Want to make a fashion statement while robbing a bank? Well, lose that Wild West bandanna or boring old ski mask. If you really want to create a sensation, you've got to go for something more theatrical -- like those eye-catching nun costumes featured in posters for Ben Affleck's new heist opus, 'The Town
As as we anticipate what looks to be a crackerjack crime film, we've rounded up the best masked movie bandits, including a few ex-presidents and other clowns. (Note: We've ruled out any non-masked disguises, awesome though they may be, such as the rabbi get-ups in 'Snatch'
; and we've skipped any masked villains who are about slicing and dicing instead of stick-ups.) Here are the 10 best:
In the film's opening sequence, a handful of masked clowns are hired to rob a mob-owned bank under the behest of the clearly insane, but unseen, Joker (Heath Ledger). Although his lowly cohorts don't know it, he's actually one of the anonymous robbers, who are systematically offing each other under orders of "the boss." One of the slightly smarter last clowns standing tries to get a drop on him, but the Joker has orchestrated the whole show, including his dramatic exit by school bus.
In this gritty little noir about an armored truck hold-up, the heist's mastermind handpicks his crew, whose identities only he knows; their faces are hidden from even each other under the moleskin masks he provides them. It would have been a perfect crime, only an innocent truck driver (John Payne) is sacked after falling under suspicion. He manages to track one of the masked men to Mexico where he waits for the payoff to take place -- and for the mastermind to reveal his true identity.
This early Stanley Kubrick entry is one of the best heist-gone-wrong films ever, with a motley crew of criminals led by Sterling Hayden pulling off the complex robbery of a busy racetrack. An inside man plants a gun, mask, and gloves in an employee locker for Hayden so that he can pull off what appears to be a one-man stick-up. He stashes the mask (as well as the hat, jacket, and extra shirt he was wearing) inside the bag with the money, tosses it out the window for another associate, and walks out, scot-free, to collect the money later.
Here's a great gag: Get your friend liquored up, give him a toy gun and a silly rabbit mask, and then pretend like you're going to knock over a cash register -- but then whip out a real gun and actually rob the place. Hysterical! In this yuppie nightmare, James Spader learns the hard way why it's a bad idea to pal around with "bad influence" Rob Lowe. Call it karma for torturing Molly Ringwald and Robert Downey Jr. in the '80s, Spader.
Everyone's favorite surfing bank robbers movie! The bitchin' band of bandits known as the Ex-Presidents are led by guru Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) in a Ronald Reagan mask, tux and tails, who starts each heist off by telling his masked crew, "Rock 'n' roll!" It's a killer rush, dude.
Based on the true story of a Vietnam-vet-turned-bank-robber (played in the film by Larenz Tate) who robbed an armored car with his service buddies in the Bronx. All but the lookouts don dramatic black-and-white facepaint and black stocking caps. It all goes terribly wrong, resulting in a gunfight and a hectic chase in which both the disguised and the undisguised robbers try to escape on foot.
The daring daylight bank robbery from this film is actually the second one pulled by Robert De Niro and cohorts: the first one is an expertly timed $1.6 million armored car heist. The plan is not to kill anyone -- they're wearing hockey masks that completely hide their identities, after all -- but one loose cannon decides to shoot and kill three guards, making them all LAPD's most wanted. For the second, better-known robbery
, the men boldly walk into a downtown bank unmasked, then pull on easier-to-conceal black ski masks once they get started.
Four hard-on-their-luck friends, including one who's about to lose custody of her child (Kimberly Elise) and one who's been unfairly fired from her job as a teller (Vivica A. Fox), decide to knock over a bank: For the first robbery, they wear identical wigs and sunglasses, and as they get slicker, they suit up in coveralls and clear plastic masks. There's no disguising the fact that they're women, however, and the police soon zero in on them.
The entire A-squad of Lincoln High cheerleaders comes to the aid of their captain (Marley Shelton) when she gets knocked up. Inspired by 'Point Break,' they dream up a scheme to rob their local grocery store's bank branch. They each wear a "Betty doll" mask and, as they learned from 'Reservoir Dogs,' use only code names during the robbery, like 'Terminator Betty' and 'Stalker Betty.' "This is going to be the best bank robbery ever," the captain pep talks her squad before they do the deed.
Here's a clever twist on a disguise: Have your team cover up head-to-toe in hooded coveralls, white scarves, and sunglasses, and -- here's the really smart part -- also make all the bank employees put on the exact same outfit. When it comes time to leave, the police will have their hands full telling the robbers from the hostages.