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Heist (2001 film)

Heist is a 2001 American crime thriller film written and directed by David Mamet and starring Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, and Delroy Lindo, with Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, and Sam Rockwell in supporting roles. The film became the highest-grossing David Mamet-directed film in the United States[1][2], and then went on to become a popular hit in home video market. [3]

Heist (2001 movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Mamet
Produced byArt Linson
Elie Samaha
Andrew Stevens
Written byDavid Mamet
StarringGene Hackman
Danny DeVito
Delroy Lindo
Music byTheodore Shapiro
CinematographyRobert Elswit
Edited byBarbara Tulliver
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • November 9, 2001 (2001-11-09)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$39 million
Box office$28.5 million


Joe Moore (Gene Hackman) runs a ring of professional thieves, which includes Bobby Blane (Delroy Lindo), Don "Pinky" Pincus (Ricky Jay) and Joe's wife Fran (Rebecca Pidgeon). During a robbery of a New York City jewelry store, Joe's face is captured by a security camera after he takes off his mask in an attempt to distract the store's last remaining employee. As both the picture and a witness can identify him, Joe retires from crime and plans to disappear on his sail boat with his wife.

This does not sit well with Joe's fence, Mickey Bergman (Danny DeVito), who runs a garment business as a front. After accruing a number of expenses in setting up another robbery, Bergman decides to withhold the payment due to Joe and his crew. He insists they go through with the other job — robbing an airplane carrying a large shipment of gold. Bergman further insists that his nephew, Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell), be a part of the crew. Joe accepts, but a series of shifting loyalties changes the complexity of their task, including Jimmy's interest in Joe's wife and Bergman and Jimmy's belief that Joe's skills are declining.

They attempt to rob the plane twice. In their first attempt, while setting up explosive devices along the border of the airport, they are stopped by a passing officer. While Joe and Bobby talk the officer into leaving, an agitated Jimmy draws his gun but is stopped by Pinky. He forces his team out of finishing the job after he finds out that Pinky didn't destroy the getaway car, covered in the team's fingerprints. Bergman doesn't accept the team's departure and forces them to finish the job.

The plane robbery is a series of misdirects. Pinky poses as a guard while Joe, Bobby, and Jimmy pose as airport security personnel. They stop the jet, pretending to be responding to an emergency. They fill a van with what they take from the plane, then move the van to a rented garage on the airport grounds, where they re-brand it and call for a tow truck to have it hauled away.

Jimmy betrays the others to steal the gold and Fran. He knocks out Joe and tells Fran he knew Joe changed the plan, including Fran seducing him. He and Fran take the van, but Jimmy finds out that the hidden compartments are filled with metal washers. Joe avoids arrest and returns to the plane in disguise. He and Bobby remove a shipment of goods they had booked on board the same Swiss flight, which they insist now must be driven to its destination due to the plane's delay. Inside the shipment is the stolen gold, which Joe and Bobby melt into long rods.

Bergman apprehends Pinky, who is walking his niece to the school bus. Pinky discloses the plan in order to save his niece, though he is killed after. Bergman and his crew arrive at Joe's sail boat along with Jimmy and Fran, where they hold Joe at gunpoint. They assume that the boat's golden railings are the gold. Fran leaves with Jimmy, pleading with Bergman to let Joe go. Just as Bergman discovers that the railings are not the gold, a hidden Bobby opens fire. Bergman's men are killed and Joe kills Bergman.

Bobby gives Joe the address to send his share. Joe waits to meet Fran with a truck filled with black-painted rods. Fran has taken up with Jimmy for real and they take the truck from Joe at gunpoint. Joe gets into a second truck to leave. A black bar in the truck scrapes the garage door, revealing gold underneath. Joe lifts a tarp in the truck bed, revealing the gold rods. He covers the rods with the tarpaulin and drives away.



Franchise Pictures agreed to finance the film as long as Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito starred in the film, and the production didn't go over budget. David Mamet enjoyed big creative freedom throughout production, because Franchise Pictures didn't creatively interfere with him; Franchise Pictures only required Mamet to finish the film with certain budget.[4]

The film was able to make profit via international pre-sales even before this film was finished. [4]


Critical responseEdit

According to Rotten Tomatoes, critical reaction for Heist was mixed, with an overall 65% approval rating.[5] The website's critical consensus summary was that "Heist didn't cover any new ground, but the cast and Mamet's expertise with witty banter make it worthwhile."[5] On Metacritic, the film received a weighted average score of 66/100 based on 33 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[6]

Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun-Times, said "Heist is the kind of caper movie that was made before special effects replaced wit, construction and intelligence. This movie is made out of fresh ingredients, not cake mix. Despite the twists of its plot, it is about its characters." He went on to praise Mamet's trademark verbal constructions, his restrained approach to on-screen gunplay, and the care that he takes in shaping the relationships between the principals.[7]

Box officeEdit

In its opening weekend, the film opened at number 5, it grossed $7,823,521 in 1,891 theaters in the United States. The film became the highest-grossing David Mamet-directed film in the United States.[8][9]

In total it had a worldwide gross of $28,510,652, significantly lower than the film's production budget of $39 million.[10]

Home videoEdit

The film generated more than $72 million in home video rentals in the United States (significantly higher than the film's box office gross).[11]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Heist". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Linson, Art (2002). What Just Happened?. Bloomsbury Pub Plc USA. ISBN 1-58234-240-7.
  5. ^ a b "Heist Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
  6. ^ "Heist Reviews". Metacritic.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 9, 2001). "Heist". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Heist". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  10. ^ "Heist". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  11. ^

External linksEdit