The 3 Best Heist Movies (That Stole From Other Heist Movies)

It’s the perfect crime!

Now You See Me is out now, and it’s a heist movie that features magicians teaming up to rob banks. While we’re not sure that “Penn & Teller Go Bank Robbing” is the best idea for a heist, we applaud it for at least being original, unlike these ideas:

The Dark Knight Heists Its Heist From Heat

Photos: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Joker is guilty of a lot of crimes: Theft, vandalism, murder, terrorism, tampering with fish, and more. But you can add one more to the list: copyright infringement. Why? Because The Joker’s bank heist in the opening of The Dark Knight bears an uncanny resemblance to the main heist scene from Michael Mann’s Heat. Both are shot in a remarkably similar way, with long, quiet, sweeping shots inside modern, big-city banks with virtually identical vaults, all tinged with an unsettling blue hue and fraught with tension thanks to the pulse-quickening score. The gangs themselves even have similar methods – precise timing, heavy intimidation, masks, and a penchant for large, black, cash-stuffed duffel bags. Hell, both gangs even have to tangle with this guy! Honestly, we’re a bit surprised the Joker chose to steal from Heat. If anything, we’d imagine he’d be a fan of A Clockwork Orange or Natural Born Killers, but maybe he just enjoyed watching former Batman Val Kilmer sport that horrible ’90s ponytail.

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Reservoir Dogs Heists Its Characters From The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Photos: Miramax Films / United Artists

Quentin Tarantino sure does love referencing other movies when it comes to naming his characters: “Django” was a name lifted from an old spaghetti western; Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz (from Inglourious Basterds) was the name of a Mexican B-movie actor in the ’70s; and for Reservoir Dogs, the device of naming criminals after colors was ripped off of (sorry, “was an homage to”) The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. The thieves from Reservoir Dogs are Mr. Orange, Mr. Brown, Mr. Blue, Mr. Blonde, Mr. White and, of course, Mr. Pink. In The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, a heist surrounding a subway car is led by Mr. Blue, along with Mr. Green, Mr. Grey, and Mr. Brown (lucky for them, no one got stuck with Mr. Pink). Along with the color-coded crooks and a heist-gone-bad, only one of each gang survives through to the end of each movie: Mr. Green in the case of Pelham, and Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs (although his status is certainly in question). Fortunately, only one of the two ended with Harvey Keitel’s uncomfortable man-sobs. 

The Fast and the Furious Heists Its Entire Plot From Point Break

Photos: Universal Pictures / Twentieth Century Fox

Other moviemakers are content to steal character names, scenes, or some basic plot points, but for The Fast and the Furious, virtually every part is cribbed from the 1991 heist movie Point Break. Here’s just a few things these movies have in common: In Point Break, Keanu Reeves is an undercover FBI agent who is investigating the surfing culture in relation to a series of robberies. In The Fast and the Furious, Paul Walker is an undercover cop who is investigating the underground racing scene in relation to a series of robberies. Keanu falls in love with a waitress who is a friendly ex-girlfriend of head baddie Patrick Swayze. Paul Walker falls in love with a waitress who’s the sister of head baddie Vin Diesel. After initially being suspicious of him, Swayze accepts Keanu after they bond over a dinner of shrimp and fries. And, after initially being suspicious of him, Vin Diesel accepts Paul Walker after they bond over a dinner of…guess what? Shrimp and fries! Both protagonists get caught up in their investigations over the course of the movie, torn between what’s right and protecting their new friends, to the point where both investigators let the bad guy go at the end. Who knows, if Swayze had ditched his surfboard for Vin Diesel’s Dodge Charger, maybe he would’ve made it to New Zealand after all…

Want more movies? Check out 5 Post-Apocalyptic Movie Scenarios We Wouldn’t Mind Living In and The 6 Most Surprisingly Sequel-y Movies.