Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, out in theaters today, is a joyful slab of pop-movie pleasure, finding the semi-retired director returning not only to feature filmmaking, but to his speciality: the heist movie. Logan’s middle 40-or-so minutes is comprised of a meticulous sequence in which our crew of lovable bandits infiltrate the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and use its network of cash-drop tubes to empty out the secure vault. It’s a blast, as those scenes so often are; the heist sequence is a favorite of filmmakers and audiences alike, who revel in its careful planning, heightened tension, and last-minute audibles. Here are some more of our favorites.
The Asphalt Jungle
John Huston’s 1950 film noir classic is the granddaddy of the modern heist movie, at least in terms of character types and story construction, which finds a rich mastermind hiring a three-man team to crack a jeweler’s safe. The 11-minute job doesn’t have the gimmicks and gymnastics of some of the other scenes on this list, but it does the job with Huston’s customary efficiency – and offered audiences the still-rare sight, in that era of tightly controlled on-screen morality, of criminal types doing their jobs like any other working stiff. (It was okay since, per the screen codes and customs of the time, they got theirs in the end.)