This is the story of a crew of expert thieves as they prepare and execute multiple very difficult heists across several movies. It's called Ocean's Eleven because the leader's name is Danny Ocean, and there are eleven of them. Originally a remake of the 1960 film Ocean's 11 starring Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, it went on to displace the original and spawn two sequels. All three films were directed by Steven Soderbergh. A spinoff featuring an all-female cast came out in 2018, Ocean's 8.
- The first film, Ocean's Eleven (2001), involves Danny, an ex-con fresh out of prison, approaching his buddy Rusty about performing a monumental heist. The goal? Rob the central vault of three Las Vegas casinos at the same time, during a boxing match so that the grand total in the safe would be a little over $160 million. They gather the Eleven and come to learn that the man they are robbing, Terry Benedict, is a man whose principal crime seems to be that he's dating Danny's ex-wife Tess.
- The second film, Ocean's Twelve (2004), deals with repercussions of their heist, as Benedict tracks down the Eleven and demands recompense in full, plus interest. Seeing as almost none of the eleven were frugal with their money, this means they have to find some other heist that will pay off an equal amount. Because they are too well known in the US, they travel to Europe and receive an offer from a legendary retired Con Man in which they steal a very famous MacGuffin. They are hounded on one side by a cocky acrobat-thief who wants the same loot, and a Fair Cop Interpol agent on the other.
- The third, Ocean's Thirteen (2007), has a member of the eleven double-crossed by an unscrupulous land-owner, Willy Bank (Al Pacino), with whom he was collaborating on the opening of a new casino. Danny convenes his gang to ruin this casino's opening night. This time, Benedict joins forces with them, as he has his own issues with Bank.
- A Soft Reboot, Ocean's 8 (2018), follows Danny's ex-con sister, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), who after getting released from prison herself plans a similar $150 million heist to take revenge on Richard Armitage.
The films are an exercise in cool, with the focus on Gentleman Thief characters wearing fashionable suits in exotic locations exchanging witticisms over jazzy music. This goes along with the original, which was little more than an excuse to bask in the coolness of the Rat Pack.
These films provide examples of:
- 30-Second Blackout: With the excuse that Applied Phlebotinum did it... and with predictable consequences inside the casino.
- Acceptable Targets: The French.
"They got cameras, they got vaults, they got watchers, they got locks. They got enough armed personnel to occupy Paris! Okay. Bad example."
- In Eleven, when Reuben talks about all the failsafes casinos have to prevent theft:
"We're not doomed. He's one guy and he's French."
- In-universe in Twelve regarding Toulour:
- Actor Allusion: Quite a few:
- George Clooney talking to young actors about the risks of going from TV to film in Eleven, referencing his poor decision to star in the critically derided Batman & Robin while still starring in the critically acclaimed ER.
- Julia Roberts having to pose as (and talk to) Julia Roberts in Twelve.
- Toulour's dance through the lasers in Twelve is vaguely similar—and for the same purpose, stealing a priceless artifact—to what Catherine Zeta-Jones did in Entrapment.
- Bruce Willis' cameo in Twelve is a subtle reference to how he was originally considered to play Danny.
- In Matt Damon's first scene in Thirteen he's in a foreign country and filmed in blue-tinted, washed-out Jitter Cam. Also, his fake nose in Thirteen.
- Brad Pitt being told to settle down and have some kids in Thirteen, referencing his then-relationship with Angelina Jolie.
- George Clooney being told to lose weight (he had gained a lot for Syriana) in Thirteen.
- Danny delivers this gem to Bank (Al Pacino) in Thirteen: "What I want; what's most important to me is that Reuben gets his share of the hotel restored." Also, the fact that Al Pacino muscles his partner out of a casino. Reuben fairs somewhat better than Moe Green.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Benedict allows Livingston to finish his stand-up set because he was enjoying his terrible jokes (you can even hear Andy Garcia laughing in the background).
- Affably Evil: Terry Benedict is unfailingly polite to everyone, though he's never actually friendly with anyone.
- As Himself: Bruce Willis is the key to unraveling the Julia Roberts impersonation in the second film. (And, just to throw a wrench through the fourth wall, the credits end with, "And Starring: Tess Ocean as Julia Roberts.")
- And Starring: Parodied with Julia Roberts' credits in Eleven and Twelve
- Angry Black Man: In order to help Linus steal the vault codes from Benedict in Eleven, Frank plays an Angry Black Man and pretends to attack Linus.
- Badass Family: The Caldwells — Linus' mom and dad are legendary thieves themselves and save the day in Twelve and Thirteen, respectively by using their considerably strong connections thanks to their long term cover being FBI agents. Something Linus notes in Thirteen while arguing with his father about the strength of his current cover.
- Badass Grandpa: Saul may not show it much but there is an exchange in the first film wherein he demonstrates that despite his age, make no mistake, he is a very experienced con man and he is not to be trifled with.Danny: Saul, are you sure you're ready to do this?
Saul: If you ever ask me that question again, Daniel, you will not wake up the following morning.
Danny: He's ready.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Rusty frees Basher from police custody by pretending to be an ATF agent and ordering the cops around.Rusty: Go find Griggs, tell him I need to see him.Cop: Who?Rusty: JUST FIND HIM, WILL YA?!?
- Becoming the Mask: In Thirteen, Virgil is sent undercover to a dice-manufacturing factory in Mexico to rig the casino dice at the source. He ends up leading the workers in a strike for better conditions. Turk is sent after him (after all, their plan has a time limit), and ends up joining the protest.
- Big Eater: Rusty. With the exception of during the actual heist, he's typically eating something every time we see him. To the extent that it could be considered a Running Gag for the films.
