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 (initially). 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 and a spinoff. All three of the first films were directed by Steven Soderbergh. The all-women Japanese theatre company Takarazuka Revue made a stage adaptation (Star Troupe, 2011-2012 season) with women playing male roles.
- 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 scores to settle with Bank.
- Ocean's 8 (2018), a spinoff (also acting as a Soft Reboot of sorts), 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 Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), the art dealer who got Debbie jailed for a crime he instigated.
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: An electromagnetic pulse weapon used by robbers. According to dialogue, though, this is all it was supposed to do. (Note: Real EMPs do not work like this.)
- A-Team Montage: Once an Episode. Interestingly, we usually end up seeing that what they were building was merely a cover for the real con.
- 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; Zeta-Jones was also in Twelve.
- 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.
- And, of course, there's all the "shook Sinatra's hand" Arc Words in Thirteen: the second sequel to a remake of a Sinatra movie.
- 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).
- Adam Westing: Tess Ocean pretending to be Julia Roberts in Twelve.
- Affably Evil: Terry Benedict is unfailingly polite to everyone, though he's never actually friendly with anyone.
- Alone-with-Prisoner Ploy: Pre-arranged when the guy sent in to torture Danny Ocean was set up all along by Danny to show up and pretend to torture him so that he could escape.
- Rusty's posing as a federal agent to rescue Basher from the cops would also qualify, partially subverted by being done in public (although he does send the arresting police officer off on a wild goose chase to talk to Basher alone and free him from handcuffs).
- Answer Cut: Danny and Rusty decide to ask Reuben to finance their heist. As they leave to go see him, they posit aloud, "I wonder what Reuben will say?" Cut to Reuben shouting, "You're out of your goddamned minds!"
- 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.
- Ascended Extra: Denny the whale (uber-producer Jerry Weintraub) has a tiny cameo in the first film, causes the second film by unwittingly bragging about the heist to two European master thieves, and makes amends in the last film when he convinces the other big spenders to leave Bank's casino. Also, the mansion seen in the last movie is one of Jerry's BigFancyHouses.
- 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.")
- Avengers, Assemble!: The film starts slow with Danny having to convince two of the eleven to come out of retirement Rusty due to sheer boredom, and Reuben for revenge but once he does, the rest happens very quickly and all with Danny or Rusty explaining in voiceover what each member's specialty is. They also go through a bunch of alternatives, before learning that they either retired or died, while Danny was in prison.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The film has two noticeably gratuitous F-bombs, (though one is clearly Played for Laughs being used by Yen, who doesn't speak English) contrasting the rest of the movie, which is squeaky-clean. Apparently it was added to secure a PG-13.
- Badass Crew: Daniel Ocean's crew. The precision point schemes they pull off make them badass, but what makes them family is made clear when Reuben is hurt; they put on a heist not to make a fortune, but just to spite the guy who hurt him.
- 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.
- Bank Robbery: Basher is working a bank heist the night he gets nabbed by Rusty.
- 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?!?
- A number of team members pose as the SWAT team sent to secure Benedict's vault, faked an assault on the intruders, then troop out of the casino in plain view, concealing the money in their equipment and ammo bags.
- 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 Blackout: The main characters use an electromagnetic pulse to knock out power all over Las Vegas.
- The Big Board: Danny Ocean has a hi-tech board which he uses to display various building schematics of the casino vault.
- 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.
- Bluff the Imposter: Subverted. Terry Benedict tries this on Linus, who's disguised as a member of the Nevada Gaming Commission. It doesn't work, since Linus also has Livingston feeding him info.Benedict: You new at the commission?Linus: Been there about two years.Benedict: I know Hal Lindley over there; you work with him at all?Linus: (beat) Not since he died last year.
- 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)
- Book-Ends: 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.
- Briefcase Full of Money: Used as a way for the con men to empty the vault: the fake SWAT team enters with duffel bags full of red light district flyers and swaps them with the duffel bags full of cash in the vault their confederates packed. The fact that the bags would weigh about 300 pounds each when full of cash, and not much less when full of low-grade paper flyers is glossed over.
- 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.
