Ex-Jewel Thief Larry Lawton Breaks Down Famous Heist Films

Ex-Jewel Thief Larry Lawton Breaks Down Famous Heist Films

Heist films are brilliant when it comes to a bit of escapism – but how do they hold up in reality? That’s where former jewel thief and current security consultant Larry Lawton comes in.

For the uninitiated, Lawton was once the United States’ most successful jewel thief who has (obviously) since been reformed into regular, law-abiding society. In the video below, he sits down with Vanity Fair to break down some of our favourite heist flicks such as Snatch, Heat, The Italian Job, Ocean’s 11, and more. 

Offering his professional insight, Lawton explains everything from how probable a job’s success would be in real life, what the screenplay and its characters get right/wrong, some eye-opening tricks of the trade, as well as the overall execution. 

Here are some fun (wrong choice of word?) and less informative takeaways:

  • Heat – On Robert De Niro’s character assuring the people in the bank that their money is safe and insured, that they’re only after the bank’s money: “He’s right, it’s just like with the robberies I committed… it wasn’t the people who you were robbing…”
  • The Thomas Crown Affair – On Pierce Brosnan’s character robbing for the thrill as opposed to necessity: “Thrill?! Jerk off more!”
  • Snatch – On the intro scene where Benicio Del Toro robs diamonds in the Hasidic Jew disguise: “I knew a guy who did this, he dressed as a Hasidic Jew here in Brooklyn and he robbed the people who take their diamonds to Temple to bless them.”
  • Ocean’s 11 – On the size of the team: “When you have twelve people who directly know what’s going on, there’s going to be a snitch somewhere… you can get more money snitching.”

Watch the full video below.