open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The basic plot of most Cat's Eye episodes ist the trio putting on a caper - and Toshio trying to prevent it.
- A lot of the filler arcs of Get Backers qualify. Even though the titular characters only steal items to return then to their original owners, sometimes the definition of "original owner" can get really fuzzy (especially with Clayman).
- In an episode of Sgt. Frog, Momoka, Natsumi, and Moa form the "Phantom Thief Troupe: More Peach Summer" to steal the painting "The Birth of Venus"... which turns out to be an embarrassing portrait of Momoka as a baby, naked.
- The Marvel Comics miniseries Super-Villain Team-Up: MODOK's 11 features a destitute M.O.D.O.K. recruiting a group of equally-destitute C-list supervillains to help him steal a powerful energy source, for which he will pay them. Predictably, most of the villains are either working for someone else or trying to screw each other over.
- Superior Foes of Spider-Man revolves around one complicated caper, which gets increasingly convoluted as everyone involved tries to screw everyone else involved over.
- Zombo: Subverted in the TV satellite story where a bunch of goons are planning a heist when they're attacked by zombies and subsequently change up their plan to make them "Like Us! Like Us!"
- In Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness, Neville and company pull one of these to retrieve the Sword of Gryffindor from Snape's office, complete with seemingly impossible odds on getting inside.
- The Asphalt Jungle - A deconstruction in which The Caper ends badly for all participants. Also the Trope Maker.
- Topkapi, Rififi, and The League of Gentlemen — all were direct inspiration for Mission: Impossible. Rififi is the Trope Codifier.
- Ocean's Eleven (the original, the remake and the remake's sequels) thrived on this trope, with con artist Danny Ocean assembling a Badass Crew to commit audacious robberies without any violence. There's a prominent use of Once More, with Clarity! for the remake and its sequels.
- Logan Lucky is basically the Deep South and blue collar version of Ocean's Eleven, with a NASCAR circuit as target instead of banks/casinos/museums.
- The Anderson Tapes, featuring an immediately post-Bond Sean Connery and one of Christopher Walken's first roles. The title refers to the fact that the story was told though surveillance tapes.
- The Danish film-series Olsen-banden and its Swedish and Norwegian counterparts consists of nothing but this.
- Vabank (''Hit the bank'' in USA), is about a retired safe cracker organizing one to avenge his best friend, whom the mark, a Morally Bankrupt Banker, had killed.
- Sexy Beast, though the main character spends most of his energies trying to avoid participation in the caper.
- Reservoir Dogs does an interesting version by completely skipping the caper itself, making it a subversion.
- The video game of the film, on the other hand, is all about the heist.
- Killing Zoe is what happens when The Caper is attempted while on heroin. Things don't end well.
- The Day They Robbed The Bank Of England
- Casino Royale (2006) (and the 1967 spoof) The idea is to relieve Le Chiffre of all his money.
- Kelly's Heroes and Three Kings both feature soldiers going on a caper during war time.
- I soliti ignoti (US title Big Deal on Madonna Street), a 1958 Italian comedy. Americanized as Crackers (1984) and Welcome to Collinwood (2002).
- In Inception, the main character's career is doing this with ideas. The plot of the movie is an inversion: They must leave an idea instead.
- Entrapment, which started a heist-film revival after two decades of relative silence on the caper front.
- A Fish Called Wanda, though it's more a farce
- Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks starts out as one of these, then shifts gears when the cookie business set up as cover for their activities becomes an unexpected success.
- Robot and Frank, a scifi dramedy secretly including several caper tropes
- Bottle Rocket is something of a caper parody, with a group of idle rich kids planning a series of ill-advised capers.
- The comedy Hot Money, where a group of cleaning staff for the Bank Of England steal some of the old money that's about to be incinerated, by stuffing it in their underwear.
- The Score features an interesting take on safecracking, even if the Series/Mythbusters showed it wouldn't work.
- Happy New Year, about a Master of Disguise (Peter Falk) and his Bumbling Sidekick (Charles Durning) planning to rob a Palm Beach jewelry store.
- The Thieves is a Korean take on the genre, with a crew using a mix of Korean and Hong Kong members. It also has a truly epic Gambit Pileup.
- Subverted in The Bourne Identity. Jason plans an elaborate caper to get Marie in and out of a luxury hotel so he can get hold of some documents he needs regarding a pseudonym he apparently used before he lost his memory, but Marie changes her mind midway and just asks the clerk for a photocopy.