- Camera Spoofing: The big twist in the first movie. The gang builds a perfect replica of the Bellagio vault. Then they train a camera on the replica of the vault, then they hack into the Bellagio security system and interpolate that video feed rather than the real video feed of the vault. So the Bellagio security monitors show a quiet, secure vault—the fake one—while in real life two of the gang are ransacking the real one.
- 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 Con Man
- 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: All three movies feature Caper Rationalizations that involve getting revenge against some really nasty individuals.
- In Ocean's Eleven, only Reuben is in it for revenge, and Danny is there to win his wife back. The others are in it mostly for the money. Still, the guy they're robbing is pretty unlikable.
- In Ocean's Twelve, they are in it to get money so they can pay off Benedict. Otherwise, he will have them killed. The secondary reason is to get back at The Night Fox.
- Only in Ocean's Thirteen is their rationalization purely revenge. They do offer Willy Bank a chance to make amends and pay back what he stole from Reuben. He refuses.
- Card Sharp: Linus facilitates this role. Also, Danny and Rusty clean out a poker school of celebrities in the first movie.Ocean: Cause yesterday I walked out of the joint after losing four years of my life and you're cold-decking "Teen Beat" cover-boys.
- 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.
- Celebrity Resemblance: Tess, played by Julia Roberts, pretends to be Julia Roberts.
- Character as Himself: Twelve had a slightly different version: Tess impersonates Julia Roberts as part of a caper. The end credits include the credit "Introducing Tess as Julia Roberts". Which was a Call-Back to the first movie's credit of: "Introducing Julia Roberts as Tess".
- Character Tics: Rusty is seen eating something in almost every scene. Brad Pitt explains it as stemming from the fact that busy as Rusty is, he never has the chance to sit down for a proper meal.
- 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 in her briefing early on 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.
- Cluster F-Bomb: In Ocean's Twelve, when Benedict is tracking everyone down, there's a scene where Basher is in a studio with a guy, listening to the final of a song. The song is full of bleeps, and Basher and the guy start arguing, their speech full of bleeps, especially the bit where the guy goes,
- Comedy of Remarriage: Danny tryies to patch things up with Tess, who divorced him out of shame after his conviction. He wins her back while committing even more crime.Tess: You are thief and a liar.
Danny: I only lied about being a thief. I don't do that anymore.
- Comforting the Widow: Played With:Danny: Phil Turrentine?Rusty: Dead.Danny: No shit, on the job?Rusty: Skin cancer.Danny: You send flowers?Rusty: Dated his wife for a while.
- Competence Porn: The thrill in these movies is seeing how these Genre Savvy crooks manipulate and worm their way and use the Unspoken Plan Guarantee to their advantage to pull the rug under the feet of both their mark and the audience, generating suspense and thrill, as opposed to earlier heist films, in a perfectly executed heist.
- 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.
- Conspicuous Consumption: In Thirteen, Willy Bank receives a gold plated and diamond encrusted cell phone as a gift. He's obviously been desiring one for a while. This is Flaw Exploitation by the protagonists, who have put an app on the phone that allows them to hack his security system, something that no other person would be able to go near with a personal device.
- Contortionist: One is needed to sneak into the safe.
- Cooperation Gambit: In the third film the group gets financial sponsorship from Terry Benedict in exchange for the profits. The main characters are happy with this deal, since it's not about the money this time.
- Creature of Habit: Terry Benedict is described as "a machine" because his schedule is so very precise, he even visits the men's room at the same time every day.
- 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".
- The Crime Job: Not as a title, but in Ocean's Twelve a side character brings up the events of the first movie to another, calling it the "Ocean's Job"; this leads to a small disagreement from the group when they find out, who thought that it was understood that it would be referred to as the "Bellagio Job" by all involved.
- Crossword Puzzle: Subverted. Frank Catton fills in a crossword with details of an overheard conversation while in an employee breakroom. But he's not distracted, he's taking notes covertly for later nefarious deeds.
- Crushing Handshake: Frank Catton does this to a car salesman in order to get a discount.
- Cryptic Conversation:
- Humorously deconstructed in Danny and Rusty meet up with an informant, with Linus insisting on tagging along. Before the meeting, they tell Linus that the informant only discusses business in a certain code and they don't have time to teach him, so he'll just have to play along:Informant: So, business?
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.
Informant: (speaking to Linus) Would you agree?