- Bilingual Dialogue: In every film, Yan speaks only Chinese, but no one seems to have any trouble understanding him, and they answer him in English.
- Black-Tie Infiltration: Danny Ocean makes an appearance at the Fight Night event, a professional boxing match held in a Las Vegas casino and being attended by numerous celebrities and wealthy guests, before excusing himself to join the rest of the crew in the heist.
- Blunt "Yes":Saul: I have a question. Say we get into the cage, and through the security doors there and down the elevator we can't move, and past the guards with the guns, and into the vault we can't open. [...] We're just supposed to walk out of there with a hundred and fifty million dollars in cash on us, without getting stopped?Danny: (beat) Yeah.Saul: Oh. (beat) Well, all right then. (pops antacid)
- Bookends: The first movie starts and ends the same way, a tuxedo-clad Ocean leaving prison.
- Clair de Lune plays twice in the first movie: At the pool party just before everyone goes inside to hear Danny's plan, and just before the end when they pull off the heist and have a quiet moment at the Fountains of Bellagio.
- The final shot of the crew in the first and third movie is of them watching the Fountains of Bellagio before one by one walking away.
- Brick Joke:
- The Oprah Winfrey Show in Thirteen.
- While discussing the plans to torment the hotel reviewer, Saul is asked if he'd go through that suffering for ten million. He says no, but he'd do it for eleven million. Guess how much money the hotel reviewer wins at the very end of the movie.
- The poor hotel reviewer in Thirteen, played by David Paymer. The crew makes his stay a living hell in order to sink Bank's reputation; Rusty makes it worth his while in the end.
- Call-Back: In Thirteen, Clair de Lune playing as Rusty and Danny come to the same spot where the gang gathered at the end of Eleven.
- The Cameo:
- Producer Jerry Weintraub as Denny the whale. First appears as a high-roller in Eleven, accidentally gets the guys in trouble with his bragging in Twelve and helps them out as an apology in thirteen.
- The young 20-something actors in Eleven: (Barry Watson, Topher Grace, Holly Marie Combs, Shane West, and Joshua Jackson), all of whom are terrible at Poker. Grace appears again in Twelve.
- Oprah Winfrey in Thirteen, who is the source of a pretty darn good Brick Joke at the expense of Benedict.
- From Eleven, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko playing themselves in the prize fight taking place during the Bellagio heist. They've never faced each other in the ring during their actual careers; Lewis faced off against the other Klitschko brother, Vitali, in 2003, and won via stoppage.
- The Caper: Every movie features one or more of these.
- Caper Crew: From Eleven, there is
- Danny Ocean: The Mastermind / The Distraction
- Rusty Ryan: The Partner in Crime / The Coordinator
- Reuben Tishkoff: The Backer
- Livingston Dell: The Hacker
- Basher Tarr: The Gadget Guy, though his primary expertise is in explosives and demolition
- Saul Bloom: The Conman
- The Amazing Yen: The Burglar, due to his acrobatic skill
- Linus Caldwell: The Pickpocket / The New Kid
- Virgil and Turk Malloy, "The Twins": The Driver / The Muscle
- Frank Catton: The Inside Man
- Played with in the sequels, as some roles get switched around and additional characters join the caper, expanding the roster.
- Caper Rationalization: If there is one trope that drives the plot of these films other than The Caper, it's Caper Rationalization. This merry band of crooks all have very good, reasonable, and understandable reasons for ripping people off for tens of millions of dollars per movie.
- Celebrity Paradox:
- Tess, played by Julia Roberts, impersonates Julia Roberts—badly—to pull off the heist in Twelve. And complains that it's "too personal" to impersonate someone else who's out there somewhere. And then she has to interact with several other celebrities like Bruce Willis who know Julia Roberts. The fact that Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney, couldn't do the same implies that this is a case of One-Shot Revisionism.
- In Eleven, in one of the earliest scenes, Danny and Rusty walk out of the club where they've been teaching celebrities to play poker. It's very surreal to see Topher Grace and Joshua Jackson get mobbed by squealing fans, while George Clooney and Brad Pitt stroll by unnoticed.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: When Reuben (who's Jewish) is describing why it's impossible to rob a casino.Reuben: They've got enough armed personnel to occupy Paris! ...okay, bad example.
- Chekhov's Gun: The black backpack the group is carrying in Twelve. Turns out that the Faberge Egg that was the objective of Toulour's challenge had been stolen by them in transit and been carried around for most of the movie, and the failed heist was just an act.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Multiple examples:
- On the second film, Isabel talks on her briefing about master thief Gaspar LeMarque, who has never been caught (but apparently retired) and taught Toulour how to steal. Gaspar is her father, is ashamed at the fact that Toulour caused so much grief to the Eleven for the sake of petty revenge, and accepts to help them if they can make Isabel meet him, which they do.
- The elder Caldwells. On both Twelve and Thirteen early on there is a scene where Linus goes into a Beloved Smother angst-fest because Danny and Rusty talked to them and he didn't wanted them to know anything about how he was doing as a thief... and then it turns out that the FBI agents that were after the Eleven on both films were Linus' parents (mom on Twelve, dad on Thirteen) that used their roles within the government to help with the heist, mostly by falsely arresting members of the team and helping them get away, thus misdirecting the mark.
- Chekhov's Skill: In Eleven, Virgil and his remote-controlled cars.
- The Chew Toy: The hotel reviewer in Thirteen that gets put through hell secretly by the crew so he would give Bank's new hotel a bad review. They make it up to him afterwards.
- Clock King: Terry Benedict is described as "a machine" in Eleven, as his schedule is so consistent that he even visits the men's room at the same time every day.
