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Are These the Top 5 Safe-Cracking Scenes in Movie History?

By on July 22, 2013
Anne Hathaway's Cat Woman cracks Bruce Wayne's safe in The Dark Knight Rises. Image © Warner Bros

Anne Hathaway's Cat Woman cracks Bruce Wayne's safe in The Dark Knight Rises. Image © Warner Bros

While your thoughts may be on your home security, your imagination probably wishes it was elsewhere. Why not settle on a compromise? Here then, are the top five safecracking movie scenes.

1967: Who’s Minding the Mint?

A top five list needs to start off with something light and breezy. This slapstick thief’s misadventure stars Milton Berle, Joey Bishop, and Walter Brennan. It features some poor slob who works at The Bureau Of Engraving and somehow manages to destroy $50,000. He hires the lamest gang possible to break into the mint and print the money he mishandled. Jack Gilford plays the safecracker, who, unfortunately, is almost deaf. Among the many screwball scenes in this movie is where their safecracker needs his hearing aid in order to do his job.

1981: Thief

James Caan stars in this thriller, which is highlighted by the safecracking scene that indulges in magnificent close-ups of the safe locks as they are being picked. Bonus for the music by Tangerine Dream during this sequence.

2001: The Score

The only thing you need to know about this movie is this: Brando, Pacino, and Norton. It does involve a safecracking scene where a hole is drilled into the top of the safe and the sprinkler system is used to fill it with water. A tube of explosives is then inserted through the hole. A scientific breakdown of this method includes the words; supersonic; blast pulse; and something about the speed of sound in water being five times faster than the speed of sound in the air. Just so you know, in case you’re one of those people who say, “They couldn’t do that in real life.”

1969: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Not only does this movie contain a classic safecracking scene, the title also serves as a nifty bit of word-count padding. Because of early VHS tape time restrictions; this scene was left out of some of the foreign video releases. This is a shame, because many Bond aficionados consider it the best scene in the movie. While bad-guy Gumbold is out having lunch, Agent 007 begins cracking the home safe in Gumbold’s office. He employs a massive safecracking device that also includes a photocopier. The music adds to the tension, while in the middle of the job, 007 discovers Gumbold’s Playboy stash, which, coincidentally, releases some of the tension. Before he flees the office, he actually steals the centerfold.

1955: Rififi

This French bit of film noir was directed by American Jules Dassin. The safecracking scene is notable because it is the longest such scene in film history. It clocks in at around 32 minutes. During this entire time, there is no music, and no dialogue. There is only stress and sweat.

Everybody loves a good heist movie. The first was probably made in 1909. The silent classic was called, The Great Train Robbery. The aforementioned five movies contain some of the very best safecracking scenes in cinema, and they are also pretty good movies as well.

What are your all time favorite safe-cracking moments from film or TV? Sound off in the comments section below.