- Fast Five: Dom and Brian assmeble a Caper Crew equipped with charchters from the franchise's pervious installements for One Last Job - robbing Rio's biggest drug lord. The crew pulls two more capers in the next two The Fast and the Furious films.
- John Wayne and Kirk Douglas team up to steal a half million in gold from The War Wagon, an armored stagecoach.
- The climax of Rogue One featured the titular team stealing the plans for the Death Star to discover its weakpoint. Being a Foregone Conclusion, the mission was accomplished, but the entire team ended up dying in the process.
- In Ant-Man, a genius millionaire gives master cat burglar Scott a superhero outfit that lets him shrink down to the size of an ant, all to steal exactly the same technology from an unscrupulous businessman who plans to sell it to some very shady types. About half the plan is "use the suit" which justifies otherwise unrealistic tropes like Air-Vent Passageway, and the other half is the regular standard heist techniques that Scott and his fellow criminals do anyway.
- City Of Industry: The heist of a jewelry store by a four-man operation occurs early on and proceeds without a hitch. The actual fall-out results from the newest member of the group later betraying his associates so he doesn't have to share the loot with them. He kills two of them but the third guy gets away, and since one of the other two was the surviving party's younger brother he spends the rest of the movie gunning after his treacherous ex-partner.
- Bad Genius has a foursome of Thai high school students execute an elaborate plan to steal and profit off the answers to an international standardized test.
- In Den of Thieves, Merriman and his crew are planning a heist on the Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles: the 'bank for banks'.
- Deconstructed in Dead Presidents. Despite a well-planned heist, the ex-Vietnam veterans are ill-suited to committing a robbery and the whole plan goes to pieces.
- Dortmunder: Every story that Dortmunder is involved in and Dortmunder himself was a comedic version of the author's other main character, Parker.
- Locke Lamora being a thief, capers play a large role in the first two novels, particularly the second.
- The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton.
- Neuromancer is built around a caper, but stakes in this one rise out of the normal territory as the story progresses.
- The Vlad Taltos novels often have at least elements of this. Jhereg and Yendi are straight examples.
- The novel Thunderball had SPECTRE doing this — rather than an organised crime Cosmopolitan Council, they were a gang of highly-professional criminals who were planning the Empty Quiver heist as One Last Job.
- The Nick Velvet stories by Edward D. Hoch.
- Flawless is the story of the Real Life Antwerp diamond heist, where thieves stole an estimated $100-$400 million worth of diamonds in 2003.
- Goldfinger. While in the movie, Goldfinger was going to irradiate the gold, in the book he was actually planning to steal it.
- The first book of Mistborn: The Original Trilogy is patterned after a heist, where our motley crew of thieves decides the best way to fight the Evil Overlord is to rob his treasury and bribe away all of his armies.
- The Hobbit: The dwarven party Bilbo joins is a fantastic version of this, with the idea being to take the riches of the Lonely Mountain. They explicitly enlist Bilbo as a "burglar."
- In Skin Game, fifteenth book in The Dresden Files, Harry is on a crew trying to steal the Holy Grail from the vault of Hades (yes, that Hades).
- One features in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, complete with planning montage and everything going sideways in the middle.
- Danny, the Champion of the World centers around a plot to poach over 200 pheasants in a single night, in order to ruin an evil industrialist's grand hunt.
- Played With in River of Teeth. The story involves Houndstooth assembling a Caper Crew of the usual suspects and the target is a corrupt businessman running several casino boats, however, the goal is not to rob him but to remove thousands of feral hippos from the lake where the aforementioned corrupt businessman is feeding cheating customers to them. Preferably without him noticing until it's too late. The operation, as Houndstooth insists on calling it, is also sanctioned by the federal government. This stops none of the crew members from calling the entire thing a caper and treating it as such, much to Houndstooth's annoyance.
Live Action TV
- Firefly: "The Train Job" (which is, um, a Train Job), "Ariel," and "Trash."
- The Knights of Prosperity, originally titled Let's Rob Mick Jagger.
- Leverage uses this trope as its main premise often mixing it with The Con.
- MacGyver (1985) episode "The Heist". A Virgin Islands casino owner steals $60 million in diamonds. Mac and an American senator's daughter plot to steal them back from the casino's impregnable vault.
- Mission: Impossible prided itself on its use of The Caper. Sample episodes include "Charity" (with a cache of platinum bars hidden under a pool table) and "The Mercenaries" (a vault of gold in an African jungle).
- The short-lived series Thieves.
- The FX character drama Thief revolves around this trope, as does the NBC actioner, Heist.
- Farscape "Liars, Guns and Money."
