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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Top 10 Movie Crimes of All Time

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This year Sundance's Next Fest is celebrating

the 25th anniversary of Reservoir Dogs by giving their Vanguard Award to Tarantino.

And we're celebrating along with them with an even bigger honor,

a spot on one of our lists.

Specifically, reverse engineer for prime inclusion.

Take that, Sundance!

These are the top ten movie crimes of all time.



So to organize our 10 we're going to break down the best crimes by part honoring

the best plan, the best team, the best get away, the best cover up in the light.

So first up before you get the crime you gotta have a motive.

Maybe this is just Ala Boondock Saints or revenge as in Blue Ruin.

Maybe it's love or lust or family.

Bronson commits crime to get back to jail.

Mr. Brooks to give his daughter an alibi.

Thomas Crown because he's bored.

Brody for the rush.

Lenard to keep the guilt at bay and

M's Peter Laurie because of the torment inside.

However, for our first pick, we're going with Sunny's reason for

stealing from Dog Day Afternoon.

- You're in that hospital dear.

With all them tubes coming out, you want that operation right.

You're giving me that, everyone's giving me,

everybody needs money, you know what I mean.

So, you needed money, I got you money.

That's it.

- Yeah, well I didn't ask you to go and rob a bank.

- Now, I know you didn't ask me.

I know you didn't ask me.

Look, I wanna, you know, I'm not putting this on anybody, you know?

Nothing on nobody, I did this on my own.

- Sonny is out for money for his partner's sex change that he wouldn't even want.

But instead of a punchline or a caricature,

this improbable motive by an incompetent thief, based on a true story,

in the hands of Pacino and Sarandon, becomes utterly moving and sympathetic.

It is an immensely honest look at crime in the strangest of circumstances.

Never faltering for a plot point or a shocking twist or a cheap laugh, but

compassionate and honest to the core.


Once you have a motive, you have to craft a plan.

Done iconically in 'The Killing', charmingly in 'Brothers Bloom',

opaquely in 'The Sting', sneakily in 'Die Hard'.

And on and on to great fun and effect in 'Dial M for Murder',

'Strangers on a Train', 'White Heat', and 'Murder on the Orient And express.

However, for our second pick,

we think Gone Girl's spoiler-filled crime of a century takes the cake.

- To fake a convincing murder, you have to have discipline.


You befriend a local idiot.


Harvest the details of her humdrum life.

And cram her with stories about your husband's violent temper.

Secretly create some money troubles, credit cards, perhaps online gambling.

You need to package yourself so that people will truly mourn your loss.

- Revealed like a landmine halfway through its execution, there is something

intimidatingly brilliant about both the plan and its author.

Obsessively and

meticulously listed and journaled and calendared the stationary budget of

the logistics arm of the operation alone would dwarf the take of lesser schemes.

Planning prowess is usually the land of the caper in the heist,

but gone girls frame up job is just about insane as its

master - Mastermind.

And we get an all access backstage pass to its neurotic brilliance

in the cinematic equivalent of How To Pin A Murder On Your Husband For Dummies.

(Sound) Now unless your lone wolfing it, which tons of great crime films do,

after the plan it's time And to assemble the team.

These are odd couples, like those in Collateral, Natural Born Killers,

and Leon.

And they're super teams, like those in Inception, The Asphalt Jungle and Topkapi.

The Rat Pack is just about as classic as they come in Ocean's Eleven, however for

our number 8 pick, we're actually going with Ocean's Eleven.

- You'd need at least a dozen guys doing a combination of cons.

But what do you think?

- Off the top of my head, I'd say you're looking at a Bowski, a Jim Brown,

a Miss Daisy, two Jethros and a Leon Spinx.

- Not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever.

- While Clooney may be no Sinatra and Brad Pitt is certainly no Dean Martin.

What they lack in Vegas golden age lounge singing cred,

the rest of the team makes up for in depth.

Because while our Oceans 11 sports a varied cast of almost a dozen

uniquely ridiculous felons.

Oceans 11 is basically just the Rat Pack in the six who?

So, sure, we're not winning any award for out of the box thinking for this pic.