- Con Men Hate Guns: Linus chastises the Night Fox for being so crude as to use a gun in Thirteen. The Night Fox leaves it unloaded as a concession to the trope.
- Contortionist: One is needed to sneak into the safe.
- Cooperation Gambit: In the third film the group gets financial sponsorship from the villain of the first two movies in exchange for the profits. The main characters are happy with this deal, since it's not about the money this time.
- Credits Gag: With the And Starring credit for Julia Roberts in her appearances. In Eleven, the cast roll call during the closing credits ends with "And Introducing Julia Roberts"; in Twelve, she's credited with "Tess as Julia Roberts".
- Cunning Linguist: Linus mentions that Benedict is fluent in several languages, is approaching fluency in Japanese, and in the second film, speaks to Yen in Chinese.
- Deadpan Snarker: Basically just about everyone in these movies, but especially Danny, Rusty, and Reuben.
- Demolitions Expert: Basher, master of power-cutting and safe-blowing explosions.
- Description Cut:
- When Danny and Rusty go to recruit Livingston:Danny: How are his nerves?
Rusty: OK. Not so bad that you'll notice.
[cut to Livingston being a neurotic, skittish control freak while working surveillance with the FBI]
- Played with in Twelve. Linus is complaining about how his father likes to mock him about little things, and he can't quite find the words to express his annoyance, saying "it's a...it's a..." Cut to Tess giving Danny an actual "slap in the face."
- When Danny and Rusty go to recruit Livingston:
- Detective Mole: Both elder Caldwells are legendary thieves and con people who happen to have built a career as law enforcement agents as their cover. Considering that they use said covers' seniority to arrest members of the Eleven at some point of the latter two films and keep them away from other law enforcement officers (and thus help their main con), they could be considered Mole in Charge as well.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Benedict is feared because of his tendency to completely destroy the lives of anybody who wrongs him, and everybody related to them as well. While doing recon on him, Linus informs Rusty that Benedict not only had the last guy who cheated in his casino put away for ten years, but he also had the bank seize the guy's house before bankrupting the tractor dealership of the guy's brother-in-law. As Reuben describes Benedict:Reuben: He'll kill you, and then he'll go to work on you.
Benedict: That monstrosity that Bank calls a hotel casts a shadow over my pool. Break him. Break him in half.
- Invoked in Thirteen when the group goes to Benedict for help in their revenge heist.
Danny: And what happens if we don't get them?
- And once he starts insisting that he wants Bank's diamonds (which the Eleven tell him is just not possible):
—> Benedict: Do you have your affairs in order?
- Dolled-Up Installment: Twelve started out life as a stand-alone heist flick about two dueling master thieves, and was turned into an Ocean's installment when the first film's massive popularity required a sequel as quick as possible. The role of the protagonist was split between Danny (master thief), Rusty (relationship with Europol agent), and (to a certain extent) Linus.
- The Dreaded: As mentioned above, Benedict is terrifying because of his penchant for Disproportionate Retribution. However, it goes beyond that; Linus mentions that he's as smart as he is ruthless. When faced with losing his money, he immediately arranges for a SWAT team while keeping Rusty on the phone for as long as possible, and has the authorities chase down the escape van. When he realizes that there's more to the heist than it appears, he goes straight for Danny and clearly doesn't believe his story. What he didn't realize was that they planned for him to act this way. Even though the movie ends on a positive note, it's revealed that Terry sent some of his enforcers to follow Danny, Tess, and Rusty. This pays off in the opening of Ocean's Twelve, when he personally tracks them all down (and bombs Rusty's car!) and demands his money back... with interest. When he becomes the crew's backer in Ocean's Thirteen, they're all wary of him and know he'd betray them and planned accordingly. The fact that he deals with all of this with almost complete Tranquil Fury makes it even more unnerving.
- Dressing as the Enemy:
- The surprise tactic by which the team escapes with the money in the first film? Coming in as the SWAT team summoned to apprehend them, faces concealed by their police helmets, then walking out with the loot in their equipment bags.
- Revisited in the second film, when the crew is arrested and hauled off by "FBI agents" who are led by his con-artist mother.
- Used again in the third film, when Linus get hauled off by an "FBI agent" who is his own con-artist father, who's evidently been maintained the ruse for some time.
- DVD Commentary: On the director and writer track for Ocean's Eleven, they comment a few times on the fact that there are probably only three people who bother to listen to these things.
- The End... Or Is It?: The end of the first movie leaves it open as to whether the crew is really safe from Benedict's retaliation. Turns out, they're not. Of course, it also shows that Danny and Rusty were well aware that Benedict was watching them.
- End of an Age: A recurring motif in Thirteen, as several characters at various points ruminate on how casinos and heists in Las Vegas have changed with the times.
- Enemy Mine: In Thirteen Benedict joins the crew in taking down Bank because Bank is an annoying rival.
- Evil Is Petty: In Twelve, Toulour sets up the entire gang to be targeted by Benedict (and knowing Benedict's reputation, this would also include their families) simply because his mentor didn't automatically tell some random person in a conversation he wasn't even involved with that he was the greatest thief in the world. Danny calls him out on it, but Toulour naturally doesn't care.
- Tess points out to Benedict that he got his money back from the insurance company and he's demanding interest from Danny and his crew just because they got away with it.