Linus: (thouroughly confused)
Danny: If all the animals along the equator were capable of flattery, then Thanksgiving and Halloween... would fall... on the same day.
Informant: When I was four years old, I watched my mother kill a spider... with a tea cozy. Years later, I realized it was not a spider — it was my Uncle Harold.
Linus: ...Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars fill my dreams.
Linus: I am a traveler in both time and space, to be where I have been.
(moments later, outside the restaurant)
Danny: Is that your idea of making a contribution?
Rusty: We hadn't even started. We ain't even got to the terms yet.
Danny: We came this close to losing that.
Linus: Hey, I don't even understand what happened in there. What did I say?
Danny: You called his niece a whore.
Rusty: A very cheap one.
Danny: She's seven.
- It isn't until much later in the movie, after Linus is rescued from prison by his mother that he figures out that all the nonsense phrases he'd heard really were just nonsense; a Lost in Translation con that Danny and Rusty (along with the informant) played on him, partly as a practical joke, and partly because they didn't want him screwing up their negotiations.
- Humorously deconstructed in Danny and Rusty meet up with an informant, with Linus insisting on tagging along. Before the meeting, they tell Linus that the informant only discusses business in a certain code and they don't have time to teach him, so he'll just have to play along:
- Cultural Translation: At the end of Eleven, as Danny is leaving the jail, he tells Rusty, "Ted Nugent called. He wants his shirt back." In other versions, the reference is changed to Elton John.
- 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.
- Curse Cut Short: In Ocean's Twelve, Basher is complaining about the censorship of his music, and the bleeps over the soundtrack playing exactly match up with his swear words. He then interrupts himself to tell someone to turn off the censor machine.
- Deadpan Snarker: Basically just about everyone in these movies, but especially Danny, Rusty, and Reuben.
- Decoy Convoy: In order to win the challenge imposed onto them by Gentleman Thief Toulour "The Night Fox", Ocean's Eleven must steal the Faberge Imperial Coronation Egg from a museum where it is being exhibited. Once almost the whole group has been captured and things look bleak, it is explained that the Faberge Egg arrived to the museum on one of these (the "official" convoy being a number of armored trucks and police escort and the real convoy being a man carrying it on a backpack in a bullet train alongside a few plainclothes bodyguards)... and the Eleven had stolen it while it was en route, meaning they had already won the challenge shortly after Toulour had made it, and the whole film up to that specific point had been them going through the motions in order to distract him from this fact.
- 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?
- 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.
- EMP: Basher uses an EMP generator called a pinch to cause a power outage at the casino so Danny and Linus can get past the security lasers. He even describes the device as "a bomb...but without the bomb." Assuming that such a device could be built, the rapid restoration of power is a Artistic License Physics/Artistic License Engineering double-header. Not to mention the additional effects that would certainly kill people given the loss of power would also affect anything with an engine and anyone on any kind of life support (e.g. pacemakers).
- Egocentric Team Naming: In Twelve, the main cast is upset that they are being called "Ocean's Eleven" because the name is centered on Danny Ocean. This example is unusual in that it wasn't Danny who came up with the name.
- 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. In Thirteen he agrees to bankroll the Eleven's heist before deciding to force them to steal Bank's diamonds both because Bank is a rival in the hotel industry and especially because Bank's new hotel is casting its shadow over the Bellagio's pool.
- In Thirteen, Bank showcases how much of a dick he's in general by being rude to everybody, but at one point he threatens to fire his personal secretary (who is one of the few people on the face of the planet that doesn't hates his guts) if she can't get him a super-limited-edition, made-by-order (which takes months to get filled) cell phone by yesterday. And then he gets bored after reading a couple of sentences of the letter she put on the box of said phone when she does manage to get it (with a little help of the Eleven, unknown to her), which exalts him as the best boss ever and that she's thankful of working for him, and shreds it. That cell phone ends up being an important step in his eventual doom, though.
- 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.
- Fixing the Game: Danny finds Rusty teaching poker to celebrities. As soon as Danny sits down, the two of them rook the kids for a couple grand. Just for fun.
- The third film shows what happens when you try to cheat at one of Willy Bank's casinos. Although, Bank's not as imaginative in this regard as Terry Benedict.
