Go West Young Fan: 7 Favorite Classic TV Westerns

In the the late 1940s and 50s when television became popular, TV westerns quickly became a favorite past time for viewers. Examples include The Rifleman, Rawhide, The Roy Rogers Show and Maverick. 1959 was the peak of the TV western with a total of 26 shows on air.

During the 1960s, traditional western shows declined in popularity and new shows that combined western elements with other genres such as family drama, mystery thrillers, and crime drama grew into popularity. The evolution of the TV westerns continues to this day with shows such as Walker: Texas Ranger, Firefly, and Justified carrying the torch.

Here are seven of my favorite classic western TV shows that got the tumbleweed rolling.

1. The Lone Ranger (1949-1957)

Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!

Ignore that horrible film starring Johnny Depp and watch this show. Originally featured on radio, The Lone Ranger went on to TV and continued the adventures of the masked Texas Ranger and his friend Tonto, as they fought injustice wherever they went and and aided those in need. Each episode was full of action, and the interactions between the Ranger and Tonto conveyed their friendship excellently.

The Lone Ranger radio series also inspired a spin off called The Green Hornet (which also became a TV show) that depicted the son of the Lone Ranger’s nephew Dan Reid Jr., who was also featured a few times on the television show.

2. The Rifleman (1958 –1963)

The opening of the show featuring Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas McCain firing Winchester Model 1892 rifle, is widely recognized. As McCain, Connors portrayed a Union Civil War veteran, widower, and single parent to a young boy Mark (played by Johnny Crawford).  McCain is also known for his fast draw with his rifle that’s customized to allow repeated firing by cycling its lever action, enabling him to fire with one hand.

Throughout the run of the show, many episodes dealt with the common theme of second chances. It also showcased McCain’s flaws in how he sometimes didn’t want to give other people second chances.  I also loved his relationship he had with his son Mark. Even when McCain wouldn’t fully show it, viewers could still see the love he had for his son.

3. Wanted Dead Or Alive (1958 –1961)

Steve McQueen stars as Josh Randall a  Confederate veteran and bounty hunter with a soft heart. He doesn’t earn a lot as he often donates the money he receives from his bounties to the needy. He also helps the bounties he’s captured if they’ve been accused falsely.  In addition, Randall settles family feuds, finds long lost family members and much more.

Similar to other westerns, the tone of each episode featured drama and humor in balanced quantities. While Wanted only lasted 3 seasons there are plenty of excellent episodes in each.

 

4. Gunsmoke (1955-1975)

Another radio to TV show, this western drama take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the west, in the post-Civil War era.

The main character of the series is Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness as he enforces law and order in the city. Accompanying Dillon on his adventures are his friends Doctor Galen “Doc” Adams (Milburn Stone), the town’s physician, Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake), owner of the Long Branch Saloon, and Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver), Dillon’s assistant.

Originally broadcast in black and white as a half-hour show, it eventually aired in color as an hour long show. The show remains the longest running prime time series of the 20th century as it ran for 20 consecutive seasons. Gunsmoke was an adult show and in its early years it featured more brutality and violence but later transitioned to focus more on social issues like racism and mental disability. The show shifted the dramatic burden from violent conflict to dramatic conflict.

5. Bonanza (1959-1973)

The second longest running western series was set around the 1860s and centered on the Cartwright family, who lived on their 600,000+ acre ranch called the Ponderosa near Virginia City, Nevada, bordering Lake Tahoe. Each week, viewers watched the adventures of the Cartwright family, led by the widowed patriarch Ben Cartwright and his three sons: Adam, Eric “Hoss”, and Joseph “Little Joe” Cartwright.

The show differed from its counterparts as it focused more on the Cartwright family and how they cared for each other, their neighbors and strangers, and just causes. Bonanza also had the difficult job of being a period drama that attempted to confront and discuss contemporary social issues. Episodes addressed various issues such as the environment, substance abuse, domestic violence, illegitimate births, racism, anti-antisemitism, and much more.