- Evil Virtues: Benedict may be terrifying, but Linus also describes him as a machine. He's very well-organized, works hard all day at the office, speaks multiple languages - including Japanese lessons to better appeal to his new clientele - and is such a competent businessman that he runs the three most successful casinos in Las Vegas. He makes the effort to remember the names of his employees, most of whom seem loyal to him. He's patient, methodical, and cunning. It's just that the crew are able to predict what he'll do and plan around it. In contrast, Willy Bank in Ocean's Thirteen is a corrupt Smug Snake who doesn't respect anyone and is easily fooled despite having far more technological advantages than Benedict. Danny even mocks Bank's threats toward him, saying, "I know the guys you'd hire to come get me, they like me better than you." That line definitely wouldn't have worked on Benedict.
- Exact Eavesdropping: One of the final parts of the Eleven heist is getting Tess to watch an audible surveillance feed of Benedict, escorting Danny out of the premises, willing to accept to a money-for-Tess trade.Tess: You of all people should know that in your hotel, there is always someone watching.
- Exact Words: In regards to the heist in Eleven: "We're just supposed to walk out of there with a hundred and fifty million dollars in cash on us, without getting stopped?"
- Failsafe Failure: Subverted in Thirteen, where the team finds out that the Greco security system automatically shuts down and reboots when it detects a threat to itself, and a side effect of the reboot is that it locks down the control room and cuts off communications for several minutes. They use this to lock Bank inside his own control room, leaving him unable to stop the team's plans.
- Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Several members of all the teams are stuck here at the movies' beginnings. Saul is attempting to retire in Florida and Rusty is resorting to teaching young actors how to play poker; both are clearly bored out of their minds. The Malloys are in Utah and similarly "having trouble filling the hours." Frank is working under a false identity because he's been blacklisted by the Gaming Board. Livingston is moonlighting for the FBI.
- Fandom Rivalry: In-universe: The distraction for swapping the MacGuffin out is a staged fight between two of the Twelve, one wearing a Boston Red Sox hat, one wearing a New York Yankees hat.
- Faux Affably Evil: Willy Bank in Thirteen, especially when he's muscling Reuben out of his share of the casino.Reuben: [sarcastically] You gonna throw me off the roof now?Bank: I don't want to.
- Foreshadowing: In Eleven, Saul's rant during the part where the initial plan is unveiled.Saul: I have a question. Let's say we get into the cages we don't have access to. And down the elevator we can't move. And past the guards with the guns. And into the vault we can't open—Rusty: All without being seen by the cameras.Danny: Right, I forgot to mention that.Saul: (beat) Well, say we do all that. Are we supposed to just walk out of there with a hundred and fifty million dollars in cash on us—without being stopped?(everyone slowly turns to Danny)Danny: ...Yeah.Saul: ...oh. Well, all right then. (quietly pops an antacid)
- About halfway through Twelve, Rusty visits Isabel in what seems like a half-assed attempt to get his phone back and persuade her to join the team. Some of Rusty's statements don't make any sense, to both Isabel and the audience. Once the true heist is revealed, you realize that Rusty was giving her clues that the eggs had already been switched, they'd already stolen the real one, and that the team planned to "fail" all along. He was being deliberately cryptic because he knew the Night Fox had them under surveillance.
- In Thirteen, when talking about the absolute nightmare the crew plans to put the (completely unwitting and entirely innocent) Five Diamond Award reviewer through, Saul says it's so awful he wouldn't do it willingly for ten million dollars. They use one of their slot machine tricks to give him an eleven million dollar jackpot as compensation for his role in the heist.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Danny and Rusty sometimes don't have to speak in complete sentences to have a conversation.
Rusty: Yeah?Danny: But...Rusty: Right.Danny: What?
- Taken to a somewhat hilarious extreme in Twelve, where they seem to have an entire conversation about what con to run in four words.
- First-Name Basis: Due to their previous relationship, Isabel is the only character to call Rusty by his real name: Robert.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look closely at the article Danny is reading before he meets up with Frank, it reveals that Terry plans to demolish the "Xanadu" - which we see happen - and replace it with the "Angkor Wat Casino and Resort."
- Friendship Denial: The two Malloy twins have this exchange:Turk: Watch it, bud."Virgil: Who you calling 'bud', pal?Turk: Who you calling 'pal', friend?Virgil: Who you calling 'friend', jackass?Turk: Don't call me a jackass!Virgil: I just did call you a jackass!
- Full-Name Ultimatum: Terry provides a dark version of this in Twelve, when he personally calls and threatens Rusty, whose real name is Robert Charles Ryan.
- Gambit Roulette: The plans of the main characters in all three films require everything to interlock absolutely perfectly. However, they have to adjust the plans several times due to unexpected variables.
- Gilligan Cut: In Eleven.Rusty: I wonder what Reuben will say.
Reuben: You're outta your God damn minds!
- Gentleman Thief: Averted by the protagonists, subverted by the Night Fox, and played straight by Gaspar LeMarc.
- Give Me Back My Wallet: In Eleven, Danny watches Linus pick someone's pocket on a train. Later, Linus discovers that Danny has picked his pocket and replaced the wallet with a note complimenting him and offering him a job. Later Linus does Danny one better by lifting a plane ticket that Danny still has his hand on without him noticing.
- Good for Bad:
- Twelve had them intend to do this to the Coronation Egg before Toulour stole it, and failed, except not. They actually did it en-route to the museum.
- Played with in Thirteen, where Linus swapped the Five Diamond awards for fakes, only to have Toulour steal them from him. He actually didn't. He had been there to plant bombs around the case so the entire thing could be stolen. Toulour actually stole the fakes. Again.
- Handcuffed Briefcase: As part of the con in Eleven, the briefcase that holds the "jewels" is handcuffed to one of the titular eleven, until it is turned over to Benedict. When the briefcase is taken down to the casino vault, it is placed on top of the cart carrying The Amazing Yen. When Yen opens the cart, the briefcase almost falls to the floor — which would trigger the alarm — but he manages to grab the handcuffs.