- 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.
- Freestate Amsterdam: Subverted in Twelve where the robber gang meets a local contact in an Amsterdam cafe and has a conversation so bizarre they seem to be on drugs. Turns out they're just messing with one character's head.
- 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."
- Freudian Trio:
- Heroes: Linus Caldwell (Id), Rusty Ryan (Ego), and Danny Ocean (Superego).
- Villains: Id: Toloure or Billy Bank if he's feeling irritable; Ego: Bank (huge one); Superego: Terry Benedict (or, nominally, Gaspar Le Marque).
- Friends All Along: Danny Ocean turns out to be old friends with the huge bruiser Benedict hires to beat him up.
- 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 match this trope quite well, requiring everything to interlock absolutely perfectly. However, they have to adjust the plans several times due to unexpected variables.
- In particular, the heist in Twelve relies on a Gambit Roulette within a Gambit Roulette, with a third Gambit Roulette thrown in for good measure. By the end of the film, the plan becomes so circuitous that it crosses some kind of gambit event horizon.
- Gentleman Thief: Averted by the protagonists, subverted by the Night Fox, and played straight by Gaspar LeMarc.
- Gilligan Cut: In Eleven.Rusty: I wonder what Reuben will say.
Reuben: You're outta your God damn minds!
- 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.
- Glad I Thought of It: Used when Danny and Rusty are discussing whether Saul will join their team.Danny: You could ask him.Rusty: Hey, I could ask him.
- 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.
- Hand Wave: In Thirteen, to explain the absence of Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Danny repeats the phrase "It's not their fight!" numerous times within the first ten minutes of the film. However, this turns out to be just to cover up the fact that they're going through rough patches in their relationships with Danny and Rusty; Danny and Rusty were too embarrassed to tell anyone.
- 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.
- HeelFace Turn: Benedict is the main villain, but by Ocean's Thirteen, he's convinced to support Ocean's gang, though he's still a ruthless bastard.
- 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 Heart Attack: Saul, posing as a rich European businessman, fakes a heart attack. His act is deliberately theatrical and dramatic in order to distract the casino's security staff and draw attention away from the rest of the team's efforts to break into the casino vault.
- 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.
- Hustling the Mark: Danny and Rusty hustle a group of actors who are complete amateurs at poker.
- 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.
- "I Know What We Can Do" Cut: All of the group's planning is done like this.
- I Take Offence to That Last One: Played With:Tess: You're a liar and a thief.Danny: I only lied about being a thief. Besides, I don't do that anymore.Tess: Steal?Danny: Lie.
- 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.
- Implied Answer:Danny: Ten oughta do it, don't you think?Rusty: [Stares in silence, not looking at Danny]Danny: You think we need one more?Rusty: [Silence]Danny: You think we need one more.Rusty: [Silence]Danny: All right, we'll get one more.Rusty: [Blinks]
- 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 Been Done: A variant, as Danny and Rusty pitch the central heist: "It's never been tried." Reuben gets a wonderful recap of the top three attempts, each illustrated with a period-piece flashback and his own sarcastic commentary.Reuben: This guy actually tasted fresh oxygen before they grabbed him. Of course, he was breathing out of a hose for the next three weeks. Goddamn hippy.
- 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.
- Jerkass: The antagonists (the first one, Terry Benedict, threatened to (and conceivably could) Kill 'Em All while the second one, Teloure, sicced Terry on the band of thieves because a friend of the heroes unknowingly insulted mentor) but especially Willy Bank, who screwed over Reuben by taking advantage of his connections, cutting him out of their hotel's partnership, and on top of all that he renamed the hotel after himself. It doesn't help that the Ocean & Co. have to go to Terry for financial aid in the middle of their revenge plot.
- Just Got Out of Jail: Ocean's Eleven opens with Danny being released on parole after a prison sentence.
- Kansas City Shuffle: All three films depend heavily on this to pull off their heists.
- Twelve less so, as they had won against Toulour before they'd even begun the real heist, they were really just doing it For the Lulz for him and actually to reunite Lemarc with his lost daughter Detective Lahiri.
- Thirteen more so, as they knew Benedict would double-cross them once they brought him in and he made an outrageous demand for seemingly petty reasons and no want of the reward, and had already prepared for it long before Toulour even showed up.
