Can You Identify the Heist Movie From One Image?


By: William J. Wright

7 Min Quiz

Image: Universal Pictures

About This Quiz

From the silent era to the digital age, Hollywood has been fascinated with crime. From impossible jewel heists to daring bank robberies, big capers equal big box office receipts. Whether played for laughs, high drama or action, crime pays big dividends in the film industry. Allowing audiences to vicariously live out their more nefarious fantasies on the silver screen, the heist picture is the dark side of escapism. Just imagine getting away with that rare art piece, those precious jewels or that huge pile of cash. In the dark of the theater, we all get to be criminal masterminds for a little while. This kind of heist film tells us big crime is sexy, and, if you're just clever enough, you can get away with it.

Then, of course, there is the other kind of heist movie — the kind where everything goes wrong in a spectacularly dramatic and often violent fashion. Whereas the comedic or more action-oriented heist film presents the audience with an essentially victimless crime, the dramatic heist picture shows us the bloody flipside of pulling off a big caper. In this type of film, the unsavory side of human nature takes over, and that perfect criminal team succumbs to greed and suspicion. 

So, whether you like your cinematic crimes gritty and action-packed or light and comedic, we have a challenge for you. This quiz gathers a collection of heist movies of all stripes, from comedies to dramas. Can you get away with identifying them all?

Can you name the silent film that holds the distinction of being both the first real American Western film and one of the earliest heist movies?

Although it misses being the first heist movie by a few months (that title goes to "A Daring Daylight Burglary"), 1903's "The Great Train Robbery" by Edwin S. Porter is one of the earliest examples of the form. Based in part on a popular 1896 play, the film is a groundbreaking work of early cinema.


When an aging flight attendant is faced with either prison or certain death, she flips the script on both the cops and the crooks. Can you name this stylish 1997 crime film?

"Jackie Brown," based on Elmore Leonard's 1992 novel "Rum Punch," was Quentin Tarantino's stylish and comparatively sedate follow-up to "Pulp Fiction." True to Elmore's work with plenty of Tarantino's signature touches, "Jackie Brown" is an underappreciated gem. Pam Grier sizzles in the title role.


Can you name this 1988 heist comedy that includes two members of Monty Python in its cast?

1988's "A Fish Called Wanda" was written by and co-stars Monty Python's John Cleese. Featuring a stellar ensemble cast, including Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and Cleese's Python cohort Michael Palin, this comedy crime film is a hilarious and, at times, surreal take on the heist movie subgenre.


This 1963 film is as celebrated for its opening credits and theme song as it is for its brilliant cast. Can you name this heist film that spawned a franchise?

With the impact that the cartoon character known as the Pink Panther and his iconic theme music have had on pop culture, it's easy to forget that they began in the opening credits of Blake Edwards' 1963 film. The Pink Panther of the film and its sequels is a magnificent diamond with a feline flaw.


Do you know the title of this film loosely based on the notorious 1971 Baker Street heist?

2008's "The Bank Job" by director Roger Donaldson is (very) loosely based on the famous 1971 robbery of Lloyds Bank in central London. Saffron Burrows stars as a drug smuggler who strikes a deal with MI5 to retrieve compromising photos of a member of the Royal Family from a deposit box.


Frank Sinatra's going to make a bundle in Vegas without singing a note in this 1960 heist flick. What's the title of this cinematic caper?

Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford gather nine of their wartime pals from the elite 82nd Airborne to pull off a New Year's Eve robbery of five Vegas casinos in "Ocean's 11." Also starring Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., this film features the legendary Rat Pack at their stylish best.


Paul Newman and Robert Redford are a pair of impossibly handsome con men with a scheme to break a mob boss in this 1973 movie. Can you name this award-winning caper film?

Director George Roy Hill re-teamed with his "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford for 1973's "The Sting." Newman and Redford star as a couple of grifters who concoct a scheme to con the Irish mobster (Robert Shaw) responsible for the death of their friend.


