The Best Oddball Heist Movies You’ve Never Seen

the best heist movies you haven't seen

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition: some of the best oddball heist/robbery movies you’ve never seen.)

You’d be forgiven for not knowing this as it’s hardly being used as a marketing point, but Zach Braff has a new film hitting theaters this week. I already knew this, as I’m both a professional film critic and a card-carrying member of the “Braff is a Pretty Good Director” club. (No, those two things don’t cancel each other out.)

Braff’s latest is a notable departure from his two more personal dramedies about how angsty your twenties and thirties can be, and to prove it he’s not even starring this time around. Going In Style is instead a remake of Martin Brest’s 1979 classic which starred George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg as old friends, well past the prime of their lives, who decide to rob a bank. Braff’s redo features Alan Arkin, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman as the threesome, and we’re hoping that together they can create an entertaining and affecting film that finds the same blend of laughs and pathos.

Inspired by this rogue’s gallery of octanagarian thieves, I’ve put together a list of six great movies about elaborate and/or odd thefts, robberies, and heists.

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To quote Martin Short’s SCTV character Irving Cohen, “years ago there was a thing called a-vaude-a-ville.”

Vaudeville was theatrical circuit in the late 19th century and early 20th century where, for a few cents, you’d go to see a stream of short plays, musical or comedy acts. Many of the earliest film comedians got their start there, like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers and, yes, all permutations of The Three Stooges.

This weekend sees the release of the Farrelly Brothers’ unfairly maligned film The Three Stooges (it’s good, I swear) and it is absolutely soaked in the seltzer that is the Vaudeville aesthetic. Plot will get yanked to the side (as though with a hook on amateur night) if there’s an opportunity get a laugh from some physical or verbal schtick. If this is in any way your thing, might I suggest some other Vaudeville-inspired films you probably haven’t seen. Read More »