A mastermind assembles a team to execute a well-timed plan and complete a task. That's the heist movie in a nutshell. But there are so many variations on that simple formula, which has made this particular genre endure throughout the decades onscreen. Every film assembles a group, watches them plan everything down to the nitty-gritty details, and then improvise when things inevitably go awry in the moment. The job changes, the team gets serious or bumbles through mishaps, and the mastermind is a seasoned pro looking for one big score or a wise-cracking superstar charming the audience to root for the criminals. From the days of film noir to the glitzy Vegas capers remakes from Steven Soderbergh, here are the basic building blocks of the heist film.

 

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