Critically acclaimed new crime drama Hell or High Water focuses on two destitute brothers compelled to steal from the bank that ruined their lives. With standout performances from Chris Pine and Ben Foster as the criminal siblings, plus Jeff Bridges as the Texas Ranger who vows to bring them in, it's been hailed as one of the year's finest films.
In anticipation of the movie's release this Friday, we look back at other classic robbery movies and explore the formula for committing the perfect heist. Will your favourites be in there? Scroll down to find out.
WARNING: CONTAINS SOME STRONG LANGUAGE
What it teaches us: The importance of professionalism
The lowdown: One simply cannot proceed without a carefully assembled team working in absolute harmony. Michael Mann's epic crime masterpiece gets into the nitty-gritty of committing a heist like no other, as Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore's characters storm a Los Angeles bank and claim their loot without a single shot being fired. Of course it all goes rapidly downhill after that with possibly the greatest shootout in film history, but there's no denying this team's ingenuity.
What it teaches us: The art of deception
The lowdown: Pulling off a robbery is one thing – but if you don't have a decent cover story you're on the way to the slammer already. Alexander Mackendrick's masterful Ealing comedy is the story of a group of thieves who masquerade as a musical quartet within the lopsided house of a sweet old lady, one who unwittingly ends up getting the better of her looting lodgers.
Of course the gang, led by a superbly creepy and toothy Alec Guinness, can't play a single note of music but that's where the clever part comes in: whilst planning the heist, they put their instruments aside and play a recording of Boccherini's Minuet (3rd movement) from String Quintet in E, Op. 11 No. 5. Now that's forward-planning.
What it teaches us: The value of cardio
The lowdown: Kathryn Bigelow's classic nineties action-thriller starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves is a slice of prime cheese – and puts last year's lamentable remake to shame. It also puts a nifty spin on the usual bank robbery formula as the culprits are in fact expert surfers and skydivers, reinforcing the importance of fitness to the bank-robbing lifestyle. After all the gang, named the Ex-Presidents for the masks they wear, are famed for getting in and out within a mere 90 seconds.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
What it teaches us: That clear communication is essential
The lowdown: Let's face it, if you're trying to pull off a bank robbery and your victims can't follow clear instructions, you've got problems. This seminal, freewheeling sixties comedy marked the first megastar pairing between Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the affable Wild West outlaws, both veteran bank robbers – until they relocate to Bolivia that is, where they realise their lack of Spanish is a distinct issue. Advance preparation and communication is absolutely essential to succeed.
What it teaches us: The value of a great disguise
The lowdown: If there's even the slightest inkling that your identity has been revealed during a heist, that's it. There's a jail cell all lined up with your name on it. That's why an all-over disguise is the best way to prevent such an occurrence. The crims at the centre of Ben Affleck's terrific Boston-set drama, his second movie following Gone Baby Gone, at one stage adopt nuns outfits in a manner that's perhaps rather fitting, given the Catholic Irish heritage inherent in the movie's setting.
Of course, it all goes wrong for the guys in this particular movie but therein lies the moral: don't break the law, kids!
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