and were never to be see again. Roger Donaldson’s cheerful, upbeat caper flick imagines that the robbers were actually ringers hired by MI5 to retrieve sensitive material—i.e., photos of Princess Margaret at an orgy—under

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