But as its name suggests Oceans Eleven's main conceit and

source of joy it it's a legendary team, dedicating its

best parts to the recruitment, management, and fraternal in fighting of the team.

And honestly, we just kind of love it.


The team is in place and the plan is set, but now it's time to prepare.

Done brilliantly in the original Italian Job, Ronan, Taxi Driver, Thief,

The Score and Heist.

Great films have been populating their second acts with this simmering build up

almost as long as they've been committing crime.

But for our favorite prep work,

there's something wonderfully twisted about Ichi the Killer.


- (Foreign)

- (Foreign)

- (Foreign)

- (Foreign)

- (Foreign)

- So yeah, Egui the killer is (Bleep)

insane, and that goes for both the movie, the man, and the preparation.

Takashi Mekai,

legendary Japanese film maker into whose brain we would very much not like to

Being John Malcovich ourselves, sets up an assassination plot that involves some kind

of sadomasochistic nature and killing - Candidate memory implantation to turn

the normally mild mannered but perverted Ichi into a homicidal maniac.

So, what can we say?

In terms of pure balls to the wall creativity, you gotta give it to Ichi,

because this (Bleep) is nuts.


Before we barrel head-first into the act of crime itself,

let's not lose sight of one last key element.

The objective, the score, the victor, the goal.

This is the biggest diamond you could ever imagine in

- In Snatch, or

kidnapping one's own wife in Fargo.

It's the world's best MacGuffin in The Maltese Falcon,

and a vicious decapitation of parking meters in Cool Hand Luke.

Absconding with a quintuplet in Raising Arizona because they'll hardly miss

one is a hilarious hall.

But for our number six pick, we're just a little more partial to Inside Man's'take.

- Then the robbers disappear, poof.

And they don't take a nickel, right?

- You're asking me?

- Yes, I'm asking you.

I mean, it's your bank.

You own it. I'm asking you.

- It's a tiny part of our organization.

- No robbers, no real victims, no loot missing.

Gotta be the first time in law enforcement history.

- I never heard of it before.

- So you gotta ask yourself, what the (Sound) happened, don't you, Mr. Cason?

- The film was such a brilliant plant to commit such a well thought out

- Crime with such fantastic cop and

robber, cat and mousery walking out of the bank one week later with a pocketful of

precious stones would be enough for

us to fully enjoy the ride of puzzling through the what and the how.

But is often forgotten they why involves a most peculiar asterisks, secret evidence

of Nazi collusion in the form of a stolen diamond ring left as a gift to Denzel for

the Office of War Crimes committee.

(Sound) Halfway through our list and it's finally time for the crime itself.

The execution of how brilliantly the act is carried out.

This leads us to the clockwork bank robbery of Heat, the silent criminal

symphonies of La Cercle Rouge and Rififi, the underwater machinations of Sexy Beast,

the Kansas City shuffle of Lucky Number Slevin, and our number five pick

- The absolutely Machiavellian insanity of

Old Boy.


- (Foreign)

- (Foreign) Pretty much from the jump

we land here, at the execution

of a truly nefarious scheme.

Well oiled and entirely unexplained, Disue is systemically kidnapped,

imprisoned, manipulated,

and hypnotized with little fanfare or apparent reason, and then he's let go.

and when it looks like it's all over, the depravity has just begun.

His puppet master pulling the strings with such subtlety and

distance that we hardly realize it, until he does, way, way too late.

The crime is over but

we still got four more slots on this list because as any crime film writer knows

once the deed is done you've gotta whole third act to write.

And the very next part is usually the get away.

Think No Country for Old Men, Breathless, every bad ass sequence from Drive and

the entirety of O Brother Where Art Thou.

But for our number four pick, there's no movies that did getaways quite so

well as Catch Me If You Can.

- Step out of that bathroom!


Hands on your head.

- That's a new IBM Selectric there.

- Put your hands on your head.

- Print type in five seconds.

- Shut up. - (Inaudible)

- Put your hands on your head.

(Noise) Put your hands.

You know he's got over 200 cheques here and-

- Hands on your head!

- Drafting, even has little payroll envelopes addressed to himself.

- Put it down, put it down, drop it!

- Relax! You're late, all right.

My name's Alan, Barry Alan.

United States Secret Service.

