Love heist movies? These are all based on real-life crimes
The best way to get your heart pumping on movie night is to put on a heist movie that pulls out all the stops. There’s plenty of action, strategic thinking, and sly comedy to keep anyone on the edge of their seat.
We’ve seen some great fictional heists play out in movies like Ocean’s 11, Logan Lucky, or the Netflix series Money Heist, but then there are the movies that pull their inspiration from a place stranger than fiction, and rewrite a bit of history. True crime heists show us that people really are crazy and life can be extremely entertaining. Here is a list of heist movies about real-life capers.
American Animals takes the idea of “based on a true story” to a different level as the director Bart Layton tells the story by cutting between the actors’ portrayals to the interviews of the real-life heist crew.
American Animals is based off of the Transylvania University library heist where four young men saw an opportunity to steal millions worth of rare books, guarded only by an elderly librarian.
The real-life heist team was ironically inspired by crime movies like Reservoir Dogs (though perhaps they should have picked a movie with a better outcome). American Animals’s unique approach to storytelling pushes the “true story” element to the forefront and makes for some insightful & humorous content.
The Theft of the Mona Lisa
The Theft of the Mona Lisa is a 1931 movie based on the true story of Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian man who, while working on the glass case to display the Mona Lisa in the Louvre museum, was struck that the Italian masterpiece was not displayed in the country it originated from. Peruggia neatly stole the painting and hid it in his trunk for two years before offering it to two Italian art dealers who promptly snitched on him.
The Theft of the Mona Lisa offers a fictionalized account of the story, with Peruggia stealing the painting to impress a young French girl with whom he is hopelessly in love and who bears a resemblance to the painting’s subject.
When the girl rejects him, Peruggia saves face by claiming the theft was done to liberate the painting for Italy and he is hailed as a hero by his countrymen.
The Bank Job
The Bank Job is a 2008 movie starring Jason Statham and based on the 1971 Baker Street robbery. The Baker Street robberies were, in turn, inspired by the Sherlock Holmes mystery “The Red-Headed League” which used the ingenuous strategy of tunneling into a bank vault from a second location.
The Baker Street robbers tunneled from a nearby rented shop and stole between £1.5 and £3 million worth of property from the safety deposit boxes in Lloyds Bank. Only four members of the heist team and £231,000 worth of property were ever found.
The Bank Job adds some cinematic action to the story and a plot-line about highly sensitive material in the safety deposit boxes that the thieves use to black mail important government officials. One box even contains compromising photos of Princess Maragaret, a rumor that originally floated around in the aftermath of the real-life crime.
The Old Man & the Gun
The Old Man & the Gun, Robert Redford’s last movie before retirement, is based on the last heist of the career criminal, Forrest Tucker. While Tucker was living in a retirement community, he calmly robbed around four banks in the local community, often without ever needing to draw his gun.
Redford takes on the role of Tucker who is so gentlemanly & sincere that it’s almost a pleasure being robbed by the man. The Old Man & the Gun depicts just how skilled Tucker was at wriggling his way out of things, after all, the real-life man stole over $4 million from banks and escaped from over eighteen prisons in his lifetime.
King of Thieves
Based on a recent 2016 heist, King of Thieves is about the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary which was named the “largest burglary in British legal history”. Six elderly men men, experienced as heist criminals, drilled through vault walls of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company and made off with £200 million worth of property.
King of Thieves sees legendary British actors such as Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, and Michael Cambion take on the roles of the Hatton Garden heist team. King of Thieves depicts the masterful crime & the fallout after the men begin to grow distrustful of each other, bringing truth to the old saying, “there’s no honor among thieves”.