6. The Big Valley (1965-1969)

Set in 19th century Stockton, in California’s Central Valley, the show focused on Victoria Barkley (Barbara Stanwyck), a family matriarch and widower to a wealthy California rancher and her four children.

Stanwyck’s refusal to portray Barkley as fragile was a controversial choice at the time, but it was a good decision and helped the show stand out from amongst its fellow westerns. After the murder of her husband six years prior, Stanwyck’s character becomes the owner and head of the Barkley ranch. She’s very proud of all of her children including her late husband’s illegitimate son, Heath, who she refers to as my son.

Victoria Barkley goes from being a refined elegant lady to a tough jean-clad cowgirl. The episodes she’s featured in were usually dramatic and hard hitting like “Down Shadow Street” in which she was locked away in a lunatic asylum to prevent her from testifying as an eyewitness at a murder trial. In “Four Days to Furnace Hill”, she was taken prisoner by a prison wagon to replace a dead female convict, and in “Earthquake” she was trapped underground following a cave-in.

7. Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983)

This western drama is an adaptation of the best selling Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The show depicts the Ingalls family who live on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota during the 1870s and 1880s. Several themes such as adoption, alcoholism, racism, and blindness were explored as well as subjects such as drug addiction, leukemia, prejudice, and rape, which featured in several different plot lines throughout the show’s run.

Despite it being a drama, Little House also had many comedic moments. Michael Landon who played the Ingalls patriarch Charles, directed and wrote many of the storylines for the show. In fact some of the stories he wrote were recycled plots from his time on Bonanza. For example, season two’s “A Matter of Faith” was based on the Bonanza episode “A Matter of Circumstance”; and season eight’s “He Was Only Twelve” was based on the Bonanza episode “He Was Only Seven”.

These TV westerns stand the tests of time and continue to engage viewers old and new.

What are your favorite TV Westerns? Leave your list in the comments section below or on my Facebook page.

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An Empire State of Mind: 8 Films That Show the Big Apple Love

Today, I’m showing the East Coast some love and giving you eight films that highlight the Big Apple.

1. West Side Story (1961)

A classic take on Romeo and Juliet, this film captures the energy and vibrancy of the city with its multiple dance numbers and songs. It also gives viewers an insight into the immigrant experience.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

This film shows love for the city right away as it opens with a beautiful shot of the World Trade Center buildings that are no longer with us; their presence remains in our hearts. Shots of the subway system and New York’s notorious sewers are in abundance, in addition to the scenes of dark alleyways and street corners since most of the film’s story takes place at night.

3. The Godfather (1972)

One of the many mafia themed films in cinema history, this one is particularly iconic. Throughout the film, there are few exterior shots, as the majority of the scenes are filmed in personal spaces. The intimate moments between the characters introduce New York on a personal level.

4. Men in Black (1997)

New York is a city known for its strange tales and myths, and the fact that this film’s premise features aliens living among the human population unbeknownst to the earthlings makes sense. Watching Agent K and Agent J stop at a magazine stand to scan through the tabloids, because they were a verifiable source of information in finding the alien bug, captures that always mysterious aspect of the city. In addition, there’s a shot of the World Trade Center, and the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion at Flushing Meadows make an appearance, too.

5. 16 Blocks (2006)
From: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/16-blocks-2006

Bruce Willis plays a burnt out N.Y.P.D. detective who is tasked with escorting a witness (Mos Def) 16 blocks to the courthouse. What begins as a simple errand turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse as they’re chased by dirty cops determined to make the witness disappear. This film shows the daily coming and goings of New Yorkers, block by block. We see the diversity of the city dwellers, and the heroic – or villainous – actions made by members of the N.Y.P.D. There’s a message running throughout the film about how people can change, and in a way, that also applies to the city itself.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Only in New York can the story of the rise and fall of a Wall Street stockbroker be told, and boy, is it a doozy of a story! The film showcases that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere  theme of the city while also showing the dark underbelly of New York’s rich, where corruption, lies, and deceit can be found.