- Karma Houdini: The gang, outside of a brief spot in jail in the second film, never see any real retribution for their crimes. However, that's more attributable to Rule of Cool than anything.
- 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.
- Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy: Danny uses this trope after The Caper comes off successfully to throw off suspicion. When Benedict demands to know if Danny is responsible, Danny says he knows a guy he did time with who knows anyone who could have pulled off such a heist. Benedict just thinks he's being played and hands him over to the police for parole violation.
- Lame Rhyme Dodge: Inverted. Rusty is talking to a bartender, only it's too loud in the bar for them to hear each other. Rusty begins the conversation with something like, "Longest night of my life" When the bartender looks up, wondering what Rusty said, he says, "I'm running away with your wife," and the bartender just nods and smiles.
- 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.
- Let Me Get This Straight...: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...Rusty: Without being seen by the cameras.Danny: Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention that.Saul: Yeah well, say we do all that... uh... we're just supposed to walk out of there with $150,000,000 in cash on us, without getting stopped?[pause as everyone turns to look at Danny]Danny: Yeah.Saul: [nervously] Oh. Okay.
- Lie Detector: In Thirteen, Livingston has to pass a polygraph test as part of a scam, and spoofs the system by keeping a thumbtack in his shoe and pressing his foot down on it while answering the calibration questions. Later, the sophisticated computer systems can tell if a person was cheating at the games by reading various body signals. It is fooled when the rigged slot machine gives off the giant jackpot to a random woman who didn't know about the con. The first example even has the person administering the test point out that, if he didn't have the machine, he would've sworn that Livingston was lying. But the machine passes him.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: It's right in the title, even!
- Long Game: Ocean's Twelve uses this as a premise. The film's central action is a showdown between Danny Ocean's crew and Francois "Night Fox" Toulour as a competition to steal a Russian Faberge egg. However, Gaspar Le Marque, Toulour's mentor, is the one playing the "long con". An explanation Le Marque tips off Ocean's crew about the egg's location prior to its arrival at a museum, giving the crew time to steal it and switch it with a fake. Toulour steals the fake and gloats at his seeming victory until Danny and Tess Ocean arrive to tell him the truth. Le Marque has now discredited Toulour, Ocean now has the money needed to repay Terry Benedict from Toulour, and Le Marque reunites with his daughter, Europol agent Isabel Lahiri. Lahiri had been tracking Le Marque and Toulour during her career.
- He actually set the entire thing in motion when he did not disagree when an acquaintance called Ocean the greatest thief in the world during a conversationwith Le Marque and Toulour. This led to Toulour's need to prove himself to his mentor and set the game in motion with Ocean's crew.
- 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: Danny Ocean and friends. They're all charismatic in their own way, and everyone hates Terry Benedict anyway.
- 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.
- Make It Look Lik A Struggle: A variation: Benedict puts Danny Ocean in a room with a thug. Turns out the thug is actually on Danny's side, and he beats on the furniture to make it sound like he's beating the crap out of Danny while Danny himself escapes the room and joins in the heist. Later on, he returns to the room and the thug beats him up for real, making his alibi complete.
- Except at first the thug punches Danny across the jaw for real before realizing that part wasn't supposed to come until later.
- Male Gaze: In Thirteen the camera is almost always in position to get a good view of Sponder's cleavage.
- Man Bites Man: Not shown, but a security guard in Thirteen is decoyed away from his post by a fake phone call from his son's school, claiming that his kid just bit the lunch lady. Again.
- The Mark: Terry Benedict in Eleven, Van der Woude and the egg carrier in Twelve, Willy Bank in Thirteen.
- Massive Multiplayer Scam: The crew accomplishes their heist by intercepting the 911 call and posing as the SWAT team sent to break up their very own robbery.
- Mathematician's Answer: Danny Ocean is at his hearing to determine if he is fit to be released from prison.Male Examiner: You have a history of arrests, but you have never been successfully charged. Is there a particular reason you chose to commit this crime, or a reason you simply got caught this time?Danny: My wife left me. I fell into a self-destructive pattern.(beat)Female Examiner: If released, do you think you would fall into a similar pattern?Danny: She already left me once. I don't think she'd do it again just for kicks.
