BanditsOctober 12, 2001
Two bank robbers fall in love with the girl they've kidnapped.
Release Year: 2001
Rating: 6.5/10 (37,227 voted)
Critic's Score: 60/100
Stars: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett
Two convicts, one charismatic (Willis) and the other a hypochondriac (Thornton), break out of prison and immediately start a bank robbing spree, kidnapping bank managers, spending the night with their families, then going with the managers in the morning to rob the banks. Using a dim-witted stunt man as their getaway driver and lookout, the three successfully pull off several jobs (even gaining the attention of a television show about American criminals), and become known as "The Sleepover Bandits." Things are going great until the bank managers begin to realize that the robbers are non-violent and therefore no threat to them or their employees, changing the game for the Bandits. To add to the complications, a bored & unhappy housewife (Blanchett) ends up in the hands of the criminals, and begins to have romantic feelings for both Willis and Thornton, causing a sticky love triangle.
Joseph 'Joe' Blake
Billy Bob Thornton
Terry Lee Collins
Harvey 'Dog' Pollard
Brían F. O'Byrne
Two's Company, Three's A Crime.
Release Date: 12 October 2001
Filming Locations: Bodega Bay, California, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $13,050,700
(14 October 2001)
(3 February 2002)
Did You Know?
Billy Bob Thornton has a phobia of antique furniture in real life, and the producers wrote it in as part of his character.
At the bar when Terry gets out of his seat the chair falls. A minute later the chair is back up again.
Got the gun?
[the back window of the car they are driving gets shot out]
Funny, entertaining and original
This could've been just another "Bonnie and Clyde"-style crime caper, but
it's more than that. "Bandits" starts out as a slick action-comedy and
evolves into a sweet romantic comedy. When I found out Barry Levinson was
the director, I assumed the film would be at least halfway decent. Levinson
has a keen eye for character development, and that's one of the things that
interested me. Normally, a film like this would be consisted of
cut-and-dry, stereotypical characters, but we gradually fall in love these
three characters. After reading the rave reviews (Joel Siegel voted this as
one of the best films of the year), despite poor box office numbers, I had
high expectations for this film–higher than they were after watching the
trailer. For some reason, this just doesn't look like a film that would
receive 4-star reviews. Now that I have seen it, I can't regard it as a
4-star film, but it's good and entertaining and I wasn't disappointed.
Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton make a great team–they really have an
impeccable chemistry. I hope to see them teamed up again in the future.
They have the potential to be the next Martin and Lewis. Billy Bob
especially steals the film, playing a neurotic Woody Allen-type. He is
absolutely hilarious! Bruce flashes his trademark grin and speaks in his
usual soft tone, but his role doesn't exactly require the talents of Pacino
or DeNiro. Still, Bruce is entertaining and his constant banter with Billy
Bob makes the experience even more entertaining. And last but not least, I
will mention Cate Blanchett, who gives another incredible performance. I
was lucky enough to rent 2 Cate Blanchett movies–this film and "The
Gift"–by coincidence. I got to see her sweet, charming performance in
"Bandits" as well as her powerful dramatic performance in "The Gift." Just
watching those 2 films, gives me a great idea of her scope as an actress.
It's sometimes hard to believe she's an Australian actress. How she pulls
off such an impeccable American accent–I don't know. I think if I were to
hear her speak in an Australian accent, I'd think she's feigning it. Well,
Blanchett perfectly completes the trio of actors, and has a great chemistry
with the 2 male leads. And it's great to see that Willis, Thornton and
Blanchett all seem like they're having fun.
When first watching this movie, I found some of the bank robberies–though
very slick and original–to be quite implausible. If the film wasn't as
charming and likable, I'd probably have a difficult time suspending
disbelief. But then I found out the story of the "Sleepover Bandits" was
actually based on a real duo of bank robbers. Of course, this is nowhere
close to a biopic and most of the story is obviously fiction, the concept of
these two guys sleeping over the bank managers' houses and robbing their
banks the next morning was based on truth. Why these managers didn't call
the cops while the two guys weren't watching or why they didn't try to
strangle the two guys in their sleep–I don't know. The truth really is
stranger than fiction. But the bandits did have an interesting gimmick:
they only robbed banks, since the money belonged to the government; they
never snatched money from people's pockets. There's actually a scene in the
movie in which they bust out of prison and rob a lady's car. Willis hands
the lady her pocketbook and says, "Don't forget your pocketbook."
The film evolves into a romantic comedy during the second half. I guess
that's why audiences were disappointed–they probably expected a sheer
action-comedy/crime caper and not a romantic comedy. But I think the fact
that the screenwriter and Levinson stretched this out into a romantic comedy
made it all the more better. It added new dimensions, and helped us better
fall in love with these amiable characters. It was fun watching the strong
and macho Willis vie lanky pushover Thornton over the love of alluring
Blanchett. It creates an interesting conflict, and spawns some very funny
The film concludes, picking up from where it left off in the
beginning–which is the two bandits pulling off their last bank robbery.
The twist ending is nifty and unpredictable, and left me satisfied. Though
this is basically a feel-good comedy that kept me smiling, there's no cheap
schmaltz or trashy sentiment. That's what happens when you're under the
wing of a great director. This is not an excellent film, like some critics
said–I don't think any movie that contains Blanchett's horrible rendition
of "Walk on By" deserves to be regarded as "excellent" (Cate should
DEFINITELY stick to acting!)–but it's good, solid entertainment. And I
love the use of U2's "Beautiful Day"!
My score: 7 (out of 10)