7. I Am Legend (2007)

This sci-fi horror film depicts New York City in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic state. Watching Will Smith make his daily rounds through a deserted Manhattan, or waiting during midday at the South Street Seaport really let’s you see the emptiness of the once much too busy city, and the loneliness of Smith’s character is profound.

8. Godzilla (1998)

Yes, I know this isn’t a fan favorite but I love this film! It also showcases New York in its own colorful way. We get shots of some of the city’s landmarks being destroyed or scarred by the Godzilla wannabe. There’s also humor, romance and action and that’s part of the New York way of life.

What are your favorite films that highlight the city that never sleeps?  Leave your comments below or on my Facebook page.

7 Favorite Cult Classics

They’re either so bad it’s good; filled with nostalgia; a beloved B-movie; guilty pleasures; or a combination of all of these descriptions. Cult classics have a special place in every movie fan’s heart. They’ve been around since the early days of cinema, and show no signs of stopping – thank goodness. Here are seven of my favorite cult classics mostly in horror genre:

1. The Crow (1994)

Not only is it a tradition to watch The Crow during Halloween, it’s a film that you can watch over and over again regardless of the time of year. The film’s premise, unique visual style, emotional depth and its tribute to the late Brandon Lee, have contributed to its massive fan base.

2. Battle Royale (2000)

An action thriller adapted from the 1999 novel of the same name, this film reigns supreme among cult classics. Since its debut, it’s developed an international following,  influenced filmmakers, and has been part of the inspiration or copied for films such as Smokin Aces, The Hunger Games, Kill Theory, and The Tournament.

3. The Craft (1996)

This film was released the same year that Romeo + Juliet was. I didn’t see it for the first time until a few years ago, and I fell in love with it instantly.  I’ve never fit in even with groups that I’m supposed to belong to. I  will forever be a weirdo. This movie is perfect and there doesn’t need to be a remake of it ever!  It strays from the cliches of teen films and features darker themes.  It’s a rite of passage for young women and it’s a progressive film.

4. Tank Girl (1995)

I saw this film for the first time ever back in March 2014 and I instantly became a fan. I love Tank Girl’s quips, the action and the comedy. The film was ahead of its time, and when it first came out Tank Girl received negative reviews and was considered a failure at the box office. However, over time, viewpoints have changed and Tank Girl has developed a cult following that won’t ever die.

5. Scream (1996)

Prior to its release, the popularity of the horror genre had waned, and when Scream came out, it screamed new life into the genre. With its well-known cast and a script that made fun of but also embraced the cliched conventions of horror, this film changed the status quo when it came to horror films. Scream made such an impact that many believe its legacy to be the creation of a distinct era of post-Scream horror films.

6. Heathers (1988)

Another example of a film that flopped at the box office but became a cult classic. This film is so messed up that its good. It hacks out what a conventional high school movie is supposed to be and turns it all upside down and inside out. Heathers is dark, cynical and subversive and changed the game for all the teenage-related comedies that came after it.

7. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

This is my first Leonardo DiCaprio film and it came out when I was in 9th grade back in 1996.  At that time I was reading Romeo and Juliet in my English Honors class (shot out to my awesome teacher Dr. Whitnowski) so it just perfect timing.  Aside from that, this film is one of my favorites because of its take on a Shakespeare classic.    Everything about this film makes it wonderful. From the modern setting to the soundtrack and the excellent casting.  John Leguizamo as Tybalt Capulet,  and Harold Perrineau as Mercutio, were standout additions.

Cult classics are an integral part of film, and with their loyal fan base they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.  What are some of your favorite cult classics? Leave your answers in the comments section below or my Facebook page.