- Catch Me If You Can is basically a crime film stuck in a constant state of getaway.

With Frank Abagnale Jr.'s various forms of the disappearing act

giving us far more to like than his actual check fraud.

He is a chameleon.

Someone new New every time the feds get close,

a pilot, a secret service agent, a doctor, a lawyer, literally a doctor lawyer.

And always a master escape artist, constantly entertaining us by staying

one step ahead of his would-be captors the entire way.

After the getaway comes the cover up.

These are the Kurt Incident from Pusher 2, the ending of The Departed and

the majority of The Usual Suspects and

Double Indemnity and The Third Man, Vertigo and Brick.

And while we love all of them, especially The Third Man,

they'll never get between us and our one and only Chinatown.

- In case you're interested, your husband was murdered.

Somebody's been dumping thousands of tons of water from the city's reservoirs, and

we're suppose to be in the middle of the drought.

He found out about it, and he was killed.

There's a water logged drunk in the morgue,

involuntary manslaughter if anybody wants to take the trouble, which they don't.

It seems like half the city is trying to cover it all up, which is fine by me.

But misses Mulwray I got damn nearly lost my nose, and I like it,

I like breathing through it, and I still think that you're hiding something.

- There's something especially elaborate about any cover-up in a film noir.

They trade in shady dealings and double-crossings and duplicitous dames,

and dangerous truths that lure just beneath the surface.

And Chinatown unravels the best of the bunch.

Tangled up from the personal to the political, the elaborate twists and

turns that conceal the true extent of the crimes taken place give

perfect credence to the old mantra that it's not the crime, it's the cover-up.

That is, until it works.

(Sound) Closing in at number two we've got one last optional step before our last

stop, The Capture.

Look for this in films from the detective's perspective.

In older crime pics that were required by censorship codes to

punish their criminals.

This is intercut in Silence of the Lambs, ever quotable in Scarface,

bullet-ridden in Bonnie and Longshot and Taken, serendipitous and

The Post Man Always Rings Twice and

all a part of the plan in our number two pick Se7en.

- Get yourselves some answering machines.

- Detective?

- After this I am gone.

- No big surprise.

- Detective?

You're looking for me.

- 95 minutes into an extended meticulous exiting in pursuit of an ever elusive

serial killer who is always a few steps ahead of his investigators,

he just shows up.

Since imitated.

but never replicated, this apprehension has to be about the most

brilliantly subversive in all of crime cinema at the time.

As unexpected as it is, as counter to genre traditions as it ran,

it doesn't let the wind out of the sails.

Instead, it inflates them.

We've learned enough about the killer before even seeing his

face to know not to trust his surrender.

And as you'll know, if you've seen the film, it's for a very good reason.

(Sound) And finally at number one, we're looking at a crimes aftermath.

The waves that ripple out from the simple disturbance of a single criminal act.

This is a prison sentence in A Prophet, a cartoonists investigation in Zodiac A long

deliberation of twelve angry men, a fiance's revenge in I saw the Devil,

competing accounts in Russia Mom, bizarre infamy in Chopper,

two brothers reckoning in Before the Devil Knows Your Dead and the very reason we're

here with our number one pick, A Warehouse Full of Deceit from Reservoir Dog.

(Noise) Look where we are.

(Noise) - (Inaudible).


- We're in the warehouse.

- It's been 25 years since Tarantino's not really freshman effort but we all pretend

it is, because nobody saw my best friend's birthday premier at Sundance in 92.

Largely, a study in trust and mistrust in the aftermath of a robbery gone wrong.

Reservoir Dogs used it's contained thriller concepts to revolutionize

independent film making.

The polish, intelligence, and

execution of this film born outside of the studio system was unheard of for the time.

And its restraint in keeping us almost exclusively in the world post-crime,

endlessly talking about it but

never showing it, makes the fallout all the more exciting than the act itself.

Which is why it's our pick for one of the best movie crimes of all time.


So what do you think?

Disagree with any of our picks?

Did we leave out any of your favorite film crimes?

Of course we did.

We take secret pleasure in disappointing all of our biggest fans.

So let us hear about it in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe for

more Cinefix movie lists.


The Description of Top 10 Movie Crimes of All Time