What’s Your Favorite Con/Heist Flick?

I was going to write an in-depth post about how great my signing went last night, but I’ve felt like I’ve been hammering Vodnik a bit too hard lately, and I wanted to hold off on that and go in a different direction for today’s post. (Although I will say that the reading went really well. After all the wondering which section from the book I should read, I ended up just going with the first chapter. Original, I know. Thanks to all who came, and to the Farmington Public Library and Devaney Doak & Garrett for their help!)

In any case, I’m shifting gears as I start work on a new book. My last one was a noir. The new one? I’m going with a con/heist vibe. To get ready for it, I’ve been rewatching a bunch of my favorite con/heist movies. Some of them are ones you’ve no doubt seen. Hopefully there are some that will be new to you, and you can check them out. And ideally, there are some you love that aren’t on the list. I’d really like to see those–more “research.” 🙂

No discussion of con movies would be complete without starting with the best con movie of all time: The Sting. I’ve seen this movie more times than I can remember, and each time it’s just a joy. The interaction between Robert Redford and Paul Newman: perfect. Robert Shaw as Lonnegan: fantastic. And the con itself is just a beauty. Many movies have tried to pull off this same effect–conning the audience at the same time they con the mark in the film. I don’t think any film has done it better than this one. The plot is twisty turny, you care about the characters. It’s just a flat out fantastic film, and anyone who hasn’t seen it is really missing out.

You’ve also got the more modern Brothers Bloom, a film I saw not too long ago and really enjoyed. I need to rewatch this one to see if it holds up to repeated viewings, but at the time I saw it, I loved the whole thing. And that’s saying quite a bit, since I’m not really much of an Adrien Brody fan. I don’t think this movie is as universally awesome as The Sting, but for me, it was a great flick.

And then you have the wonderful Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which does both con and comedy supremely well. This is such a quotable movie (Why does Ruprecht have a cork on his fork?), and is strong enough to bear up under many viewings. Steve Martin and Michael Caine are pitch perfect throughout. Love this one.

Inception of course is a stand out, although I kind of wonder if it belongs in this list, just from the fact that it’s more of a sci-fi/fantasy than the rest. Still a great movie.

Other con movies that definitely warrant discussion include Snatch (still in my memory as one of my favorite Brad Pitt roles, though I wonder if I’d still think that today), Catch Me If You Can (awesome John Willaims soundtrack, and great turns by Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio), The Spanish Prisoner (Steve Martin as a maybe bad guy? Nice!), Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is also nicely convoluted, and The Killing is noir-con at its best (and directed by Kubrik, too!)

And then you have heist movies, which have excellent representatives in Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job, Sneakers. As I look through IMDB and other movie lists online, I realize there’s a slew of these out there, and I’m skipping over quite a few that just didn’t sing to me as much as others. (Matchstick Men was good, but not great for me, for example. Should I give it another shot?)What I’m really looking for is a movie that combines cons, heists, and fun–like Ocean’s Eleven. Cool criminals, but not really awful people.

Okay–I’ve done my best to prime the pump. Now who’s got some suggestions for me?

6 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite Con/Heist Flick?”

  1. I thought MATCHSTICK MEN was way better than BROTHERS BLOOM or DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, but to be fair I didn’t see DRS until recently, so I have no nostalgia for it. It didn’t live up to the hype.

    One of my favorite heist movies was TOPKAPI, and there are a lot of French heist movies like RIFIFI that I really dig. My favorite is probably MAN ON WIRE, which is actually a documentary about a tightrope artist’s quest to illegally walk from the top of one World Trade Tower to another. Surprisingly heist-y, with some very cool, very unique characters.

  2. I’m not horribly movie literate,so I haven’t seen many of these films, but I think Inception’s sci-fi basis isn’t what’s really important. It sticks out from the pack because of its ideas. I’d personally want to read/watch more stories that are just as original in their particular take. It’s something I’m trying to train my own brain to do when I brainstorm new things.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions, all. I recall seeing Gambit, but it’s been a while. Matchstick Men I’ll have to revisit, it seems. Topkapi was fun, and Rififi is now in my queue. I saw Man on Wire and enjoyed it, but felt that the pacing could have been improved. Forgot about Maverick–I should rewatch it.

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