10 Unforgettable Movie Homes

Home is where the heart is and that’s especially true in film, where some of the best homes, fictional and real, have appeared on screen and left a big impression on movie viewers’ hearts. Here are 10 unforgettable homes featured in film.

1. The Sheats/Goldstein House

Location: Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills

Films: The Big Lebowski, Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle

Built between 1961-1963 by John Lautner, this home was built right into the sandstone hillside, and was designed to mimic a cave.

2. Ennis House

Location: Los Angeles

Films: Blade Runner, House on the Haunted Hill, The Day of the Locust, and more.

This home was built in 1924 by Frank Lloyd Wright and has been featured in many films, TV shows, and commercials. It became world renowned after it was featured in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner as bounty hunter Rick Deckard’s cyberpunk apartment.

3. Hearst Castle a.k.a Xanadu

Location: San Simeon, California

Film: Citizen Kane

Hearst Castle is the inspiration for Xanadu, the fictional estate of Charles Foster Kane, in the iconic classic Citizen Kane. The house sets the mood as the film opens with a distant image of the home. Allegedly, the fact that Xanadu beared a strong resemblance to Hearst Castle was non-coincidental.

4. Charles Deaton’s ‘clamshell’ house

Location: Denver, Colorado

Films: Sleeper

This home played a leading role in Woody Allen’s sci-fi comedy as the setting 200 years in the future where the protagonist Miles wakes up after being cryogenically frozen. The clamshell house is located on Genesse Mountain and was built by architect Charles Deaton in the early 1960s.

5. Norma Desmond’s mansion
From https://martinturnbull.com/2015/08/03/norma-desmonds-mansion-in-sunset-boulevard-1950-at-641-s-irving-blvd-being-demolished-in-1957/

Location: Beverly Hills, California

Film: Sunset Boulevard

Featured in the classic American noir film, Sunset Boulevard, this home was actually located on Wilshire Boulevard and was specially rented by Paramount from its owner J Paul Getty on the condition that the studio build a pool on the grounds. Unfortunately the house was demolished in 1957 and a 22 story office building took its place.

6. Elrod House

Location: Los Angeles, California

Film: Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Billionaire Willard Whyte’s summer home became the main villain’s headquarters in this James Bond film. The house was also featured in numerous Playboy photo shoots. Built in 1968 by John Lautner, the Elrod House has a rooftop deck, an enormous pool, and a four-car garage.

7. Oakley Court

Location: Windsor , UK

Film: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The House in Nightmare Park, Brides of Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein, Plague of the Zombies, and more.

It’s where they did the time warp… again, and has been featured as Frankenstein and Dracula’s humble abode. Built in 1859 for a Sir Richard Hall, the house became rundown after many years of different owners in 1965, but was purchased by Hammer Film’s Bray Studios. Over 200 films have been shot on the house grounds, but its most recognized as, Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s estate. The house was renovated and now operates as a renown hotel.

8. El Fureidis

Location: Santa Barbara, California

Film: Scarface

Tropical Paradise may be known for its famous inhabitant Tony Montana on film, but its had many famous tenants and visitors like Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Charles Chaplin, and John F. Kennedy. The four bedrooms, nine bathrooms, many Persian gardens, and reflecting pools and terraces was currently for sale since last year for $35 million before dropping to $17.9 million.

9. The Home Alone House

From: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-biz-home-alone-house-may5-photogallery.html

Location: Winnetka, Ilinois

Film: Home Alone

Built in 1921, this Colonial Georgian house, featured in both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, sold for $1.585 million.

10. Zsa Zsa Gabor’s house
From: Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

Location: Los Angeles

Film: Argo

The late old actress’ house was featured in the Oscar winning film Argo. She purchased it in 1970 and it was originally built by Howard Hughes. Even Elvis Presley once owned it.  The home is currently up for sale for the grand ole price of  $23,450,000.

That ends the list. What are some memorable movie homes that caught your eye? Leave your answers in the comments below or over on my Facebook page.