Can you name this futuristic take on the heist film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio?

Christopher of "The Dark Knight" fame wrote and directed this sci-fi variation on the heist formula in 2010. Starring Leonardo Dicaprio as a thief who can extract secrets from a target's subconscious, "Inception" is a unique inversion of typical heist movie tropes.


A group of American soldiers attempts to make off with stolen Kuwaiti gold in the days after the Gulf War in this 1999 film. Can you name it?

"Three Kings" walks a line between heist film and war movie. Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze as a group of bored American soldiers who attempt to steal Kuwaiti gold in the days after the end of Desert Storm, this film is unlike any other war or heist film ever made.


Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw are on the run from the cops and a crooked Texas businessman in this 1972 heist movie. Can you identify it from this picture?

Directed by Sam Peckinpah with a script by Walter Hill, "The Getaway" stars Steve McQueen as a convict who, through the machinations of a crooked businessman, gets early parole in exchange for doing a bank heist. Doublecrossed and desperate, McQueen and his wife (Ali MacGraw) go on the run.


A music-obsessed getaway driver is forced into one last job by his criminal mastermind boss in this 2017 thriller. Can you name it?

Edgar Wright, best known for the 2004 zombie laugh-fest "Shaun of the Dead," directed this action-packed heist film starring Ansel Elgort and Kevin Spacey. A long-percolating passion project, Wright conceived this Atlanta-based crime epic when he was only 21.


A gang of anonymous crooks has a traitor in its midst in this indie favorite from 1992. Can you name this film?

1992's "Reservoir Dogs," starring Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi and Tim Roth, was filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's debut feature film. Detailing the prelude and bloody aftermath of a diamond heist, the film focuses on a gang of anonymous crooks that has both a cop and a psychopath in its midst.


A squad of misfits goes AWOL on a mission to retrieve gold from behind enemy lines in this World War II film. Can you identify it from this screenshot?

An audacious blend of war film and heist movie, "Kelly's Heroes" features an ensemble cast led by Clint Eastwood. Subversive and violent with a wicked wit, "Kelly's Heroes" treads some familiar territory in innovative ways. Although it takes place during WWII, its ethos lies firmly in the 1970s.


Clint Eastwood is a bank robber with a unique method of cracking vaults in this 1974 film. Can you name it?

Action star Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges make an unlikely duo in "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot." Eastwood is a bank robber called the Thunderbolt, whose modus operandi is cracking vaults with an anti-tank gun. With Thunderbolt's old gang on his tail, Lightfoot (Bridges) makes a dangerous proposition.


A bank heist turns into a chaotic hostage situation in this 1975 film starring Al Pacino. What's the name of this film?

Loosely based on the true story of bank robber John Wojtowicz, "Dog Day Afternoon" stars Al Pacino as a first-time bank robber intent on getting the funds to pay for his partner's sexual reassignment surgery. The robbery becomes a hostage situation when he discovers the bank only has $1,100 on hand.


This is the only heist film where you can see Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter rob a bank. Can you identify it from this image?

Patrick Swayze stars as a zenned-out surf guru who leads a gang of bank robbers known as the Ex-Presidents in this 1991 crime film. It's up to undercover cop Keanu Reeves to bring the gang down from the inside. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, "Point Break" is a deceptively complex study of friendship.


Do you know the title of this heist comedy that stars Robert Redford as the leader of a gang of jewel thieves who just can't keep their hands on a valuable African diamond?

"The Hot Rock," based on a novel by Donald Westlake, stars Robert Redford as the leader of a gang of thieves who just can't get it together. After plotting an increasingly complex and costly caper to steal a valuable diamond, Redford and his crew keep losing the gem in a series of misadventures.


Can you name this comedic heist film in which a couple of thieves use music to time their robberies?

"Hudson Hawk" stars Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello as a pair of expert safecrackers who get roped into an elaborate art heist scheme. A bomb with both critics and audiences, the film's slapstick style failed to connect with Willis' huge post-"Die Hard" fanbase.