- 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.
- Meaningful Name: Thirteen's Big Bad is a greedy casino owner whose surname is Bank.
- Meaningless Villain Victory: In Thirteen, Terry Benedict (as the one helping fund the Bank heist) managed to obtain what he wanted (Willy Bank's humiliation), but his cut of the heist and his reputation as a man who makes all of his enemies pay if they double-cross him is lost because the team donates the cut's money to a homeless kids' camp and he cannot do anything about it without risking being painted as a monster by the media.
- Mischief for Punishment: One of the many elements of the heist requires that Danny Ocean be detained by casino security while the heist is being executed in order to provide him with an alibi as well as putting Benedict's mind at ease.
- Mission Control: Livingston Dell. Danny Ocean too, supposedly, but it didn't quite turn out that way.
- Mock Millionaire:
- In the first movie, Saul passes himself as "Limon Zerga,", an 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.
- Done again in Thirteen with Yen pretending to be a Chinese billionaire named Mr. Weng. When Banks' assistant points out that Weng doesn't come up on their standard background checks, Weng's assistant (Linus) points out that they work hard to keep his name out of such checks. On a dare, Linus suggests that Mr. Bank try to build something larger than two stories in China's Tianjin province and see if Mr. Weng's name comes up then. They maintain the image of a wealthy Chinese industrialist by having "Mr. Weng" prefer pai gow to other games.
- 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.
- Money Fetish: Saul sees the casino vault full of tens of millions in cash: "That's the sexiest thing I've ever seen."
- 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.
- My Card: Danny Ocean slips his card to Linus after watching him pickpocket a stockbroker. The card has his name embossed into it, but nothing else is printed on it - no address, no telephone number, no clever motto. (The directions for Linus to follow are hand-written.) So presumably either Danny spends a lot of time jotting his details on his own cards, or he only gives them to people who already know how to get hold of him...
- 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:
- Subverted when Linus notes that Terry Benedict, remembers the name of virtually everyone of his staff and their personal details as well we soon see him arriving at work and greeting the doorman by name, as well as asking about the man's family, though this is more to show that Benedict is a Control Freak rather than being generous. Further cementing this is that he only begins his Villainous Breakdown when he feels he is no longer in absolute control of the situation.
- 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.
- No Endor Holocaust: Danny's crew uses an electromagnetic device to shut off all electricity in Las Vegas for 30 seconds. Realistically, we should be looking at pacemakers going haywire, car crashes in the thousands, hospital equipment failing, and God help them if any planes were flying low over the city when it happened. Yet the sequels still only refer to them as thieves, not as the most successful and high-tech terrorists of all time. note
- They follow it up by causing a localized earthquake in the heart of the Strip for Ocean's Thirteen, severe enough to send the Bank's clients and employees scrambling for the exits. Not a safe bet to say nobody got trampled during the evacuation, especially since the "quake" lasted longer and was more intense than they'd initially intended.
- 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—
- 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
- When Danny and Rusty are leaving lunch with Reuben, after he initially turned them down.
- 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.
- No Sparks: Danny strongly suspects his ex-wife Tess doesn't love her current boyfriend Terry Benedict (the guy whose casino he's trying to rob). So he asks her if he makes her laugh, and Tess points out that at least he doesn't make her cry, basically admitting that she doesn't love Terry, but shutting down Danny's criticism through a cutting reminder of why she and Danny broke up.
- Non Violent Initial Confrontation: Danny and Benedict first meet at a restaurant and politely trade banter.
- Not His Sled: Whilst obviously differing significantly from the original, the film still manages to use this, with the heart attack now being part of the plan.
- 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]
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The theft of the pinch. Played for Laughs.
- Oh, Crap!: Essentially the reaction of everyone in Twelve—Basher appears to literally say this—when Benedict catches up with them.
- Once More, with Clarity!: Eleven does this to show how the crew pulled off the robbery, though not without a major plot hole. There is no explanation for how the fliers, that were used to simulate the money, got into the vault. It's not as if a casino would actually store those inside its vault in the amount required for that diversion.
- One Head Taller: Linus' dad and Linus to his mom.
- Obliquely referenced when Saul objects to Tess' relationship with Terry Benedict on the grounds that "she's too tall for him".
