The 10 Greatest Bank Heist Scenes in Film History

Nothing beats a great bank robbery scene. The heist film is one of the most reliable subgenres within the broader crime genre, as it is always satisfying to watch the setup, execution and aftermath of a full-scale heist. And banks are perhaps the most common targets in robbery movies like this, since traditionally (perhaps not so much today) they were places where huge sums of money and/or other valuables were kept.


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This isn’t so much an overview of the best heist movies as it is a look at some of the best individual bank robbery scenes in movie history. Some last minutes while some last the whole movie. There are many great non-bank robbery sequences (like jeweler robberies or train robberies) that unfortunately can’t be featured here… but nonetheless, when it comes to bank robberies specifically, the following 10 movies do a great job of picking them up to show the screen.

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“Point Break” (1991)

point break is an iconic 1990s action film about an FBI agent who undercover infiltrates a gang of bank robbers who also enjoy surfing. Much of the drama comes from the fact that the agent (played by Keanu Reeves) likes the people in the gang he’s supposed to take out, especially their leader (played by Patrick Swayze).

point break is quick and stylish when it comes to showing off his bank robbing scene, in a way that feels elevated and entertaining, but also tense and down-to-earth. It’s also memorable that the robbers wear ex-president masks, hence their gang is called “ex-presidents”. Also notable is the robber, who wears a Nixon mask and humorously quips, “I’m not a crook!” during the robbery itself.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

A radical film that helped launch the New Hollywood movement, Bonnie and Clyde follows the short (but haunting) lives of two of the most famous bank robbers in US history. The title characters gained infamy for a series of bank robberies committed in the 1930s, largely because, in addition to their roles as accomplices, they were also partners in the traditional sense.

Meanwhile, there is a bank robbery scene Bonnie and Clyde depicting a chase that takes place afterwards. It goes back and forth between those who react to what’s happening in the bank and the robbers who flee and shows that Bonnie and Clyde was radical both for its style and editing, and for its violence and reasonably likable criminal characters.

‘Dog Day Afternoon’ (1975)

In one of the best films of the 1970s (thanks in part to a phenomenal Al Pacino Perfomance), dog day afternoon essentially depicts a bank robbery gone wrong in unabashed detail that feels almost real-time. As such, it makes for a tense and often stressful two hours, but it’s an immersive experience nonetheless.

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It is a film based on a real bank robbery/hostage situation that took place in 1972. The film has a commitment to realism that at times makes you feel like you’re watching the real event, and it’s the film’s rudeness and refusal to dumb down or sanitize the actual story that is there dog day afternoon such a lasting power.

“The Wild Bunch” (1969)

While The wild bunch It’s best remembered for its phenomenal climactic gunfight, but the similarly explosive opening action sequence shouldn’t be overlooked either. The film establishes its shocking violence and take-no-prisoners approach to the Western genre with an opening bank robbery scene that goes awry and sends the main characters on the run from bounty hunters for the rest of the film.

The robbery even begins with the main character’s famous quip, “If they move, kill them,” referring to the bank teller being held at gunpoint. That ruthless attitude — and the gunfire that spills out into the streets when things go wrong — proves it The wild bunch will not be your average western and will set a tone that the rest of the film flawlessly mirrors.

“The City” (2010)

A directed and starring film Ben Affleck, The town is a film about a gang of bank robbers in Boston and their efforts to evade the FBI agents who are out to get them. It’s an action-packed thrill-seeker movie and features a well-executed bank robbery sequence at the beginning.

It’s also well executed by the robbers themselves, and surprisingly little goes wrong within the scene itself. Of course, things don’t go smoothly for the rest of the film, and one of the hostages they take during the robbery ends up causing unexpected conflict and tension in the otherwise close-knit group, leading to the dramatic events that take place in the rest of the movie

‘Baby Driver’ (2017)

baby driver presents a unique perspective on the bank robbery sequence as the main character, Baby (yes, that’s what they call him) is a getaway driver rather than an actual robber. As such, we viewers can sit in the car with him during the film’s opening sequence, away from the action in the bank, though undeniably related.

While it might not be a good example of a bank robbery scene due to its distance from the actual heist, it makes up for it with the ensuing car chase to escape the cops. It’s stylish, fast, snappy editing, and a genuinely riveting action scene that the film will likely never match (although another chase later in the film, this time on foot, comes close).

“Walking in the Barleycorn” (1979)

A truly underrated crime/dramedy film Walk in style is about three elderly men who one day decide to rob a bank. Their main motivation for doing this is that their lives lack excitement and purpose, and while a bank robbery in the 70’s or 80’s can be risky, it would undoubtedly prove exciting/dangerous and maybe make them feel alive again.

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The actual bank robbery scene ends quite funny as the idea of ​​elderly bank robbers is amusing (even those being held at gunpoint don’t seem too scared). This makes the drama and heartbreak of the second half of the film heavier in contrast as it turns into a surprisingly tragic film towards the end. Due to its balance of crime, comedy and drama, Walk in style is certainly a heist movie (of a kind) that deserves more love.

‘Heat’ (1995)

heat has arguably one of the greatest and most iconic heist sequences in film history. The film skillfully builds on its grand bank robbery sequence and places the same focus on the gang of robbers (led by Robert DeNiro) and the police who are after them (led by Al Pacino) before a very public shooting ensues immediately after the robbery.

It’s a gripping, loud and incredibly intense action sequence, both in terms of the robbery and the ensuing gunfight. The fact that the film mostly manages to keep up the momentum and develop to a memorable climax speaks for it Michael Manns Filmmaking Skills.

“The Dark Knight” (2008)

The dark knight is introduced with an iconic bank robbery sequence, the mastermind of which by Heath Ledgers menacing joker. It’s an immersive scene that immediately throws you into a Gotham disrupted by Batman’s most notorious enemy, creating a level of suspense and unpredictability that is maintained throughout the rest of the film.

It’s also a great introduction to the Joker himself, as he’s shown to be cunning, spontaneous, chaotic, and capable of being on top in eerily effective ways. It’s also unique for a comic book film to start with such a well-founded and (kind of) realistic action scene, but it works wonders by being an efficient mood setter and just a great scene in its own right.

“Within the Man” (2006)

insider seems like a pretty standard bank robbery movie at first. There’s a calculating robber carrying out his plans and taking hostages, and a team of cops from the other side of the law working to defuse the situation, stop the money theft and rescue the hostages.

The film focuses on this seemingly simple heist for most of the time, but eventually it becomes clear that there’s a little more going on than just showing a bank robbery. Saying more would give away what the film is ultimately about, but rest assured, it’s twisty, engaging, clever and counts with the movies Spike Lee’s the most entertaining films.

NEXT: Great heist movies to watch if you liked Ambulance

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Sarah Ridley

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