This Post Will Self-Destruct in 18 Seconds: Trivia from the Mission Impossible Film Franchise

Good morning/afternoon/evening, readers.

Since 1996, the Mission Impossible film franchise has been popular with moviegoers and continues to be a hit with its latest addition Mission: Impossible: Fallout.  This sixth film in the franchise was greenlit  several days before its predecessor’s-Rogue Nation- release. It’s the longest film in the franchise (140 mins.) and the first to be released in 3D. Fallout may also be the final film in the franchise, unless Tom Cruise has something to say about it.

Your mission readers, should you decide to accept it, is to learn the following trivia about the film franchise. As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This post will self-destruct in 18 seconds. Good luck readers!

Mission: Impossible I

1. This is the only film in the franchise that doesn’t feature any shootouts or gunfights.

2. The shot of Ethan and Claire kissing passionately shown in the trailer and in the brief excerpts at the start of the film, was never actually featured in the movie.

3. This is the first film to have a release in over 3000 theaters in the USA.

Mission: Impossible II

4. This is the first movie that Metallica ever agreed to write a song for.

5. The part of Mission Commander Swanbeck was originally offered to Ian McKellen. Due to a prior theater engagement in London, he couldn’t accept the role, and the part eventually went to Anthony Hopkins.

6. Actor Dougray Scott was originally set to play Wolverine in X-Men (2000), but had to pull out when the production on this film went longer than expected.

Mission: Impossible III

7. This is the most expensive film ($150 million) ever directed by a first time feature film director.

8. For the role of Lindsey Farris, Scarlett Johansson was initially cast but pulled out of the project and the role eventually went to Keri Russell.

9. Actresses Keri Russell, Michelle Monaghan and Maggie Q have all voiced the superhero Wonder Woman. Russell in Wonder Woman (2009), Q in Young Justice (2010) and Monaghan in Justice League: War (2014).

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol

10. The signature jump-and-hang-in-the-air stunt that Tom Cruise did in the first film was performed again by Jeremy Renner in this film.

11. Tom Cruise’s birthday (070362) is the code that Ethan uses at the payphone to get his latest mission.

12. Actors Anthony Mackie, Christopher Egan, Kevin Zegers, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy were considered to play William Brandt, a role which eventually went to Jeremy Renner.

Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation

 

13. Benedict Cumberbatch was the filmmakers’ first choice to play the film’s villain.

14. This is the first film in the franchise where every member of Ethan Hunt’s IMF team is a veteran of at least one of the previous installments.

15. This is the only Mission: Impossible film to date where the main villain isn’t killed off.

Mission Impossible: Fallout

16. Solomon Lane who played the villian in the previous film Rogue Nation, will also appear in Fallout. Making him the first villain in the franchise to be in two films.

17. Rebecca Ferguson is the first actress in the franchise to appear twice in a leading role. She also was about 7 months pregnant when filming ended.

18. The film had 3000 setups, 13 helicopters, 6 pregnancies, 5 hiatuses, 4 weeks of aerial photography, 3 continents, 2 winters, and 1 broken ankle.

Bonus:

  • With the exception of Fallout & Ghost Protocol, every film in the franchise has had a different director. Brian De Palma directed the first film, John Woo directed the sequel, J.J. Abrams directed M:I III, Brad Bird directed Ghost Protocol. Rogue Nation & Fallout were directed by Christopher Mcquarrie.
  • Out of the directors, only J.J. Abrams & Christopher Mcquarrie are attached to other films in the franchise as producers. Abbrams is a producer for Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, while Mcquarrie is a producer for Fallout.
  • While Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames are the only actors to appear in all six films in the franchise, Simon Pegg has appeared in every movie since Mission: Impossible III.

Source: IMDb

And those are the facts. Got any interesting trivia for the Mission Impossible franchise? Leave them in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Roads: 12 Interesting Facts About the Back to the Future Trilogy

 

On this day July 3rd, 1985, the first of an epic trilogy Back To The Future was arrived in theaters.  It’s been 33 years, here are 12 bits of movie trivia about the trilogy to celebrate.

