While we certainly don’t endorse robbery, we just can’t help but admire when a good plan comes together. Or when a plan goes up in flames. When you really think about it, robberies take a lot of preparation and work that pulling one off is no easy feat. And even with all that planning, things can still go wrong and improvisation becomes a new skill needed for the job. There’s more than one kind of heist as well. Sometimes for money, sometimes for diamonds, sometimes for gold, and sometimes for ideas within the human brain. So if you’re in the mood to see some questionable characters steal some loot and your heart, take a look at our 22 picks for the top heist movies on Netflix, dark and comedic, sci-fi and animated.
Last updated: 23 February, 2019.
A misfit crew of unemployed English and Russians is assembled to pilot a submarine for the dangerous mission of pilfering a sunken Nazi U-boat, said to contain a massive amount of gold. Among the crew is Jude Law as a former naval officer that recently lost his salvaging job. But can the mixture of different crew members work together to find the gold lost in the Black Sea? Or will they let their greed allow them to tear each other apart?
Into the Blue
If you like your heist pictures a bit sexier, look no further than Into the Blue. Starring a swimsuit-wearing Jessica Alba and Paul Walker, the two play a couple in the Bahamas who find themselves getting wrapped up in a treasure-hunting adventure with their friends. But when their hunting leads them to a downed plane of cocaine, the diving duo find themselves targeted by drug dealers in this intense and exciting adventure picture.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
The sequel to Marvel’s 2015 Ant-Man, Paul Rudd once again plays thief-turned-hero Scott Lang who finds himself stealing again but for the right reasons. He teams up with scientists Hank Pym and his daughter Hope to track his missing wife who disappeared into the quantum realm. In order to launch this rescue, they need to secretly secure the parts from some shady individuals to make a device that can shrink down far enough to find the woman that has been missing for decades. But they’re not alone as other conspiring forces either desire that technology or want to see all three of them locked away.
You may notice a lot of movie heists tend to be staged during opportunistic moments of a distracting event. And what could be more distracting than a giant hurricane threatening to destroy an entire town? Chances are pretty low law enforcement would be noticing a team of criminals trying to swipe truckloads of cash during such an event. But it’s all the more pleasing to see the good guys fail a bunch of sinister crooks during a chaotic storm raging. And, yes, you will see plenty of scenes of people being suck into the air and cars crashing in this explosive heist picture.
Hayden Christensen and Adrien Brody are two brothers who just can’t stay out of trouble. No more than a few hours out of a prison do they decide to head back into the criminal underworld once more and pull off a major heist. But this heist will be different as far more will go wrong and the brothers will find themselves facing their most dangerous and explosive of jobs.
Ben Affleck plays freshly-released convict Rudy Duncan, deciding to put that life behind him for his best girl Charlize Theron whom he chatted with in prison. But his brother, played by Gary Sinise, is a crazy man who just can’t let that criminal lifestyle go. Sinise seeks Affleck’s experience with casinos so that he and his equally insane crew of criminals can pull off the ultimate heist.
A Philadelphia prep school is struggling to stay afloat and four teenagers believe they have the answer to these woes. And that answer is a heist! Their target is the United States Mint, hoping to make out of there with a scheme of creating limited edition coins to save their school. Based on the young-adult novel by Elisa Ludwig.
Guy Ritchie’s Snatch embodies best that frantic and exhilarating filmmaking with an all-star cast. Jason Statham, Benicio Del Toro, and a word-slurring Brad Pitt all become players in a messy ordeal of bare-knuckle boxing, gangsters, bookies, and a desirable diamond. Fast-paced and brimming with manliness, Snatch is a quotable heist picture that dares you to keep up with it.
Hell or High Water
West Texas is a tough part of the state to make a buck, even for bank robbers. That’s what two brother farmers played by Chris Pine and Ben Foster come to discover through their calculated plans to hit several banks. Hot on their trail are two Texas Rangers played by Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham, with great chemistry and patients. Not only does the film lead to some intense situations of Pine and Foster defending themselves from gun-toting law enforcement and citizens but also has some stinging commentary on how a dwindling economy leads to desperate acts.
Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers star in this black comedy of robberies and old ladies. While a gang prepares their plans of great thievery, they put on the disguise of gentlemen to fool the kindly elderly woman they’re renting a room from. What follows is a plot of security vans, boxing, and a string quintet. Considered one of the greatest British films ever made, screenwriter William Rose admitted to dreaming up the entire story and writing it all down when he awoke.
Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver was two decades in the making and it’s by far his masterpiece of a heist picture. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a getaway driver so skilled with a car he can easily escape a bank robbery with the right playlist on his music player. He adores music and finds himself using it to cope with both being an excellent driver and drowning out his sordid his past. But a life of crime is something he can’t drives away from, especially if he wants to run off with a waitress he adores and save his elderly roommate.
The Castle of Cagliostro
Lupin the Third is known as the greatest thief character of Japanese animation. And while there’s plenty of Lupin movies to choose from, The Castle of Cagliostro is by far the best. Lupin finds himself venturing to the small country of Cagliostro to uncover the evil Count’s counterfeiting scheme. But when he runs into the Count’s bride-to-be, the lovely Clarice, a hidden part of Lupin’s past is revealed. Beautifully animated and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, years before he would helm the award-winning Studio Ghibli.
A Fish Called Wanda
Brits and Americans join forces for a diamond heist. But it’s a robbery that quickly goes south with distrust as seduction and killing witnesses soon mounts to a darkly comedic war of thieves who will do anything to keep the diamonds all for themselves. Written and starring John Cleese, the film boasts an all-star cast that includes the likes of Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Kevin Kline.
Christopher Nolan’s heist film is one that exists within the mind. Or dreams to be more exact. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the leader of a group specializing in mind-dives, where they delve into the dreams of others at attain information. On their latest mission, however, his team will be placing an idea within the mind of a target to change the course of the future. Their journey takes them through multiple levels of the dream world where DiCaprio’s dark past will return to haunt him the deeper he goes.
As the first film of Quentin Tarantino, Reservoir Dogs follows a collective of gangsters teaming up to rob a jewelry store. Few know each other and keep it that way by only referring to each other by colors. But this secretive nature proves that one of them is a rat when the robbery goes wrong. Told non-linearly and with a classic 1970s soundtrack, the picture boasts a bold cast that includes Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steven Wright, and even Tarantino himself.
The Usual Suspects
A multi-million dollar heist ends with a murder and an explosion. One witness survives and gives the cops a name: Keyser Soze. Now it’s up to a detective to question five different men involved with the heist to discover who this mysterious crime lord Keyser Soze really is. But does he even exist? Featuring a top-notch cast, The Usual Suspects is not only an intriguing mystery but features one of the most iconic twist endings of any heist picture.
Dog Day Afternoon
Based on P. F. Kluge’s LIFE Magazine article “The Boys in the Bank,” Dog Day Afternoon stages a dramatic robbery and hostage situation by John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturale. The two are played by Al Pacino and John Cazale and while both are fantastic in the film, it’s ultimately Pacino that dominates the picture for his loud motivation of shouting “Attica!” at the crowds surrounding the bank. Not only is the film intense and engaging but brilliantly directed by the great Sidney Lumet that we’ll bet you didn’t even notice the lack of music.
The devilish minds of Robert Redford and Paul Newman come together with an elaborate plan to make a lot of money fast. In order to get revenge on a crime boss played by Robert Shaw, the two stage a betting parlor in hopes of coaxing Shaw to bet and lose it all. But things don’t exactly according to plan and both Redford and Newman will have to act quickly if they want the sting to proceed.
Michael Mann’s Heat is certainly the director’s masterpiece of an action picture for both its personal appeal of the characters and the most unforgettable shootout in movie history. Robert De Niro plays a hardened criminal and Al Pacino is the pursuing cop. Both have personal problems within their lives they try to conquer before converging at a robbery where the stealing itself goes off without a hitch but the escape turns into a loud and brutal gunfight in the streets of downtown Los Angeles.
While the original Ocean’s Eleven does feature the immortal Rat Pack, we’ve gotta give it to Steven Soderbergh for turning in a more refined heist picture with an A-list cast. The likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts come together with the ultimate casino heist with a large number of players. Soderbergh’s film was so strong that it led to two sequels (Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen) as well as the all-female spin-off movie, Ocean’s 8.
The Italian Job
Michael Caine plays a world-class criminal that has set his sights on gold in Italy. The pilfer these valuable ingots, he assembles a team to stage a traffic jam with some sexy cars. But given that the mafia is involved, Caine is going to have his hands full with a full-throttle robbery of computer hacking, fancy driving, and one heck of a surprising ending.
A mysterious briefcase becomes of great interest to Natascha McElhone, hiring the talented thieves of Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, and Stellan Skarsgard to pull off this task. Their heist takes a distrusting route where backstabbing is suspected around every corner. While the film plays with a lot of tension, the most memorable aspect is by far the fast-paced and exciting car chase down tight streets.