Do you remember the title of this 1981 heist drama that stars James Caan as an expert jewel thief?

1981's "Thief" was the first film directed by Michael Mann of "Miami Vice" fame. The film stars James Caan as an expert jewel thief who's looking to settle down to a life of legitimacy. Naturally, the mob has other plans for him.


A mysterious crime lord is pulling the strings in this 1995 crime thriller. Do you know the title of this film?

Bryan Singer's critically acclaimed 1995 film "The Usual Suspects" focuses on the police interview of Verbal Kint, a survivor of a violent showdown on a mysterious crime lord's boat. Kint regales the cops with a complex story of heists gone wrong, murder and deceit. However, nothing is as it seems.


Three disgruntled auto workers hatch a plot to rob their union in this 1978 film. Do you know the title?

"Blue Collar" marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Paul Schrader. Harvey Keitel, Richard Pryor and Yaphet Kotto star as auto workers disillusioned by abusive management and their union. When their plot to rob the union's safe uncovers corruption, they find themselves turning on each other.


Do you recognize this intense heist film that features two stars from "The Godfather Part II"?

Michael Mann's 1995 high energy heist epic "Heat" stars Robert De Niro as a career bank robber planning one last job before he leaves the criminal life. Al Pacino co-stars as a cop determined to take him down. Although the two are on opposite sides of the law, they come to respect one another.


Can you ID this 1950 heist movie?

"Armored Car Robbery," directed by Richard Fleischer, deviates from the usual heist movie pattern by portraying its criminals as anything but sympathetic. Focusing instead on a Los Angeles cop in pursuit of the robbers who killed his partner, this film is a violent reminder of the wages of crime.


Michael Caine is a cockney ex-con with a great idea in this action-packed comedy from 1969. Can you name it?

1969's "The Italian Job," starring Michael Caine in one of his most celebrated roles, is a tour de force of action and comedy. Caine and his crew of drivers make off with $4 million in gold with the help of Benny Hill, who plays, of all things, a computer expert. The ending is a literal cliffhanger!


Can you name this French film about a pair of film-obsessed wannabe crooks who convince a fellow student to help them boost a pile of cash?

"Band of Outsiders" (original French title "Bande à part") is a prime example of the French New Wave style. Directed by critic-turned-filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, "Band of Outsiders" is a celebration of American B-films and a unique blend of comedy, romance and tragedy. This one's a must for cinephiles.


Sterling Hayden stars as an ex-con who recruits a gang of small-time crooks to steal a fortune in jewels; things don't go well. Can you name this film noir heist picture?

A blueprint for later heist-gone-wrong pictures like "Reservoir Dogs," "The Asphalt Jungle," directed by filmmaker John Huston, strikes a near perfect balance between characterization and plot. Based on W.R. Burnett's novel of the same name, "The Asphalt Jungle" is a noir masterwork.


Audrey Hepburn hires Peter O'Toole to steal a forged sculpture in this stylish 1966 heist comedy. Can you name it?

Audrey Hepburn stars as the daughter of an art forger in the heist comedy "How To Make a Million." When her father's (Hugh Griffith) faked Venus statue winds up in a Paris museum, she hires professional thief (Peter O'Toole) to steal it back.


Four desperate women turn to bank robbery in this 1996 film. Can you name it?

"Set It Off" stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Queen Latifah and Kimberly Elise as four women who turn to bank heists to support their families. One of only a handful of crime films to focus on women, "Set It Off" represents a welcome change to a male-dominated genre.


Do you recognize this 1968 heist picture, starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway?

Steve McQueen stars as businessman Thomas Crown in Norman Jewison's Academy Award nominated "The Thomas Crown Affair." When millionaire Thomas Crown plots a successful bank robbery as a lark, insurance investigator Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway) engages him in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.


