Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Feature
Become A Heist Films Expert In Ten Easy Movies
Master a genre in just a handful of films

submit to reddit

Playing out like a guns-blazing origin story for every jailhouse drama and prison-break thriller out there, the heist movie is a thread you can pick all the way back to Hollywood’s golden age. Filled with tough guys, grasping palookas, dime-a-dance dames, double-crossing fences and shady masterminds, they cut us adrift in murky worlds where good and bad are often interchangeable. Thanks to minds as devious and elastic as Goldfinger, Gruber and Cobb, great caper movies have given us a few pointers on honing the ultimate raid. Should you ever decide to take down the Bank of England - and we’re not recommending it – here’s our ten-step homework guide to mastering this most noir-tinged of genres and avoiding common pitfalls…

WORDS PHIL DE SEMLYEN
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  1 of 10 Next
Become A Heist Films Expert In Ten Easy Movies | The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Tagline: “The city under the city”

There are two basic rules in the movie heist business: never tell anyone it’s your last job and never ever go along with a plan formulated in prison; if the planner was that smart they wouldn’t have been there in the first place. Sadly, crooked attorney Alonzo Emmerich (Louis Calhern) forgets both when he helps newly-freed mastermind Doc (Sam Jaffe) recruit a group of heistmen to knock off a Midwestern jewellers. The plan isn’t as showstoppingly brilliant as Doc would have it – blowing a hole in the store wall and making off with the ice is hardly Inception – but noir genius John Huston isn’t as interested in the raid as the fate of its participants. Strongarm-man-with-a-heart Dix Handley (Sterling Hayden), a whole mess of contradictions, is our roughhouse guide through an underworld filled with double-crossing, betrayal and whisky glass fatalism. You know it’s not going to end well, but you can’t help riding shotgun anyway.

Iconic moment: The robbery a blood-stained success, Handley and Doc turn up at Emmerich’s house expecting their money. Instead they find he’s brought some muscle of his own.

What to quote: “After all, crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavour.”

Pub trivia: Joseph Mankiewicz spotted the young actress impressing as Emmerich’s mistress and cast her in All About Eve. Her name? Marilyn Monroe.

Further reading… La Citta Si Difende (1951), Rififi (1955), Un Maledetto Imbroglio (1959), Heist (2001)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
 
1 of 10
Next

Have Your Say
Register or login now to let us know what you think.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Hateful Eight - The Story So Far
We delve into the short but tangled history of Quentin Tarantino’s latest

Gallery: Unseen Star Wars Poster Concept Artwork
JW Rinzler takes us through a history of the franchise in jaw-dropping art

The Future Of Film: Lasers Will Save 3D (If Your Cinema Is Big Enough)
Big will be beautiful in the brave new world of frickin' laser beam projection

The Bond Girls Who Made It Big
The actresses who overcame the curse of 007 to forge successful careers

The Future Of Film: A Woman Will Direct Star Wars
No longer a men’s club, Hollywood is going to start opening its doors...

The Empire Podcast #130: Interviews With Rosamund Pike, Lee Child And Antoine Fuqua
The Gone Girl star, Jack Reacher author and The Equalizer director pop in for a chat

The 50 Greatest Voice Performances In Movies
Who has the most talented tonsils in town?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)