Tag Archives: John Cazale

The heist always goes wrong, part 1: ten of the best heist movies ever made

asphalt01I love a good heist film.

I love the genius and intricacy of their plots and the variations they come in, whether it be the all star team assembled for a job or the desperate ex-cons trying for one last score.

But most of all I love them because of the golden rule of all good heist films – for whatever reason, the heist always goes wrong.

What do you need for a good heist?

You need a plan for actual heist itself, the getaway, and moving, storing and fencing whatever it is you’ve stolen. The more complicated the plan, the more likely it is that something will go wrong.

You need a crew of people; one man or woman alone cannot do a heist. This introduces the human element and all the problems that come with it, the greed, suspicions, jealousies and uncertainties.

I’ve been thinking for a while now about what my top ten-heist films would be and the following list, in no particular order, is it.

The robbery itself is almost immaterial to how I rate a good heist film. What I like is the context and atmosphere in which the heist takes place and inevitable problems that arise after it’s been pulled off. And the darker and more broken things get, the better the film is in my book.… Read more

Sydney Lumet: the prince of the New York

Anyone who has an interest in cinema from the fifties, sixties and seventies will by now be well and truly used to logging onto the Internet or picking up the newspaper, to discover that one of their favourite actors or directors has died.

So it was this morning, when I got the news that Sydney Lumet was dead at the age of 86.

Lumet made some crap films and some great films. Mostly he made great films, including Dog Day Afternoon in 1975 and Prince of the City in 1981.

Both films examined corruption and the situation of people trapped in circumstances beyond their control. They also showcased the good and the bad of the director’s beloved New York.

Clocking in at approximately 240 minutes, the much underrated Prince of the City is based on the real life case of New York cop Robert Leuci, or Daniel Ciello as he is called in the film, played by Treat Williams.

Ciello is a member of a special unit of narcotics investigators known as ‘princes of the city’ for the power they wield. Uneasy with some of the corrupt practices going on in his unit, Ciello agrees to help an internal affairs probe.

It’s a complicated, dense, claustrophobic, drawn out story that mirrors the situation facing Ciello.… Read more