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7 Movies like Inside Man: Cops and Robbers

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Andy_McKendry_itcher_contributorA tense game of cat and mouse plays out between the police and a group of hostage takers in Spike Lee’s heist movie Inside Man. Here are some movies like Inside Man for you to enjoy. ~ Andy McKendry

Denzel Washington plays a savvy detective in Lee’s Inside Man but he may well have met his match with Clive Owen’s smart and adaptable bank robber. Lee directs a twisty tale of bank robbers, hostages, and gunmen set in the tight confines of an inner city bank.It’s a tense piece of cinema and if you want to remain on the edge of your seat after the credits roll here are some films similar to Inside Man.

‘Dog Day Afternoon’ (Sidney Lumet, 1975)

Dog Day Afternoon spends a lot of its run time humanising the bank robbers themselves. It shows just how dangerous and out of control a bank robbery can become especially when it’s led by an inexperienced criminal like Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino).

It’s an unnerving film and the lives of the hostages hang in the balance as the local police and the FBI attempt to negotiate a safe resolution. Sidney Lumet is a notable director and Dog Day Afternoon stands as one of his better films and its cinematography, direction, and narrative also stands the test of time.

Dog Day Afternoon considers the media hype that surrounds a heist in progress and it shows that people love a narrative and care more about the story than the people involved.

‘The Sting’ (George Roy Hill, 1973)

This is perhaps the definitive heist movie and it’s slick, clever, and completely invested in the long con. It stars Robert Redford and Paul Newman who acted alongside each other in the equally compelling Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The Sting is a story about revenge but the vengeance visited is clean, efficient, and the characters are completely consumed by seeing it come to pass. A sort of Oceans 11, The Sting is one of the best and most charming crime movies that you could watch.

Just as reliant on plot twists as Inside Man, The Sting is a throwback movie from the seventies that is just as effective now as it ever was.

‘Killing Zoe’ (Roger Avary, 1993)

Roger Avary directs Killing Zoe; a film that many will note has marked similarities to Tarantino and his work. Set in Paris the film follows a group of bank robbers and an American safe cracker known as Zed.

Killing Zoe is a film that is replete with all of the necessary macho symbolism. There’s a pretty girl (Julie Delpy) that needs saving, there’s guns and bad guys, and there’s the bank robbery itself. This pulpy little known film is a great watch for its stylised narrative and its mix of sex, drugs, and a violent bank heist.

Not as clever as Inside Man, Killing Zoe is an exciting account of a bank robbery teetering on the brink of a complete lack of control.

‘The Town’ (Ben Affleck, 2010)

Ben Affleck turns his hand to directing with the 2010 bank robber epic The Town. Set in Boston and reminiscent of Michael Mann’s opus Heat, The Town deals with a collection of professional bank robbers and a rescued hostage that could put them all away.

Mired in criminal myth and legend, Ben Affleck’s movie is exciting, slick, and polished. The cast is good and the material even better and when it’s combined The Town becomes a film that considers the importance of family, place, and the legacy of a criminal life.

Less claustrophobic but still just as tense, The Town is a convincing heist movie from actor turned director Ben Affleck.


If You like inside Man You Will like…

The heist movie genre is rife with great films but I’ve attempted to pick some that you may not have seen. It would have been too easy (perhaps obvious) to suggest a film like Oceans 11 so I’ve avoided better-known films in this genre.

Instead I think there’s a good variety mentioned above but it’s worth considering that crime driven narratives are only a part of the heist genre. Here are some other movies like Inside Man that share the genre but aren’t purely concerned with the heist sub category or narrative arc.

‘Inception’ (Christopher Nolan, 2010)

A touch more abstract than Inside Man, Inception is no less thrilling or reliant on twists in it narrative.

Click here for more films similar to Inception.

A heist movie in a similar vein to Inside Man, Christopher Nolan manages to find an original take on the heist genre.

‘The Lookout’ (Scott Frank, 2007)

A bittersweet account of the people behind the bank robbers, The Lookout is a touching (if small in scope) movie.

Joseph Gordon Levitt plays a man who loses everything and watching his descent into criminality is emotional stuff.

‘Shutter Island’ (Martin Scorsese, 2010)

Insanity, police investigations, and a remote island are ample fodder for Scorsese’s Shutter Island.

If you love films with a twist then Shutter Island will be right up your street.


My Thoughts

A good movie provokes thought and a clever heist movie is no exception. If this is a genre that you want to explore further then the above list should be enough to get you started. Personally I’m a fan of narratives that keep you guessing but I think that the crime movie genre is often over-saturated with predictable films.If you’re looking for something original I would recommend watching The Sting. It’s a great movie with flawless performances, a narrative that keeps you engaged and on the edge of your toes, and its dated visuals only add to the sense of mystery.

Let me know what your favourite heist movie is with a comment below.


I’m a writer. It’s what I do and what I′ve always done. As a child I wrote on walls with a crayon. Now I write for websites. I write for my blog where I post reviews of films, TV, and occasionally write short stories and I also run a writer and illustration collective. Whatever I do involves words, and plenty of them. I’m an avid cinephile, a screenwriter, and I love telling stories. I have an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, UK, and I work on a freelance basis and drink far too much coffee.
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