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Greatest Heist Movies: Originals & Remakes

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Well, I’ve got 26 days to go before book launch, and today we’re going to cover a pretty fun topic. After all, who doesn’t love a good heist movie? There have been some great ones…and some not so great ones, of course. But one thing is for sure: Hollywood loves to remake classic heist movies. Here’s a roundup of three of the best, in their original and remade versions.

1. Ocean’s Eleven

The original, made in 1960, was a Rat Pack classic starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., among many others. The storyline featured elaborate casino heists in Las Vegas, and had a stylish feel. Famously, when Peter Lawford first told Sinatra about the script, Sinatra joked “Forget the movie, let’s pull the job!”


The remake was slick, clever, and funny. The details of the plot and characters were changed, but planning a casino heist remained the central issue. I’m a fan of pretty much anything Brad Pitt stars in, and George Clooney too, of course. Put them together, plus the rest of this amazing ensemble cast, and well…to me, this was cinema heaven. One or two other people shared that viewpoint, it seems, as they went on to make Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen.


2. The Italian Job

The original was a British film made in 1969, and starred (of course) Michael Caine. I mean–were there any other working British actors in the sixties? The Italian Job featured some spectacular car chase scenes through gorgeous scenery…including a chase scene involving, yes, gold bullion laden Mini Coopers.


The remake, released in 2003, starred Mark Wahlberg (another actor who holds a permanent spot on my laminated list…you know what I’m talking about), Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, and others. They kept the Mini Cooper chase scene, but changed pretty much everything else, including, sadly, the Italian setting (apart from the opening sequence in Venice).


3. The Thomas Crown Affair

The original was a 1968 film and starred ultra-cool Steve McQueen and stunning Faye Dunaway. The character of Thomas Crown, played by McQueen, was a millionaire businessman who robbed banks in Boston for sport. Faye Dunaway played an insurance investigator.


In 1999 they remade The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Same setup–a millionaire playboy who didn’t need to steal, but instead of robbing banks he was pilfering art, and instead of Boston it was set in New York. Oh, and it included a happier ending for the star-crossed couple.


So, what do you think? How many of these did you see? Did you prefer the originals of these films, or the remakes?

4 Responses to “Greatest Heist Movies: Originals & Remakes”

  1. Simon Bond says:

    My personal favourite is the original Italian Job. An old fashioned “Plucky Brits vs. incompetant continentals”. According to the DVD extra’s the Turin officials were none too happy with their depiction in the film!
    However any film with Steve McQueen in is worth a watch. The Ocean Eleven films are most notable for the ensemble cast than the plot.

  2. […] Greatest Heist Movies (Originals & Remakes) […]

  3. […] Greatest Heist Movies (Originals & Remakes) […]

  4. […] few weeks ago I did a post comparing original heist movies and their remakes (Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job, and The Thomas Crown Affair). Today, I’m […]

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Kim Foster writes YA and adult books about thieves, spies, and assassins. (Read More)

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