HEADHUNTERS – Top 5 Art Heists in Film

To celebrate Fridays (April 6th) release of Jo Nesbø’s HEADHUNTERS, the critically acclaimed adaptation of the bestselling novel, we thought we would check out some of our fave art heist movies.

Gambit (1966)

1966 was a golden year for many a reason. England lifted the World Cup by defeating the old enemy, but more importantly Michael Caine lifted a few priceless antiques in Ronald Neame’s, Gamit. Crafty Caine plays cockney cat-burglar Harry Dean, who with the help of an exotic dancer (naturally), hoodwinks a rich Hong Kong businessman into a sense of lust-driven delirium allowing him to swipe a number of priceless antiques from right under the tycoon’s nose. 


Hudson Hawk (1991)

Hudson Hawk is a delirious, art heist romp starring Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello. Action-man Willis plays Eddie “Hudson Hawk” Hawkins, a former felon who finds himself blackmailed back into cracking safes and embarking on a festival of thievery that see’s him steal a number of crystals from Da Vinci’s art works in order to power a devastatingly evil plan concocted by a husband and wife duo seeking to turn lead into gold by recreating Da Vinci’s La Macchina dell’Oro! Hudson Hawk also plays homage to its leading man’s former pop career with Bruce performing a number of swing anthems throughout.


How to Steal a Million (1966)

The 60’s, synonymous with swinging London, fashion and er, art heist movies. How to Steal a Million stars icons Audrey Hepburn as Nicole Bonnet and Peter O’toole as Simon Demott, and was shot and set entirely in France, although the cast speak in English. Nicole encounters Simon attempting to steal what she believes to be a valuable painting from her house and blasts him with a pistol, but she soon discovers that the artworks she is so protective of are master forgeries by her father, Charles, (Hugh Griffith). The news devastates Nicole who then enlists the help of Simon to recover a forged art work her father has provided to a museum in order to keep the families secret from being exposed. The film also features several examples of how to cunningly use a boomerang!


Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

This 60’s remake is featured because in the original money is the subject of our anti-heroes affection while this version features priceless art and an irresistible turn from the one and only, Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan plays Thomas Crown, a wealthy financier who in his spare time gets his kicks from stealing works of art worth millions. He audaciously steals a Monet worth 100’s of millions of dollars from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is soon hightailed by the inquisitive Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) and NYPD Detective Michael McCann (Dennis Leary) who suspects him of being the guilty party. A game of cat and mouse ensues and naturally Pierce end up getting the girl. Some guys have all the luck!


Jo Nesbø’s HEADHUNTERS (2011)

Headhunters has more twists and turns than a piglets tail. Aksel Hennie plays the hapless Roger Brown, a man who on the surface appears to have it all, however we soon discover that his life is based entirely on a lie. He has a beautiful wife, outrageous mansion and all the trappings of the success of being Norway’s most prominent headhunter, but his biggest secret is that to supplement this exuberant existence he is a calculated art thief. With his finances on the brink Roger is presented with the chance to pull of his biggest heist yet when he is introduced to potential candidate, Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). What entails is a thrilling game of David and Goliath, action, suspense and blackly comic humour.

Jo Nesbø’s HEADHUNTERS is released in cinemas across the UK from April 6th.

GS Reporter: Nuge

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