- Oral Fixation: Rusty is almost always eating something during his scenes. It may be a second to finish up or he'll eat through the whole scene. This helps establish Rusty's very cool and casual personality.
- The Perfect Crime: Theme of all three films.
- Phlebotinum Bomb: The "pinch", which releases an EMF pulse that causes a momentary blackout in Las Vegas.
- Plot Hole: The duffel bags of hooker ads magically appear in the vault elevator. Danny and Linus don't carry them in. Yen couldn't fit them into his small case (nor could they get them up to the elevator, which was stopped), and the security guys carry them out before the fake SWAT team gets there. The creators even admit in the audio commentary that there's no logical explanation for how they got there.
- Plunger Detonator: Used when Reuben's old building is blown up.
- 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, Yen 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.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Lampshaded after Danny's Motive Rant.Rusty: Been practicing that speech, haven't you.Danny: Little bit, did I rush? I felt like I rushed.Rusty: No, it was good, I liked it. Teen-beat thing was a little harsh.
- 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.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Briefly toyed with in Thirteen when Rusty and Danny Ocean watch Oprah and get a little choked up.
- Refuge in Audacity: Practically all their heists rely on this in some form or another:
- In Eleven, 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.
- Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: Used when Ocean is on the phone with his parole officer.
- Rewatch Bonus: Not uncommon with the genre, but Eleven in particular shows its hand with the heist a few times before The Reveal, which can be spotted on a rewatch: without calling attention to it, the Bellagio logo disappears when the feeds are switched, and, when the viewer is listening for it, can clearly make out Rusty's voice as the SWAT leader talking to Benedict and Livingston as the 911 operator.
- 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!: Willy 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.
- Secret Legacy: The sequels use this with Linus' parents. In Twelve, his mother appears as a police officer, takes over the investigation of his crime, breaks him in the interrogation room, and we are treated to a stunning reveal in the cars on the way out of the station. In Thirteen, his father turns up and pulls a very similar stunt. In both cases, the twist works only because we don't know who these police officers are and they are introduced as if their credentials are valid.
- Isabel's father was a thief who taught her everything he knew. She later becomes a cop and starts using that knowledge to catch thieves, including the famous Gaspar Le Marque. In the end, she finds out that Le Marque is her father.
- A blink-and-you'll miss it moment in Thirteen gives away Linus' father's identity. As Linus is being arrested by him in his day job as an FBI agent, Abigail calls him "Agent Caldwell". Before that, they take great pains not to mention his name, even when he picks up his office phone.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: In Ocean's Twelve, upon being told they were going to be killed, the group immediately got into an argument of why the group was called "Ocean's Eleven"
- 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."
- Side Bet: While watching Yen practice: "Ten says he shorts it." "Twenty!" Later, when the real deal comes up, the side bet gets a callback: "Ten says he shorts it." "No bet."
- The Silent Bob: Yen. Being Chinese, he doesn't know English (yet somehow the others are just OK with his Mandarin...). And most of the times where he does speak, swearing will be involved.
- 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 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.
- The Snack Is More Interesting: A running gag is that Rusty is almost always snacking on something, showing his nonchalance.
- Snipe Hunt: Rusty sends a detective out to "Go find Griggs," as a distraction while he's recruiting Basher in the guise of an FBI agent. This is also an example of the Bavarian Fire Drill, as Rusty brazenly walks into the police crime scene and walks off with their bombing suspect.
- Something That Begins with "Boring": The 20 questions version with the Molloy twins.Turk: (continuing an obnoxious conversation about whether he's thought of something yet) Okay, just ask your questions.Virgil: Are you a man?Turk: Yes, nineteen.Virgil: Are you alive?Turk: Yes, eighteen.Virgil: Evel Knievel.Turk:...shit.
- 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.
- Speech Impediment: Livingston speaks with a slight stutter.
- 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.
- Steal the Surroundings: In the sequels, this is done once straight and once as a variant.
- In Thirteen, a secure case full of diamond necklaces is hauled out of a casino's roof via helicopter.
- In Twelve, the team need line-of-sight to a specific window for a heist at a house built on pylons; the window's too low, so they raise the house until it lines up. (Granted, they only moved the surroundings, they didn't keep them, but it's certainly related.)
