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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 2, 2011 at 2:45 PM

What’s your favorite heist movie?

Saw “Tower Heist” last night; not bad. (Certainly not worth the proposed $60 home rental fee — now cancelled — but not bad; goes down fine with popcorn.) But it got me thinking about other, better heist movies — particularly Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven,” which isn’t too surprising, as that movie and “Tower Heist” share a screenwriter (Ted Griffin). Here are some others, both recent and classic, large and small, that stole my heart:
Inception.” Yes, it’s a heist movie. And it’s great.
The Dukes.” A low-budget crowd pleaser from 2008. Its charming twist: The gang of thieves are a former doo-wop group.
Man on Wire.” Nothing got stolen here except opportunity, but this documentary about wirewalker Philippe Petit’s unauthorized walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center plays like the very best of heist films.
Heist,” directed by David Mamet. Not because the film is great, but because of the language. (A sample: I’ll be as quiet as an ant pissing into cotton,” promises a character. Not enough, says another. “I want you to be as quiet as an ant not even thinking about pissing into cotton.”)
Rififi,” the 1955 French film with which all heist movies are compared — and which features an audacious, lengthy, silent heist, from which you won’t dare look away.
The Good Thief,” directed by Neil Jordan and featuring a host of wondrous faces, is based on another 1955 French heist classic, “Bob le Flambeur.”
Touchez pas au Grisbi,” another from mid-50s France. This is a heist movie without a heist (the loot’s stolen before the story begins), and it’s so good it doesn’t need one. (I was lucky enough to see all three of these French films within the past ten years in restored 35mm prints — but I’m sure they’re all on DVD.)
Enough. What heist movie is your favorite?

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