- Hey, Wait!: In Eleven, Livingston is stopped after bugging the casino's camera system... because the other employee noticed that he dropped his portable TV (which, unbeknownst to the employee, is what he's using to view the camera feeds).
- Hollywood Atlas: In order to steal the Pinch, the crew breaks into the generically-titled "California Institute of Advanced Science." This is actually the Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility at University of California Irvine. However, it's about a 4 hour drive there from the Las Vegas Strip, so at least it figures into the timing of the story.
- Hollywood Density: At no point in the movie does anyone bring up or address the fact that $160 million would weigh roughly a ton and a half if it's all in C-notes, and more if it includes a mixture of smaller bills. This is far more than eleven men could possibly carry in one trip unless they're all bodybuilders.
- Hollywood Law: Especially in the first film, there is a fictitious Nevada Gaming Commission lawnote stipulating that casinos in the state must hold in reserve enough cash to cover every chip in play on its floor. No such law is in place specifically because such a large concentration of cash would be a prime target for thieves. If the casino ran out of physical money to reimburse players cashing in chips, they would simply start making payment negotiations for checks or electronic transfers — and don't forget the government gets a cut of any and all casino winnings, which they collect from the casino itself before chips are cashed in.
- Hollywood Science: Pretty much everything involved with the Pinch. A real Z-pinch is far too big to fit in the back of a van (it's more like a two story building), requires a much greater power source than car batteries, and doesn't generate anywhere near enough of an EMP to cause a city-wide blackout. A real Z-pinch has been known to occasionally interfere with sensitive electronics like cameras and computers... located right next to the Z-pinch inside the laboratory. The only thing that could take out Las Vegas in such a manner seen in the film is an actual nuke.
- Hypocritical Humor: From Twelve, Roman is on the telephone with a woman whom he assumes is Danny's assistant. He finishes the call by saying, "And tell him having a sexy female assistant is such a terrible cliche." After he hangs up, Roman's own sexy assistant enters.
- Idiot Ball: Much of the heist in Twelve seems to be doomed to fail, due to boneheaded mistakes and desperate improvising. Especially when Rusty doesn't tell the others about Isabel, when the crew steal part of the Night Fox's art collection and let themselves be caught on security cameras, and pretty much everything involving Tess. It's not until the end do we find out that they knew they were under surveillance, stole the egg days before, and that their botched heist and arrests were a huge distraction.
- The Infiltration: Eleven involves an intricate plan which requires numerous small infiltrations of the casino, all in order to carry out the biggest infiltration at the end.
- Involuntary Charity Donation: As payback for an attempted double-cross by Benedict in Ocean's Thirteen, the crew donates his entire share of the profits to charity. The film ends with Danny, Rusty, and Linus watching Benedict talk to Oprah about his sudden burst of generosity.
- It's Personal: This comes up in all three films.
- In Eleven, Danny doesn't deny that Benedict's relationship with Tess is part of his motivation for the heist. Plus, Danny and Rusty use Reuben's dislike of Benedict to get him to bankroll them.
- In Twelve, Benedict was going after each member of the group, and you can't tell me that blowing up Rusty's favorite car wasn't personal.
- In Thirteen, Bank nearly killed Reuben and the team took it quite personally.
- "I Know What We Can Do" Cut: All of the group's planning is done like this.
- Karmic Thief: The team targets two unscrupulous casino owners and a thief.
- Kick the Dog:
- Tolour in Twelve messes with Danny's wake-up call just to be a jerk.Rusty: Oh. (disgusted) Oh! He's mean... He's just mean-spirited.
- In Thirteen Bank's first moment comes when he reveals he's screwing Reuben out of his share of the casino. He has plenty more throughout the movie. For example, his right-hand-woman, Abigail Sponder, manages to secure a mobile phone Bank wanted. She shows real delight in being able to get it for him, and sends it to him along with a note saying that it's a thank-you present for all the opportunities he's given her. He starts reading the note and rips it in half, obviously bored. And the act that makes the Eleven truly decide to come gunning for him is when Danny decides, as part of the "shook Sinatra's hand" code, to give him a Last-Second Chance to restore Reuben's money and Bank tosses it back to Danny's face, telling him that he hopes Reuben dies.
- Tolour in Twelve messes with Danny's wake-up call just to be a jerk.
- The Lancer: Rusty constantly backs up and serves as a foil to Danny.
- Large Ham:
- Andy Garcia is lucky he didn't chip a tooth on the scenes set in a vault. It contrasts his cold, aloof persona for most of the movie up until then.
- Al Pacino, the Big Bad of the third movie, is a semi-large ham, which is still pretty subdued for Pacino.
- Basher while impersonating the American stunt man in the third movie.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Seems to befall everyone who tries to pull one over on Danny.
- Laser Hallway: The laser grid in the second film. Laser security is based on the beam hitting a photoreceptor and an alarm going off if the beam is interrupted. With the beams going all over like that, there is nothing to receive the beam.
- Leno Device: Terry Benedict appears on Oprah at the end of Thirteen.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: It's right in the title, even!
- Lost in Transmission: Virtually the canonical example, as a pretty awesome Shout-Out to Hamlet's advice to the players.Rusty: [giving instructions to Linus] Don't use three words when one will do; don't shift your eyes. Look always at your mark, but don't stare. Be specific but not memorable; be funny but don't make him laugh. He's gotta like you, and then forget you the moment you've left his sight. And for God's sake, whatever you do, don't, under any circumstances —
Livingston: [off screen] Rust, can you come here a sec?
