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All 5 Ocean’s Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

If you include the original 1960 movie, the Ocean’s Eleven franchise spans 5 movies and more decades, but which of the iconic heist films is the best of them all? Many audiences will be most familiar with the Ocean’s Eleven movies that came with Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 remake of the original 1960 movie, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts. The film became a beloved blockbuster and has since spawned two sequels directed by Soderberg as well as an all-female led spinoff directed by Gary Ross, 2018’s  Ocean’s 8.

The first four films in the Ocean’s Eleven franchise revolve around a charming and skilled their, Danny Ocean. In the 1960 movie Danny was played by Frank Sinatra, with former ER star George Clooney picking up the role in Soderbergh’s three films from 2001-2007. Both Ocean’s Eleven movies were set in Las Vegas, as was the 2007 sequel Ocean’s Thirteen) and see Danny Ocean pulling together a talented crew of misfits to steal millions from casinos. The Ocean’s movies are reliably fun romps about charming characters pulling off impossible feats and getting one over on a villain who deserves it.

Related: Ocean’s 8 Perfectly Explains Why It Needed An All-Female Cast

The Ocean’s films, and Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven in particular, have come to define the modern idea of the heist movie. The tropes established in the movie have been imitated, referenced, and parodied across modern entertainment to the point of ubiquity. Outside of Marvel’s Avengers movies (which culminated in their own MCU heist story, of course), the Ocean’s franchise was also one of the last film sagas that required all-star ensemble casts of movie stars, with the requisite challenges of finding something creative and memorable in the plot for each actor to do. At the very least, the Ocean’s movies are colorful entertainment that isn’t meant to be taken too seriously but relies on an abundance of charm, style, effortless cool, and likeability, much like Danny Ocean himself.

5. Ocean’s Eleven (1960)

Oceans 11 Original 1960

The original Ocean’s Eleven was directed by Lewis Milestone and was a star vehicle for the Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. The film also starred Cesar Romero (Batman 1966’s Joker), Angie Dickinson, Norman Fell, Richard Conte, and Buddy Lester, among numerous other notable names of the era. Lawford brought the idea of World War II veterans robbing five Las Vegas casinos to Sinatra, who joked, “Forget the movie! Let’s pull the job!” 

Sinatra stars as Danny Ocean, who recruits ten of his former Army buddies to simultaneously heist the Sahara, Riviera, Sands, Flamingo, and Desert Inn casinos. Unfortunately, the film is a meandering mess. Sinatra and his gang shot the picture on the off hours during their Las Vegas performances and it contains little in the way of urgency or real stakes. Instead, the Rat Pack relies on their collective charm, wisecracks, in-jokes, and real-life camaraderie so that they’re essentially just playing themselves casually inching through the film’s plot. Even as a product of its time, Ocean’s Eleven (1960) is a drag to sit through and its best contribution to pop culture is inspiring Steven Soderbergh’s infinitely superior 2001 remake.

4. Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

Oceans 12 Pitt Clooney Damon

Tasked with following up his critically acclaimed 2001 blockbuster, Steven Soderbergh reassembled the entire cast for Ocean’s Twelve, along with new additions Catherine Zeta-Jones as Brad Pitt‘s love interest and Vincent Cassel as a new villain, the Night Fox, who competes with Danny Ocean for the title of best thief in the world. Soderberg is smart not to repeat Ocean’s Eleven‘s plot and structure; instead, he transplants Danny Ocean’s crew to Europe to pull off a couple of “impossible” heists in two weeks in order to pay back the $198-million they stole from Terry Benedict in the first film in order to save their own lives.