- Stealing from the Hotel: Danny makes a wisecrack about stealing the towels from his casino hotel room, when in reality he's planning on ripping off the whole casino chain.
- Stolen MacGuffin Reveal: In Twelve, 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.
- The Team Benefactor: Ruben. All he does is provide the initial investment and snark.
- Television Geography: Ocean's Twelve partly takes place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The iconic scene at the train station, which is supposed to be Amsterdam Central train station, however doesn't feature Amsterdam Central train station, but was shot in Haarlem train station—because while Amsterdam Central train station looks pretty on the outside, the inside looks completely generic (at least at the time the movie was shot - it's been thoroughly renovated since) while Haarlem train station's interior and tracks look/(ed) majestic.
- Theme Naming:
- Thieves' Cant: In Ocean's Twelve, Danny and Rusty engage in this with their contact Matsui. A confused Linus decides to get in by quoting the lyrics to Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir". The others inform him that he just called Matsui's niece a whore, but later admit that the whole thing was just an elaborate prank.
- 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.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Referenced when Saul objects to Tess being Benedict's girlfriend on the grounds that she's too tall for him. Presumably Saul finds this trope disagreeable.
- 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?
- Trojan Horse: The team smuggle Yen into the vault inside one of the cash boxes. And then smuggle most of the team both in and out in the SWAT vehicle.
- Used twice in Thirteen. First to sneak a camera and computer connection into the baddy's office and later to get a magnetron into the computer core.
- True Companions: Danny's crew. Especially notable in Thirteen, where in the beginning much of the team wants to drug, kill, and bury Willy Bank when he betrayed Reuben and caused him to go into shock.
- Rusty even walks out on a heist as he was breaking into the vault when he got a call saying his friend was in trouble.
- 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."
- Villainous Ethics Decay: Reuben bemoans Benedict's for Disproportionate Retribution targeting an enemy's friends, contrasting that "In the old days they'd just whack you."
- 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.
- Viva Las Vegas!: Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Thirteen are about pulling a heist/con on a Las Vegas casino owner, the former for profit and the latter for revenge.
- Waistcoat of Style: Terry's is an antique kimononote fabric.
- Wait Here: When part of the crew goes to steal the "pinch", Danny expressly tells Linus to wait in the van. He can't take the bickering of the Molloys and leaves, which leads to... complications.
- Was Just Leaving: Happens to Danny when Terry Benedict walks in on Danny talking to Tess at a restaurant.
- Waxing Lyrical: In Ocean's Twelve, Ocean and Rusty start talking Thieves' Cant with Matsui. Linus tries to join the conversation... by reciting Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir". It translates to calling the contact's niece a cheap whore. Or so they claim; in reality they're just playing a prank on him.
- Weapon for Intimidation: In Ocean's Thirteen, the Night Fox reappears to relieve Linus of the diamonds he'd just stolen. Linus hands them over and chides the Night Fox for being so uncouth as to simply threaten him with a gun. Just before departing, the Night Fox tosses him the gun to show that it's unloaded. He does have some standards.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Linus Caldwell. Danny hooks him in the first movie by promising that after this heist "dad'll be trading on his name"; in the second movie he's upset that his mom helps to bust him out of prison and that his dad knows this, as he will never let Linus live it down and in the third movie he finally gets a part in on one of his dad's schemes after being doubted by him through the whole movie. Then again, it's pretty hard to outdo an experienced thief who's legitimate/cover job is an FBI agent.
- Where's the Kaboom?: Used for comedic/suspenseful effect: Danny and Linus are reduced to doing this when they try to blow the charges inside the vault door, which is actually a good thing, as Yen is currently stuck near the door and struggling to get free. Doubles as an Ironic Echo when Linus repeats with only light ribbing what Danny told him earlier about focus.Linus: You know, you lose focus in this game for one second...Danny: I know, and somebody gets hurt. You don't hear Yen complaining.
- 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 Halloween would fall on the same day.
- World of Ham: The thieves many times are bigger than life or forced into hammy impersonations. The villains are even worse (including Al Pacino in full "HOO-AH!" mode). And the second movie has Bruce Willis As Himself, profusely enjoying it.
- 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.