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang." Although this episode is a direct parody of Ocean's Eleven, even taking place in a Holodeck recreation of Las Vegas.
- Every single episode of The A-Team.
- Hustle usually revolves around The Con, but...
- The season 2 finale, "Eye of the Beholder", is a classic caper plot in which the team steals one of the Crown Jewels. Until the end, when it turns out that the entire point of the caper was to con a bunch of people into buying fakes...
- In an episode in season 5, New Recruits, Hustle pulls a similar "caper" again. This time, they're conning their mark, who had been advertising a completely foolproof security system, into thinking they'd stolen a painting. Really, they just hid it behind a false wall.
- The X-Files episode "The Amazing Maleeni". It's pulled off so ingeniously that you don't even know it's a heist until the later half of the episode.
- Children's sitcom The Legend of Dick and Dom has an episode called "The Heist"; the heroes have to rob a bank to get back the MacGuffin that the corrupt manager has stolen. Features cunning disguises, a decoy robbery and tunnel digging. And Creepy Twins, just for fun.
- The Community episode "The First Chang Dynasty" has the study group plot an elaborate heist Ocean's Eleven-style to rescue the Dean after Chang replaced him with a doppelgänger and took over the school.
- Spaced episode "Chaos" homages caper films.
- A historical documentary used this format to explore theories on how an Egyptian pyramid was broken into and looted during ancient times. It gave the theoretical participants nicknames like The Mastermind, The Foreigner and The Engineer to illustrate the various social backgrounds and skill sets the people involved would need to have to pull off such a crime. In particular it theorized that The Engineer was probably blackmailed or coerced into participating since he would have been of a much higher social strata than the rest of the crew and the one with most to lose if caught. The show also regularly reminded the audience that the punishment for such a crime in Ancient Egypt was to be burned alive.
- The plot of the Doctor Who episode Time Heist. The bank holds something of great value to each member, which is why they took the job despite having to erase their memories of ever taking it.
- Spanish series La Casa de Papel revolves around a meticulously planned heist on the Spanish Royal Mint.
- Paul Kantner's science-fiction concept album Blows Against the Empire is about a rag-tag band of hippies who devise and implement a caper to hijack a starship in order to escape an increasingly oppressive America.
- The Decemberists' "The Perfect Crime" tracks are about the planning and execution of "the perfect crime." "The Perfect Crime No. 2," off The Crane Wife, is specifically about a heist that somehow also involves kidnapping a mogul's daughter.
- Barenaked Ladies' "Bank Job" is the heist leader dressing down a member of his crew after a (hilariously) failed caper.
- The final quest for the Thieves Guild in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is called "The Ultimate Heist" — rightly so, because it sees you breaking into the Emperor's Palace and stealing one of the titular Elder Scrolls. The preparations for this mission comprise the three penultimate quests that you perform for the Grey Fox himself.
- Some of the subplots of Thief enter into this trope; Garrett sometimes goes through elaborate plans over multiple game levels to enter secure locations.
- Pulling off capers is the primary focus of Fragile Alliance, the multiplayer mode of the Kane and Lynch games.
- Parodied in one Saints Row 2 mission where an elaborate plan is thought up for a heist, but the plan is scrapped in favor of just walking through the front door and shooting everyone. Also doubles as a Take That! to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas below, as the initial plan, as described, is similar to CJ's plan, before Gat and the Boss scrap the idea for just shooting everybody.
- Grand Theft Auto
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in a clear homage to Ocean's Eleven, has CJ robbing a vegas casino with a colourful group of characters (Its GTA, they're always colourful)
- Grand Theft Auto V takes this premise and runs with it - not only are there several heists in the game, each one has a variety of missions associated with it to prepare for said heist. For example, when the team plans to rob a jewelry store, they send in a guy to case the joint and take pictures of the various security systems. Once they have the pictures, the player has to make a decision on whether to go in "loud and dumb" with guns blazing, or recruit a hacker and steal some knockout gas, an exterminator's van, and dress up as exterminators so that people won't question their gas masks. You also need to hire a crew to help you with the support stuff - the more competent they are, the bigger take they demand, but the less likely they are to fail and drop their loot. And finally, after all that, comes the heist itself.
- The premise of the Sly Cooper series is to plan heists against criminals.
- The Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money, where the player (who's been strapped with an Explosive Leash) is forced to help the insane Father Elijah loot the Sierra Madre casino with the help of three other NPCs, one of which has been at this for two centuries.
- PAYDAY: The Heist is "Heist Film: The Game". Hell, the central bank heist is a huge homage to Heat.
