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Film / Ocean's 11

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"Why waste those cute little tricks that the Army taught us just because it's sort of peaceful now?"
Danny Ocean

Ocean's 11 is a 1960 heist film directed by Lewis Milestone, which brings together five members of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop) as well as a whole mess of other popular actors for a romp around Las Vegas.

Danny Ocean (Sinatra) and Jimmy Foster (Lawford) bring together a group of World War II 82nd Airborne veterans for the purpose of robbing five Las Vegas casinos simultaneously at midnight on New Year's Eve. Their plan is to to knock out the city's electricity towers, then rewire the casinos' automatic backup generators so that they will open instead of close the safes. Team members disguised as bellhops and waiters will then sneak out the money under cover of darkness before anyone knows what's happening. The highly trained team has nothing to fear... Until Foster's father-in-law to be, former gangster Duke Santos (Cesar Romero), shows up in Sin City on the eve of the heist.

Most of you are probably more familiar with the 2001 remake and its sequels.

This film contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Frank Sinatra identifies himself on the phone as "Detective Lieutenant Brannigan".
    • After Shirley MacLaine calls Dean Martin "Ricky Nelson", he replies "I used to be Ricky Nelson but now I'm Perry Como." In Real Life, early in his singing career, music critics used to derisively refer to Martin as a knockoff of Perry Como. In addition, Martin had just done Rio Bravo with Nelson.
    • Peter Lawford's line about buying votes and going into politics is a reference to his involvement in the 1960 Presidential campaign of his brother-in-law, John F. Kennedy.
    • When Sinatra, Lawford and Buddy Lester are in the Burlesque nightclub where Buddy works and Buddy's wife starts her strip act, the music she dances to is "The Tender Trap" - the theme song from Sinatra's 1955 movie of the same name.
  • All for Nothing: Ocean's Eleven successfully pull off the heist and hand $10,000 (a not inconsiderate amount of money by Sixties standards) to Bergdorf's widow, but their own cut of the loot is cremated alongside Bergdorf's body. The film's closing credits play over them walking down a Las Vegas street, despondent.
  • Artistic Title: The opening credits were created by Saul Bass.
  • Badass Crew: Danny Ocean's crew. Being World War II veterans, they know their stuff. Being from the same airborne division, they know each other.
  • Big Blackout: Part of the group's plan is to deliberately cause one of these in order to disable the casinos' security.
  • The Caper
  • Caper Rationalization: Most members of the team have a reason for wanting all this money that at least they and their friends consider adequate. The fact that they aren't a typical criminal gang is also stressed near the end once the heist goes off, since their tight organization means that there's no underground information to be had about them.
  • Celebrity Paradox: At the end of the film, the cast walks past the Sands hotel, which has an advertisement for their entertainment: the cast. Dean Martin plays a singer, Sam Harmon, and nobody mentions how they look similar.
  • Coffin Contraband: Danny Ocean and his crew plan on smuggling back the money stolen from the Vegas casinos in a coffin. Their plan is thwarted when the widow opts for cremation.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jimmy
  • Downer Ending: The crew loses all their money when the container it was smuggled in, a coffin, is cremated. The movie ends with them walking down the street, despondent. On the upside, they're not going to jail — for now.
  • New Year Has Come
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Hiding the money in Bergdorf's coffin probably wasn't the smartest idea as his widow decides to cremate him, though noteably, her share of the money isn't in the coffin.
  • The Notable Numeral
  • Oh, Crap!: All of the Caper Crew take a long time exchanging surprised/horrified looks when they finally notice that Bergdorf's vigil is for his cremation and they can't do anything to prevent their loot from becoming ashes.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Played for Laughs. They succeed, but the money is burnt. Bergdorf is dead. They'll probably get arrested, but it was hilarious.
  • Spanner in the Works: The plan would have gone off perfectly with a getaway if only Bergdorf hadn't suffered a fatal heart attack.
  • Suspiciously Specific Sermon: Right as the money being burned, the priest presiding over funeral service the crew is attending quotes Job 1:21: "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away."
  • A Taste of Defeat: Discussed; Danny's wife left him because she couldn't stand to go on living on a "floating crap game", and when Sam awkwardly allows that they had "a little bad luck", she says that far from it, she wishes he had, because "a little bad luck might've made him realize what things can mean when you earn them."
  • True Companions: The team decide to take out a share for Bergdorf's widow, instead of hiding it in the coffin with the rest. As a result, she is the only one to benefit from the heist after Bergdorf is cremated.


Video Example(s):


Ocean's 11 Ending

After going through all the trouble to pull off the single-largest heist in Las Vegas, the money ends up getting incinerated after being hidden in a coffin they were planning to smuggle out afterwards.

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5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / AllForNothing

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