Algorithm for a Heist Movie

Alright! Time to generate an algorithm that can be applied in any movie industry to generate a heist film. We have all seen it before and we shall continue to see it again. So here is the template for the archetype heist movie:


Location: Some shady place with a round table. Lots of cigar/cigarette smoke hanging in the room, visible through the dim overhanging light. Bunch of men sitting around the table smoking and sporting a supercilious attitude simultaneously. One of them is the protagonist and one is the arbit rich guy who wants to add something specific  to his collection. The intended work is generally considered impossible but protagonist exhibits supreme confidence making the rich dude believe that he already has a fool proof plan but just never got around implementing it himself. Another common aspect revealed during making of the deal is the intention of the protagonist (and presumably his team members, if any) to “retire” and so is looking for a big money job that will help his cause. The deal is made after the protagonist agrees a fee.

Or alternately, the protagonist decides to carry out a certain heist for his own personal purposes.


This is the stage where the main characters of the movie are introduced. These are primarily the gonna-be members of the heist team which is already in place or the protagonist recruits after the deal is made. The following lists the characters usually encountered:

1. The Protagonist (Necessarily male): Always brimming with confidence. Gives the impression that the entire universe  has been playing its part all this time so his fool proof plan can work. Sometimes he can put plans into action without other team members knowing it, which also serves as a source of his confidence  amidst lots of apprehensions being expressed by his team members. Fate varies.

2. The Computer Geek: Usually someone the protagonist knows. Is expected to be familiar with the latest in gadgets and technology. Dude didn’t make it big in  corporate geekdom as he couldnt clear IIT-JEE or other entrance exams owing to his ADD Syndrome. So decided to put his awesome programming skills to hack into alarm and security systems. Fate varies.

3. The Lock Picker: Also someone whom the protagonist is familiar with. Picks locks. Very likely to have been a duplicate keymaker a while back before he got caught by the cops trying to “misuse” his talent. Emerged from jail (where he could have met the protagonist) to join the team. Fate unknown.

4. The Driver: Mainly used for getaway purposes. Is likely to have a history of being a mechanic. Has very specific intentions with his share of the money: usually a Lamborghini or a Ferrari. Fate varies. More likely to waste his money before buying either of them.

5. The Enthusiastic kid: This is usually someone who is picked up during the planning. Kid shows enormous enthusiasm as he has highly unrealistic dreams and usually lives in the dreamworld. Sees this heist as his passport to that world and readily agrees. Sometimes made to carry out acts without being aware of the risks. Fate: Always gets shot while escaping.

6. The Girl: Always the girl friend of the protagonist. Others may have their eye on her (and this may lead to the final twist). Main purpose of the girl in the team is to distract potential stumbling blocks (like security) with the judicious usage of deep cleavages and short skirts. Necessary qualifications for the role of the girl: 34c cup size, IQ<80. Same fate as the protagonist.

A meeting is called of all the above characters where the protagonist reveals the objective. It is usually met with a lot of skepticism from the majority of the crew members and many just walk out on the idea. However, certain inevitable  personal circumstances compel the skeptics to rejoin the mission. It should be noted, however, that the protagonist ALWAYS would have made arrangement for ALL team members.  At this stage there is usually a group shot of all the team  members in a recognizable uniform sporting lot of confidence and attitude.


The entire team embarks on a lengthy planning procedure almost always involving surveying the target under disguise, noting down the positions of the CCTV Cameras, security timings and more significantly the change in their shifts. A mole maybe planted but usually the girl shows enough cleavage to secure the required information. Blueprints of the floor plans and alarm systems materialize out of nowhere. (I suspect the Right to Information Act comes handy here).The entry and escape routes are determined.

The planning usually takes place in an arbit shady place, much like where the deal was done, only with more light and a lot more electronic gadgets. The planning stage sometimes consists of the construction of a device that will eventually be used to deceive the people in charge of the item to be stolen.


This is a very short stage wherein the different characters reflect on the mission ahead of them the next day. Usually intended to provide inspiration for the job.


The crew gets ready with all their equipment, sporting the respective costumes. The costumes are largely a function of the role of the person and the disguise it may be necessary to get near the item. Irrespective of what one wears, one always has access to ear-pieces/ walkie talkie. The Compute Geek begins his job by hacking into the CCTV feed. He then proceeds to upload a tampered feed to the security personnel giving them the impression that ALL IZZ WELL! (LOL! Couldnt resist!) The tampered feed usually involves a repeating video footage of the building where nothing significant is shown to happen. The computer geek then disables most of the alarms but for some reason, almost always, he is unable to disable the laser rays guided alarms. And this leads to the mandatory and inevitable scene wherein the protagonist and/or the girl go through the maze of laser beams by the generous use of acrobatics so as not to touch any of the beams. The protagonist then proceeds to get hold of the object after the lock picker has put his awesome skill and talent to use. They then make for the escape route. During the escape, in spite of all precautions, some alarm is always set off which alerts the guards and security begins to chase the team members. During this chase, at least one team member dies. And it is almost always the Enthusiastic Kid, and along with him, his big dreams and fantasies.


A fallout between the team members is common. They turn against each other just before getting rewarded for their success and all may end up dead. Another twist could be the presence of a mole in the team who is also likely to die-shot by the protagonist himself. A common twist is the pulling off of an ancillary mission during the main mission which would usually have to do with something personal on part of the protagonist. Other team members need not be aware of this and they may have willingly taken part in it without their knowledge as well.

The stolen object may even be recovered by the authorities whereas the rich guy who made the deal may end up with a duplicate of the object. This is usually planned much in advance by the team members but it is not revealed till the end. Other twists also exist.


So there you have it. The most widely used template/algorithm to generate a heist movie. Slight variations are often implemented.

PS: This post was inspired by the Vigilidiot blog, which is really one of its kind. But I first decided upon writing this after watching, what is perhaps the first Kannada heist movie- NAVAGRAHA. Decent movie, but very cliched.


6 thoughts on “Algorithm for a Heist Movie

  1. It’s not ADD. it’s usually autism, that explains his ultra awesome hacking powers, and his obvious disdain for the world outside his computers. [ he usually has two, monitors that is].

    And of course hacking refers to two things. rapidly moving [ matrix green screen or otherwise] text, indicating password search. and the large fonted ” enter your password”.

    Other than that it’s superbly accurate n hilarious. especially bout the enthu kid, n the bountiful lass.

    1. I wrote ADD because i have actually seen a movie with that description. The 2 monitor thing btw is a useful piece of info. And i hope there was no pun intended with the “enthu” kid!

  2. Quality post! I seem to recall many of the Heist films I’ve watched ending with the protagonist going to prison and the rest of the team getting the money, maybe a possible twist?

  3. after the Enthusiastic kid is shoot he should ether die in the Protagonist’s arms or live and realize that the crimanal life is full of danger and “not the life for me”

    and at the end if there is no twist there should be a shot of the team on some empty high way after they excaped looking at the stolen object in the trunk of the getaway car congratulating each other on there workand sharing what they will buy with the money

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