Sometimes Crime Does Pay

With all the movies and TV shows about cops and catching criminals, you’d think that there’d never be any circumstances that would have us cheering for the bad guys.  After all, they’re breaking the law.  They should be arrested and tried and put in jail.

But clever robberies?  Against some big company or crooked businessman?  Or maybe out-conning a con man who cheated people out of their hard-earned money?  Or maybe stealing for some greater good?  Well, that’s very different.

We really can’t help it.  Sometimes we have to cheer for the robbers and con men and grifters.  It’s all in the context.  Perhaps it’s because we believe the targets or marks deserve to be cheated.  Or perhaps we’re just amazed and impressed by the complexity of the crime and the intelligence of those who plan it and carry it out.  And then we just get involved in the action and hope that our heroes don’t get caught.

Whether the perpetrators are in it for money or justice or revenge, for family or friends – or just to get inside someone’s head -- their adventures are entertaining and intriguing.



  • The Asphalt Jungle                                                                        The Lavender Hill Mob
  • The Bank Job                                                                                   Leverage
  • Bottle Rocket                                                                                    Mad Money
  • Entrapment                                                                                       National Treasure
  • The Great Train Robbery                                                                National Treasure 2
  • How to Steal a Million                                                                     Ocean’s Eleven (1960)
  • Inception                                                                                            Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and sequels
  • Inside Man                                                                                         The Sting
  • The Italian Job (1969)                                                                     The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  • The Italian Job (2003)                                                                     The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Did I miss your favorite?  What movie would you add to the list?