Alec Guinness is a bank clerk with a supposedly perfect plan to heist a shipment of gold bullion in this classic British film. Can you name it?

1951's "The Lavender Hill Mob," directed by Charles Crichton, stars Alec Guinness as a detail-oriented bank clerk with a flawless scheme to steal a shipment of gold. Faced with the difficulty of smuggling it out of Britain, he has it melted and cast into Eiffel Tower statuettes.


A suave criminal's sister plans an all-woman heist in this franchise spinoff. What is it?

Director Steven Soderbergh breathed new life into the heist subgenre with his remake of 1960's "Ocean's 11" and its subsequent sequels. In 2018, Soderbergh produced "Ocean's Eight," a distinctly feminine variation on the formula, starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway.


Do you know the name of the quirky heist film that introduced the world to filmmaker Wes Anderson?

In 1996, Wes Anderson burst on to the indie film scene with "Bottle Rocket." Introducing brothers Owen and Luke Wilson, "Bottle Rocket" is an eccentric heist film featuring many of the distinctive touches that would mark Anderson's later work.


Can you name this 1974 film in which Charles Grodin and Candice Bergen are out to beat "The System" with the help of inside man James Mason?

"11 Harrowhouse" stars Charles Grodin as a diamond merchant who's blackmailed into robbing a fortress-like diamond exchange house called "The System." He enlists the aid of his girlfriend (Candice Bergen). The pair are successful, thanks to the help of their terminally ill inside man (James Mason).


Humphrey Bogart is hired to plan one last heist for an aging mobster in this thriller from 1941. Can you name it?

With a screenplay co-written by famed filmmaker John Huston, "High Sierra" finds Bogey in a typical tough-as-nails role as ex-con Roy Earle. Nearing the end of his career, mob boss Big Mac (Donald MacBride) hires Earle to pull off one last job. When it all goes wrong, Earle flees to the desert.


Do you recognize this 1995 heist film starring Larenz Tate and Chris Tucker?

Sibling filmmakers Albert and Allen Hughes produced and directed this 1995 film about a psychologically scarred Vietnam veteran (Larenz Tate) who returns home to a life of economic desperation. Circumstances go from bad to worse when he robs an armored car with a revolutionary militant group.


Many critics consider this French film to be the greatest heist movie of all time. Can you ID it from this image?

"Rififi" is the story of an aging and broke jewel thief who assembles a crew and an elaborate plan to break into a Parisian jewelry store. Directed by blacklisted American director Jules Dassin, the film is memorable for its elaborate, nearly silent half-hour heist sequence.


Can you name this 1964 film that centers on an elite group of master criminals and their plot to steal a jewel encrusted dagger?

1964's "Topkapi" is a treasure trove of heist movie tropes. A crew composed of a criminal mastermind, a mechanical genius, an acrobat and a strongman steal a jewel encrusted dagger from a Turkish museum, but they're drawn into international intrigue when their unsuspecting fall guy is arrested.


Can you identify this classic French heist movie?

When a charismatic gambler hits a losing streak, he hatches a plot to rob a casino during the Gran Prix in "Bob le flambeur." One of the earliest examples of French New Wave style, this film from director Jean-Pierre Melville is a noir heist classic that packs a visual punch.


A pair of bumbling thieves concoct a plan to tunnel into a pawn shop in this 1958 comedy heist film from Italy. Can you ID it?

Mario Monicelli's "Big Deal on Madonna Street" is one of the greatest caper films of all time and a prime example of Italian comedy. Essentially a poor man's "Rififi," it parodies the neorealism of Italian film of the era. A smash hit in Italy, it is a favorite among critics and fans everywhere.


Do you remember this film noir heist film from director Stanley Kubrick?

"The Killing" is Stanley Kubrick's third feature film. Released in 1956, it stars Sterling Hayden as Johnny Clay, a career criminal who's planning one last score before marrying. Clay plans to rob the counting house of a racetrack, but greed, pride and bad luck seal the fate of his crew.


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