Rusty: Sure thing. [leaves]
- Lovable Rogue: An entire crew of them.
- A MacGuffin Full of Money: As a caper film, it uses this, though it differs from most thief caper films in that it was very specific money.
- Male Gaze: In Thirteen the camera is almost always in position to get a good view of Sponder's cleavage.
- Meaningful Background Event: The foreground to be exact, but when Rusty is on the phone with Benedict in Eleven, an eagle-eyed viewer will notice before Benedict the Bellagio logo on the vault floor disappears when the crew replaces it with the spoof footage.
- Mission Control: Livingston Dell. Danny Ocean too, supposedly, but it didn't quite turn out that way.
- Mock Millionaire:
- In Eleven, Saul pretends to be Limon Zerga, a reclusive international arms dealer. He's referred to as such in Rusty's pre-heist plan as "the Boesky," a con-man's term for someone pretending to be a wealthy man with inside information.
- In Thirteen, Yen pretends to be a Chinese billionaire named Mr. Weng.
- Model Planning:
- In the first movie, they build an exact replica of the vault they're robbing, to practice. And then for Camera Spoofing as a crucial component in the actual caper.
- The second movie features the team planning a job using a model of the Galleria D'Arte di Roma.
- Money to Burn: Happens here too, but rather than inside a casket in an oven, it happens during a shootout when it gets caught in the crossfire courtesy of a explosives the Eleven had planeted in the bags previously.
- Motive Rant: Early on in Eleven, before the crew is even assembled.Rusty: I need a reason. And don't say money. Why do this?
Danny: Why not do it? Because I just left the joint after losing four years of my life and you're cold-decking Teen Beat cover boys. Because the house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes, the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big, and then you take the house.
Rusty: ...been practicing that speech, haven't you?
Danny: Little bit. Did I rush it? I felt like I rushed it.
Rusty: No, it's good, I liked it. Teen Beat thing was harsh.
- Mythology Gag: The scene where the shootout leads to half of Danny's loot being torched by explosives is almost certain homage to the climax of the original, where Ocean's loot is burned with Bergdorf's body.
- N+1 Sequel Title: Ocean's Eleven is followed by Twelve and Thirteen
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Linus' stunt during the theft of the pinch leads directly to Yen's hand getting broken.
- Nice to the Waiter:
- Benedict. Rusty notes that he knows the names of most all of his employees, and we hear him asking about their personal lives as he enters the casino. This is part of Benedict's need to be knowledgeable about everything and everyone associated with his casinos so he can stay Crazy-Prepared by being Properly Paranoid.
- Subverted in Thirteen by Bank, who is openly rude to his staff - even his right-hand woman - all of which makes it easy for the crew to find helpers breaking his new hotel.
- Noodle Implements:
- The various characters and scenarios Rusty foresees needing for the job in Eleven. A little research can explain these terms.Rusty: Off the top of my head, I'd say you're looking at a Boesky, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros and a Leon Spinks, not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever.
- A similar thing happens in the second movie, with the remaining team members going over all the possible plans with code names like "Lemony Sue" and "Bundle of Joy," but dismissing them all as insufficiently manned.Basher: Hell in a Handbasket?
Linus: We can't train a cat that quickly. Besides...
Everyone: Not enough people.
- The various characters and scenarios Rusty foresees needing for the job in Eleven. A little research can explain these terms.
- Noodle Incident:
- When Danny and Rusty are leaving lunch with Reuben, after he initially turned them down.Reuben: Look, we all go way back and uh, I owe you from the thing with the guy in the place and I'll never forget it.
Danny: That was our pleasure.
Rusty: I'd never been to Belize.
- Whatever scam got Danny sent to prison. Rusty and Danny discuss it in front of Rusty's poker class as "Incan Ceremonial Headmasks". ("Is there any money in those?" asks a student. "There is if you can move them," Rusty says, pointedly staring at Danny.) We're never sure if "Incan Ceremonial Headmasks" is code for something — knowing this crew, it may well not be.
- The reason why it's absolutely beyond the pale to mention that Tess looks like Julia Roberts. When Linus brings it up, Rusty shuts him down in no uncertain terms, and makes it clear that there is a reason but he won't be divulging it under any circumstances.
- When Danny and Rusty are leaving lunch with Reuben, after he initially turned them down.
- No Endor Holocaust: Just think about what shutting off all electricity in Las Vegas for 30 seconds would do. Think about people with pacemakers, think about cars that crash in the sudden darkness. Even more, an EMP would have permanently fried every single piece of electronic equipment in its radius. That means that everything with an electronic circuit, plugged in or not, in all of Las Vegas would have to be replaced. The damages from the pinch alone have exceeded what the gang stole by several orders of magnitude. Worse, the gang would have lost all the equipment they needed to finish the heist. The movie would have ended with Danny, Linus and Yen suffocated in the vault after all the air exchanging systems went out.
- The Nondescript: Discussed by Rusty while giving instructions to Linus about how not to be conspicious:Rusty: Don't use three words when one will do; don't shift your eyes. Look always at your mark, but don't stare. Be specific but not memorable; be funny but don't make him laugh. He's gotta like you, and then forget you the moment you've left his sight. And for God's sake, whatever you do, don't, under any circumstances—
- No Name Given: The hotel reviewer in Thirteen. He's credited only as "The V.U.P.", which he sarcastically calls himself at one point.
- Obstacle Exposition: Given by Saul during his rant:Saul: I have a question. Let's say we get into the cages we don't have access to. And down the elevator we can't move. And past the guards with the guns. And into the vault we can't open—
Rusty: All without being seen by the cameras.
Danny: Right, I forgot to mention that.