Back to the Future (1985)

1. Never give up, never surrender

It took being rejected 40 times, before the script was finally approved.

From iCollector.com
2. Fan mail

John DeLorean sent a fan letter to the film’s writers Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, thanking them for using his car in the movie.

3. No piracy

The original script had Doc Brown and Marty sell bootleg videos to fund the time machine. This plot point was removed from the script at Universal’s request as they didn’t want to promote piracy.

4. A common set

Both Gremlins and Back to the Future were filmed at the Universal Studios back lot and used the same set (Kingston Falls from Gremlins).

From http://www.everythingaction.com/2014/06/06/30th-anniversary-gremlins-trivia/

Back to the Future II (1989)

5. Cameo

Elijah Wood made his film debut in the sequel as he played one of the two video game boys Marty speaks to at the start of the film.

6. A production delayed

This film and its sequel Back to the Future III were delayed for 3 years because Robert Zemeckis was working on Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

7. Re-shot

The opening scenes of this film were the closing scenes of the first that were re-shot. Several changes had been made especially in Christopher Lloyd’s delivery of his lines.

8. No driving
Not counting the re-used scene from the first film, this is the only film in the trilogy where Marty doesn’t drive the DeLorean.

Back to the Future III (1990)

9. Accidentally hanged

During the scene where Marty is hanged, Michael J. Fox was accidentally hanged and he was unconscious for a short period of time.

10. Catchphrase exchange.

This is the only film in the trilogy where Marty and Doc Brown exchange catchphrases. Marty says “Great Scott!” and Doc Brown replies “Yeah, this is heavy” as they talk about the tombstone photo.

11. Originally cast

Seamus McFly was originally written for actor Crispin Glover.

12. That first scene

The first scene in this film where Marty goes back to the future in the DeLorean appears in all 3 films.

Source.

And those are the facts. Do you have any interesting trivia to share about the Back To The Future Trilogy? Leave them in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

The Big Score: 10 of My Favorite Captivating Heist Films

The heist film is one of my favorite genres. A subgenre of the crime film, the heist film focuses on the protagonist’s attempts to plan, execute a theft, and the aftermath of their actions. There are many twists and turns in the plot as the characters try to accomplish their goal: getting away with the big score.

Great heist films keep viewers on the edge of their seats with the character’s planning, execution, and the aftermath of the theft. In the history of cinema there have been many excellent heist films. Here are ten of my favorites.

10. Tower Heist (2011)

This heist comedy focuses on employees of an exclusive apartment building who lose their pensions in a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Wall Street businessman Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda). Lead by the building manager Josh Kovaks (Ben Stiller), a small group of the employees and a former tenant enlist the aid of criminal Slide (Eddie Murphy) in order to steal back their money from Shaw.  As the group’s plan begins to take fruition, they must also evade the watchful eye of FBI agent Claire Denham (Téa Leoni) who’s investigating Shaw.

One of my favorite scenes from this film is during the heist when the group attempts to steal Arthur’s car and they have to get it out of the building while the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is taking place outside.

9.  Inception (2010)

Director Christopher Nolan’s film takes the heist genre to another level in this film with the addition of sci-fi thriller elements, as the themes of dreams and reality take center stage in the film.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a professional thief who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets. He’s assigned a task to implant another person’s idea into a target’s subconscious, also known as inception. If he’s successful, his criminal history will be erased and he’ll be able to reunite with his family.

The end keeps viewers guessing on whether DiCaprio’s character’s family reunion is real or nothing but a dream.

8. The Italian Job (2003)

A remake of the 1969 film of the same name, this film stars Mark Wahlberg as Charlie Croker, a thief whose mentor was betrayed and killed by a member of their team. A year later, Croker and his friends have located the traitor (played by Edward Norton) and decide to take back what had been stolen from them.

