Everyone loves a good heist movie. It's all about the set-up, the precision and the pay off.

With Will Smith and Margot Robbie on our screens, vamping it up in Focus, we thought we'd take a look at some other great heist movies you can watch to set the mood.

 

10. THE BANK JOB (2008)

Yes, Jason Statham is primarily known for making British cockney thrillers, but The Bank Job is the one we'd have no problem recommending to just about anyone. What's more, it's based on semi-real events. Statham plays an ex-crook trying to going straight in the early 1970's who's convinced by a former lover (Saffron Burrows) into knocking over a bank that houses a safe deposit facility. Why that particular bank and that particular safe deposit? As it turns out, a radical militant has compromising photos of a British Royal that he plans on using as leverage against the government. Why is Burrows doing this? Because she's been caught smuggling drugs. It's all about the double-crosses and the heist, but what makes this more interesting is that it's supposedly based on a measure of truth. A safety deposit bank was, in fact, robbed in 70's London and it was suspected for many years to involve a British royal. Saucy.

 

9. THE FIRST GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1978)

Sean Connery. Donald Sutherland. Playing Victorian gentlemen who try to rob a huge amount of gold intended to pay for the British Army in the Crimean War. And what's more, it was almost entirely filmed in Ireland. The First Great Train Robbery is one of those classic romps, much like Focus, that it's all about the finesse and the sheer brass neck to pull off a completely daring robbery. Keep an eye out for Heuston Station and a few other places in Dublin making little cameo appearances.

 

8. SEXY BEAST (2000)

Although Sexy Beast is primarily known for Ben Kingsley's unhinged performance as Don Logan, Sexy Beast was much more than that. Ray Winstone gives, for our money, the best performance of his career as Gal - a former safecracker who's retired to Spain with his wife, content of leaving the criminal world behind. When Kingsley calls out of the blue and attempts to convince him to do a job, he must out of... well, we don't want to ruin it. Jonathan Glazer, he of Under The Skin fame, directs a glossily-made, high-concept heist movie that's not really about a heist. Definitely recommended.

 

 

 

7. INSIDE MAN (2006)

Heist movies often incorporate elements from others, be it comedy, drama or even horror. Inside Man, however, mixes the heist movie with the hostage movie. An odd, commercially-viable film by Spike Lee, it stars Denzel Washington as the hostage negotiator and Clive Owen as the mastermind behind the hostage situation. From the very get-go, you're trying to think one step ahead of Owen's plan. He forcibly locks himself into a bank, takes hostages and has no ready means of escape. Yet, he's supremely confident he can pull it all off. How?

 

 

6. INCEPTION (2010)

When we first heard about Christopher Nolan's sci-fi thriller "set inside the architecture of the mind", we really couldn't picture this. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, the world's best extractor. What's extraction? Entering people's minds via their dreams and stealing ideas and thoughts. Over the course of the film, it's revealed that DiCaprio is haunted by a past tragedy and prevented from returning home. When a billionaire offers him a way home, he takes it knowing that what he's been hired for may be impossible.

 

5. THIEF (1981)

Michael Mann's built a career around highly-researched, well-planned films. In fact, he plans and plots them out like heists. Thief, his first feature film, sees James Caan as an expert cat burglar and safecracker who's coerced into teaming up with a mobster. Caan, like all good burglars, is working on his final job before he can retire. Featuring a scorching soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, Thief oozes cool and showcases many of the visual flourishes that Mann would use again in Heat, Collateral and The Insider.

 

4. SNEAKERS (1992)

Robert Redford leads a team of misfits (River Phoenix, David Straithairn, Dan Aykroyd, Sidney Poitier) who have an interesting job - they're hired by banks to test the strength of their security systems by breaking into them. When his team is hired by an unknown party to steal a seemingly innocuous item from a tech company, they unknowingly walk into a secret operation by the US government and steal a code-breaking device. Slick, stylish and often hilarious, Sneakers is one of the best heist films of the early 90's.

 

3. THE ITALIAN JOB (1969)

Michael Caine. The Mini Cooper. Sixties Rome and London. If ever a film oozed cool in every scene, it's either this or the next entry. Caine plays a career criminal who takes on a simple job - except it's not so simple. With the help of a few fellow criminals, a couple of Mini Coopers and a lot of chutzpah, they'll steal £4 million worth of Chinese gold. It's since become a classic British film, but just don't mention the Mark Wahlberg remake. Ever.

 

2. OCEAN'S ELEVEN (2001)

Like all good heist films, Ocean's Eleven had a high-concept setup with smart, well-dressed players and a glittering locale for the whole thing to take place in. Brad Pitt, George Clooney and the concept of stealing a Las Vegas casino seems like a fit, right? It's since become a modern classic, with Steven Soderbergh's sharp direction and David Holmes' iconic soundtrack all lifting career-highlight performances from all concerned. We had to watch this a couple of times to get it right. And who didn't want to walk around Vegas in a suit after seeing this?

 

1. HEAT (1995)

No discussion about heist movies can be complete or even taken seriously without mentioning Heat. It's inspired videogames and films with its perfectly-executed heist scenes - our favourite is the armoured van at the start - and top performances by Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Val Kilmer. DeNiro plays an expert criminal who leaves an ordered life with no attachments whilst Pacino plays the single-minded cop out to finally stop him. Intense and focused, but also achingly human in places, Heat is simply incredible. If you've never watched it, rectify that right now.