Saul: [beat] Well, say we do all that. Are we supposed to just walk out of there with a hundred and fifty million dollars in cash on us—without being stopped?
[everyone slowly turns to Danny]
Saul: Oh. Well, all right then. [quietly pops an antacid]
- Oh, Crap!: Essentially the reaction of everyone in Twelve—Basher appears to literally say this—when Benedict catches up with them.
- One Head Taller: Linus' dad and Linus to his mom.
- The Perfect Crime: Theme of all three films.
- Plot Hole: In Ocean's Eleven, the bags of hooker fliers appear in the vault elevator without anyone carrying them in. Word of God admits this was a script error that got overlooked.
- Pop the Tires: In Eleven, the fake getaway van is brought down by shooting the tires.
- Precision F-Strike
- Some of Yen's only dialogue in English.
- Also the final conversation with Benedict in Ocean's 13Terry: You think this is funny?
Danny: Well, Terry, it sure as shit ain't sad.
- Reuben gets one as well early in Eleven, noting that even if somehow Danny and Rusty were able to get into the vault and walk out with $100+ million, "you're still in the middle of the fucking desert!"
- Pseudo Crisis: In Eleven, one of the 11 is tasked with sneaking into the vault, jumping to avoid the sensors in the floor, then placing explosives on the door to let the other robbers in. During the last bit, he gets his hand stuck, leaving him without cover, right as the guys are on the other side of the door about to blow it. After playing it for all the suspense they can... the detonator's batteries are dead. Then, once that's been resolved, they blow the door open... and find their inside man safe inside, wondering what took them so long.
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Linus often makes use of these in his pickpocketing. He usually uses large frames to make him look even younger and unassuming.
- Put on a Bus: Tess and Isabel simply aren't included in the third film, though at least Danny gives a Hand Wave to the fact that he kept them out of it on purpose.
- Pyrrhic Villainy: Benedict in Thirteen: he managed to get one of the things he wanted (humiliate Bank), but his cut of the heist's loot is gone and so may be his reputation as a man who makes anybody who angers him pay with interests because the Eleven picked up on the fact that he hired Toulour to double-cross them and get Bank's diamonds, so they gave all of Benedict's cut away to an orphan camp and he can't do anything about it without the threat of the press painting him as a monster.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: In Twelve, the priceless Fabergé Egg is transported to Rome by a courier walking on-foot to a train station and guarded by only a couple of guys, while the decoy is sent via heavy security with a ceremonious display. It's very similar to how the Cullinan Diamond was transported from South Africa to England in 1905, and that method was even more risky.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: When trying to cast Yen, the crew looked for anybody who had the right acrobatic skills. They decided to hire Shaobao Qin, who had no acting experience and couldn't speak English, which is why he only speaks Chinese in all three films.
- Refuge in Audacity: Practically all their heists rely on this in some form or another:
- In Eleven, one of Danny's first scenes is him checking in with his probation officer from an out of state pay phone. The gang actually ransoms Benedict's own money against him, and then manage to smuggle the money out of the vault by posing as a SWAT team. They even use an EMP bomb to black out all of Las Vegas for several seconds.
- In Twelve, Linus' mother arrives posing as an FBI agent and pulls rank Isabel, setting the entire gang free right in front of her due to Isabel illegally obtaining forged arrest warrants.
- In Thirteen, the gang creates an artificial earthquake under Bank's casino to get all of the gamblers to evacuate. Linus' father also poses as an FBI agent to manipulate Bank and Sponder.
- The Remake: The first movie remakes the original but spawns its own original sequels.
- Remake Cameo: From the original Ocean's Eleven, we have Angie Dickinson and Henry Silva, appearing as themselves.
- Running Gag:
- Rusty is eating something almost every time he's on screen. Pitt said the idea behind this was that Rusty was so busy he didn't have time to eat otherwise.note
- In the first film Linus is often shown chewing gum to emphasize his youth and inexperience.
- People apparently understanding Yen even though he's speaking rapid-fire Chinese and him understanding them even though they're speaking English. Benedict is the only person who speaks to him in his native language.
- Scenery Porn: Numerous lovely shots of Las Vegas and Europe.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Both the good guy and the bad guy pull this.Bank: This town might have changed, but not me. I know people highly invested in my survival, and they are people who really know how to hurt in ways you can't even imagine.
Danny: Well, I know all the guys that you'd hire to come after me, and they like me better than you.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Willie Bank's belief that his riches allow him to go against the code amongst guys who "shook Sinatra's hand", thus giving Reuben a heart-attack, are what sets of the plot of the third movie.
- Sequel Goes Foreign: Ocean's Twelve went to Europe, justified by the title gang being too high profile to work in the USA without raising alarms. Not that it stopped them in Ocean's Thirteen.
- Sequencing Deception: In Ocean's Twelve, there's a segment where we see Ocean's team and a rival thief both trying to steal a MacGuffin, but find out that the rival got there much earlier and the Macguffin is gone.
- Setting Update: The original was made in, and set in, The '60s.
- In the elevator, Linus hits the floor buttons 1, 1, 3, and 8
- Basher tells the others his original plan to knock out the casino's power can no longer work:Basher: So unless we intend to do this job in Reno, we're in barney. (the others look blankly at him) Barney Rubble - trouble!
- When Danny and Tess both lie to Terry that their meeting was just coincidence, Terry quips, "Of all the gin joints in all the world."
- In one scene, Terry is denying the request of a "Mr. Levin" to attend the boxing match, saying that he should just watch it on cable and that "surely he must have HBO." This is a nod to Gerald Levine, the chairman of Time-Warner, of which HBO is a subsidiary, as is Warner Brothers, who distributed the film.