- PAYDAY 2 expands on this further. Containing everything, from bank robberies, to rigging elections, to double crossing meth dealers before a bridge showdown, the game covers numerous heist and action tropes (and even adds several more references to Heat and other caper classics).
- In Mass Effect 2, Kasumi's loyalty mission is to steal her deceased partner's graybox from the man who killed him, while Shepard poses as a guest at his high-society party and subtly acquires the voice-print and DNA-scans for Kasumi to crack the vault. Of course, once they get inside the vault it swiftly goes to hell, leaving Shepard to do what they do best.
- The Dragon Age II expansion "Mark of the Assassin" plays out very similarly to Kasumi's mission. You join up with a Loveable Rogue, infiltrate a high-class party, find your way past the guards to your host's vault...and then it turns out Tallis is actually a Qunari agent. After that, it shifts gears to a kind of medieval fantasy spy drama.
- The Imperial Agent's storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic includes planning and executing a caper of the top-security facility operated by the Star Cabal in the very heart of the Republican prison planet of Belsavis. Complicating matters is the facility's murderous AI protector that can strike at you pretty much anywhere on the planet and the fact that for your Caper Crew, you have to rely on a bunch of career criminals previously locked up there for life, most of whom naturally turn on you the moment your arrangement is complete.
- The City of Heroes summer event mission "Casino Heist" is based on the tropes of The Caper, with the players taking the parts of the Caper Crew.
- Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine is essentially this trope as the High Concept for an entire game.
- Piratez: The "Mansion of Anguish". Your team is to "conduct reconnaissance" (an excuse to wear maid's outfits) in a seemingly never-ending mansion◊.
- Strong Bad and The Cheat of Homestar Runner occasionally engage in capers. These ventures rarely turn out to be successful.
- In the Strong Bad Email "caper", Strong Bad gets mad at The Cheat for screwing up an attempt to steal the Jumble puzzle from Homestar's morning paper, but then later feels bad about it, which leads to him performing a song about how he's glad The Cheat is not dead.
- "Strong Bad Is In Jail Cartoon" opens with Strong Bad and The Cheat getting caught breaking into Bubs' Concession Stand to steal candy bars.
- Then there's the one where they somehow manage to set Homestar adrift in the Arctic Ocean, and can't for the life of them remember how they pulled off their "greatest caper ever". It apparently started with The Cheat peeing in Homestar's melonade...
- The Sluggy Freelance Story Arc "Displacement" has the Main Characters trying to pull one of these at a Mad Scientist's auction. Then it turns out the Mad Scientist is actually throwing a Nasty Party, and Hilarity Ensues.
- In Impure Blood, Roan's rescue. Since he was a slave, technically a robbery as well.
- In Commander Kitty, outlaw spacer Grootly and his crew think they're being hired for this kind of job. It turns out they've been lured into an audience with an evil mastermind who wants them for their parts.
- The main trio of Nobody Scores! pull an art heist with Sara Peterson as the Mastermind, Beans Mulroney as the Muscle/the Specialist and Jane Doe as the distraction.
- Pay Me, Bug! involves the captain of a smuggling ship being blackmailed into stealing something from The Empire of the Radiant Throne's most secure facility. Good thing he's done this before, right?
- You Have Become Your Avatar: King Kix, trapped in the body of Hildy Gloom, decides to stage a heist on the Seven Dwarves' Mine and get the Rock of Sages, so they can rule over magic. Unfortunately, the Dwarves stole the Rock from under their eyes.
- The lads and gents of Achievement Hunter have done regular "Heist" videos during their Let's Play series of Grand Theft Auto V. Given the people planning them, each is usually a countdown to something going spectacularly/hilariously wrong. Oh, and their perennial targets? Gas station convenience stores.
- The Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X" featured a makeshift criminal team executing a daring theft from the League's orbital headquarters.
- The South Park episode "About Last Night" is a Troperiffic example, in which the 2008 presidential election is revealed to be merely a step in a plan to steal the Hope Diamond.
- Spoofed on The Simpsons episode "The Book Job", where the caper consists of writing a young adult fantasy novel. When the publisher changes their manuscript, they execute an actual heist to break into the printer and switch manuscripts.
- In the episode "Viva Mars Vegas", the gang execute a heist to get the Wong's casino back from the Robot Mafia.
- In "Prisoner of Benda", Bender plans to steal the royal jewels of the Robo-Hungarian Empire, and tries to recruit the others as his Caper Crew. When they refuse, he has to go at it alone, with less than stellar results.
- Parodied in the Chowder episode "The Heist".