This film was notable for its excellent use of BMW’s and the then-new line of retro-styled Mini Coopers. Many saw this film as part of a revival of the heist film around the beginning of the 21st century.

7. Fast Five (2011)

With this fifth entry in the Fast and Furious franchise, fans got an epic heist film. Despite its impossible physics action sequences, the film had an awesome memorable scene in which Dom and his family are racing through the streets of Rio pulling a huge safe behind them as they’re chased by Agent Luke Hobbs and the bad guys.

6. Oceans’ 11, Ocean’s 12, Ocean’s 13, & Ocean’s 8

Overall, this is one of my favorite film franchises (perhaps I’ll post an article on that subject in the future).  It’s also a great heist franchise and that’s why it’s on my list.  With the exception of Ocean’s 12-the weakest link of the group-I’ve seen every film. The humor, the planning and execution of the theft(s), and the aftermath that follow are just exceptional.

Each person in the group has a specialty that they’re good at and as such contribute to the  big score in diverse ways. There’s also a code that the group follows and it’s interesting to see how that affects their planning.  But what I enjoy most about these films is  the following.

While we’re watching the group go after a specific target, it’s not till the end  that we discover that in addition to stealing said target the group manages to steal other valuable items which make the successful completion of the heist even more memorable.

5. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Depicting the events before and after a botched diamond heist, this film was director and writer Quentin Tarantino’s debut. The film’s slow motion opening sequence set to “Little Green Bag” by the George Baker Selection, is a favorite scene of mine. One notable and notorious scene from the film is when Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) severs the ear of his hostage. What I liked about this film was how the deception and mistrust affected the characters. While they were close at the start the bond they developed erodes and becomes permanently severed.

4. Inside Man (2006)

This Spike Lee joint focuses on an elaborate bank heist on Wall Street over a 24-hour period that includes the robbers taking hostages. Clive Owen stars as Dalton Russell, the orchestrator of the heist, and Denzel Washington as Detective Keith Frazier, an NYPD hostage negotiator.

What I love about this film is the many twists it takes. The film keeps viewers on their toes as they try to figure out what’s really going on. The long stand off between Russell and Frazier is my favorite part of the film as the two go head to head trying to outdo one another. The tension builds leading to the the big pay off at the end.

3. Hell or High Water

If you couldn’t tell already from my previous posts, Hell or High Water is one of my favorite films, let alone a favorite heist film. The movie’s premise is this: Two brothers commit a series of bank robberies in order to save their family ranch, drawing the attention of two Texas Rangers.If you want to dig more into the reasons why you ought to watch this film, read the following posts:

2. Bonnie and  Clyde

This classic heist film is based upon real-life events and features sex, drama, and of course violence. The most memorable scene of the film comes right at the end. Considered “one of the bloodiest death scenes in cinematic history,” what a death scene it is.  Right before the shooting starts you see Bonnie and Clyde take one last look at each other, knowing that the end is imminent. A landmark film, Bonnie and Clyde’s regarded as one of the first films of the New Hollywood era due to its breaking of cinematic taboos.  It’s also one of the first films in mainstream American cinema to showcase graphic realism.

1. Set It Off (1996)

This film was one of the first heist films I ever watched.  It’s emotional action packed movie that makes you root for the four women-Francesca “Frankie” Sutton (Vivica A. Fox), Lida “Stony” Newsom Jada Pinkett-Smith), Cleopatra “Cleo” Sims (Queen Latifah), and Tisean “T.T.” Williams (Kimberly Elise).  There’s drama, humor, action, and everything you need to enjoy a heist film. As you watch you’re glued to your seat not wanting to move until the film ends. While it starts off slow, the film takes you on a ride that surprise and moves you in ways you didn’t expect.

And that ends my list. Heist films are great stories to watch and there are so many great ones that it’s hard to list them all here. What are your favorite heist films? Leave your list below in the comments.