- The password Saul gives to the courier with the briefcase is "ya vas liubliu," which is the same Russian phrase Danny Velinski taught to Louis Sedgwick in The Great Escape. It means "I love you."
- Squick: Used In-universe in Eleven, Rusty gets a case of this when he pays off the stripper for getting him the keycard for Benedict's casino.Rusty: Thanks. Say hi to your mother for me.
Stripper: Say it yourself. She's on in five minutes. [leaves]
Rusty: [beat] [pulls face, leaves]
- Slow Electricity: In Eleven, when they use the EMP, there is the obligatory shot of the lights going out block by block.
- The Snack Is More Interesting: A running gag is that Rusty is almost always snacking on something, showing his nonchalance.
- Sound-Effect Bleep: Used extensively in a scene from Twelve, when Tarr is seen in the recording studio; both on his rap song and in his conversation with the recording engineer about the song sounding lifeless with extensive censorship for radio play.
- Spotting the Thread: From Eleven, Benedict figures out after the fact what happened when he realizes the vault in the surveillance feed isn't his vault; a few days before the heist, the Bellagio had its insignia produced on the mat at the vault entrance, a detail that was missing in the replica used by the crew to fool Benedict and his staff.
- Stolen MacGuffin Reveal: In 12, the Egg was stolen before the events of the movie, and the whole movie was a plot to return the original.
- Take That!: Terry's sarcastic advice to not pay cash for an expensive Newport Beach sports car is undoubtedly a dig at Kevyn Wynn's kidnappers, who were apprehended when one attempted to buy a Ferrari in Newport Beach with cash.
- Take That Me: Topher Grace's cameo in Twelve.Topher Grace: I totally phoned in that Dennis Quaid movie.
- Theme Naming:
- The Smurfette Principle: Tess in the first movie. She and Isabel are both Never a Self-Made Woman; Tess is the whole reason the heist is taking place in the first movie; Isabel is both Rusty's love interest and Gaspar's daughter.
- Those Wacky Nazis: When Reuben (who's Jewish) is describing why it's impossible to rob a casino.Reuben: They've got enough armed personnel to occupy Paris! ...okay, bad example.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: At the end of the third film, the hotel reviewer who had a horrible experience as part of the plan is set up to win the jackpot at an airport slot machine, courtesy of Rusty.
- Title Drop:
- Happens one film too late:Benedict: Apparently, I'm not the only one looking for Ocean's Eleven.
- Teased a little in Thirteen with Yen's big roulette bet. He puts money down on three numbers: 11, 12, and 13.
- Happens one film too late:
- Token Good Teammate: Linus.Linus: Am I the only one here who feels funny about stealing from a handicapped guy?
- True Companions: What drives the crew to avenge Reuben when he's betrayed by Bank in the third film.
- Unfolding Plan Montage: Rusty explains to Benedict how the money will be transferred and the transfer goes off.
- The Unintelligible: Yen, who mostly speaks rapid-fire Chinese. The only words he ever says in English are "where the FUCK you been?" and "shit."
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Both averted and played straight simultaneously. In each film the audience gets to see the gang plan their heists, and see them set up and put together the various facets, so we always know what the gist of the plot is going to be... but there's always something big hidden from the audience - the same big thing that masterfully outwits the villain in the climax. Easily missed hints might appear earlier and totally go over the audience and the villain's head, and things that look like setbacks are almost always revealed to be totally planned. The end result is a con played on both the audience and the villain at the same time, where they think they know everything that's going on only to find that there was an ace in play the whole time they didn't see.
- Unwinnable Training Simulation: In Eleven, a trial run of the burglary plays like this.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: If you don't pay attention (and sometimes even if you do) you probably won't understand what exactly the gang is doing for what reason.
- Villain Decay:
- Terry Benedict is a very intimidating Big Bad in the first movie, but by the third has become an eyeroll-worthy irritant that the gang is forced to put up with and don't take too seriously. The gang knew Benedict would betray them over the diamonds, and had planned accordingly.
- Toulour, who goes from being the Big Bad of Ocean's Twelve to Benedict's lackey in Thirteen.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Danny takes what would have been Terry's take from the Thirteen plot and donates it (in his name) to a children's charity sponsored by Oprah, leaving Terry with no choice but to go on her show and publicly accept her gratitude for his "selfless act."
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
- Danny and Rusty. Danny's whimsical "let the chips fall" style contrasts Rusty's cautious and detailed style, as a result they occasionally have inevitable personality conflicts. They never stop having each other's backs though.
- The Malloy Twins are a more direct example. They do nothing but argue. Poor Linus was driven crazy within minutes of being stuck in a van with them bickering.
- Waistcoat of Style: Terry's is an antique kimononote fabric.
- Word-Salad Humor: In Twelve, the conversation between Danny, Rusty, Linus, and Matsui is a collection of gibberish that everyone understands — except Linus.Rusty: A doctor, who specializes in skin diseases, will dream he has fallen asleep in front of the television. Later, he will wake up in front of the television, but not remember his dream.Danny: If all the animals along the equator were capable of flattery, then Thanksgiving and Hallowe'en would fall on the same day.
- Xanatos Gambit: A classic version in the second film. The heroes had won the contest before the heist even started. Everything else was just window dressing.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: The team has to do this at least once in all three films when something doesn't go according to plan.
- X Called; They Want Their Y Back: Danny's response to Rusty's snark about his clothes (a tuxedo) as he's leaving prison for the second time. Danny clearly has to take a moment to think of a comeback.Rusty: I hope you were the groom.
Danny: Ted Nugent called. He wants his shirt back.