Unfortunately, the exotic European locales (Amsterdam, Rome, Lake Como) don’t make up for a convoluted and impenetrable plot and the film’s sheer excess. The heists Ocean’s team pulls also are much less interesting than how they took down the Bellagio in the 2001 film. Danny’s crew seem relatively unphased by their lives being in jeopardy and they coast through the film’s labyrinthine story. Zeta-Jones’ relationship with Brad Pitt is a highlight, as is the opportunity to see a continuation of Brad Pitt’s habit of always eating in movies. While Ocean’s Twelve maintains the tongue-in-cheek charm that made Ocean’s Eleven work so well, it occasionally takes it too far. A failing of the movie and a challenge for the audience’s suspension of disbelief comes in the meta-joke that is told about how Danny Ocean’s wife, Tess Ocean “looks just like” Julia Roberts, the actress that portrays her. While this would be an entertaining throwaway line, the plot of the movie ends up hinging on the supposed resemblance as the crew have her pose as her movie star doppelganger so that she even briefly fools Bruce Willis, who plays himself. Ocean’s Twelve is a lot more of what made Ocean’s Eleven work like gangbusters but in this case, more added up to a lot less than its predecessor. Despite mixed reviews, Ocean’s Twelve grossed $362-million worldwide; a financial success that assured third Ocean’s movie.

Related: Ocean’s Twelve Ending & Heist Explained

3. Ocean’s 8 (2018)

With Ocean’s 8, director and co-writer Gary Ross continues the Ocean’s franchise with an all-female cast led by Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Anne Hathaway, but to mixed results. Essentially a remake of Ocean’s Eleven set in New York City over 15 years later, Ocean’s 8 introduces Danny Ocean’s heretofore unmentioned sister Debbie (Bullock), who is newly released after 5 years in prison and immediately assembles a crew to steal a $150-million Cartier diamond necklace during the Met Gala. Debbie’s crew includes Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, and Awkwafina. Hathaway plays a movie star who becomes their mark (until she isn’t) and she outshines the rest of the cast.

He may not be in it, but Debbie’s story runs in lockstep with her big brother’s 2001 scheme. Just like Danny, Debbie is running a side hustle, only instead of reuniting with her ex, she plans to get him sent to prison. As Debbie, Bullock attempts to replicate George Clooney’s brains and bemused charm but the film’s fatal flaw is that there is essentially no villain and Ocean’s 8‘s heist goes off without a hitch (with help from a couple of cameos from Danny’s old buddies). The film lacks tension and stakes since Debbie and her crew are never in jeopardy, which illustrates just how important the Terry Benedict villain character was to Ocean’s Eleven. Met with so-so reviews and a modest $297-million worldwide gross, Ocean’s 8 hasn’t warranted a sequel, halting the female-led resurrection of the Ocean’s franchise. As something of a final insult, Ocean’s 8 kills Danny Ocean off-screen, seemingly ending the chances of any continuation of his own Ocean’s movies.

2. Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

Ocean’s Thirteen returns the whole crew to Las Vegas for a big hurrah that marks the end of Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy. The Ocean’s cast reunites for one more big score to take down a new enemy, Willy Bank (Al Pacino), an unscrupulous hotelier who is opening the Vegas Strip’s swankiest new casino. Ocean’s Thirteen is a pure revenge fantasy as Danny reassembles his crew to get retribution for Bank double-crossing their mentor Reuben (Elliott Gould). Vincent Cassel also reprises his role as the Night Fox but Ellen Barken plays the film’s lone female role since Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones didn’t return for the threequel.

The plot of Ocean’s Thirteen is arguably the most preposterous of all and centers on Danny’s crew renting a drill that can generate an earthquake on the Las Vegas Strip. However, the film is a stylish return to form for the Ocean’s franchise and it also contains odes to Frank Sinatra and sly The Godfather in-jokes between Al Pacino, Elliott Gould, and Andy Garcia. Another interesting twist is Danny turning to his old enemy, Terry Benedict, to finance his revenge scheme, while fully expecting Terry to betray him. While Ocean’s Thirteen isn’t in the same caliber as Ocean’s Eleven, the whole cast has a spring in their step, Pacino makes for a dastardly villain, and it’s overall the most enjoyable film of the sequels and remakes. Ocean’s Thirteen also happily reminds fans that Las Vegas is truly Danny Ocean’s town.

Related: Brad Pitt’s Life Goals Include Not Having To Make Ocean’s 14

1. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Oceans 11 Roberts Clooney

Ocean’s Eleven is a critically-acclaimed, crowd-pleasing blockbuster, a modern classic, and it’s the best Hollywood heist film of the 21st century. Director Steven Soderbergh’s reinvention of the 1960 original brings together an all-star cast and fully immerses them (and the audience) in the high-stakes glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. In Ocean’s Eleven, George Clooney‘s charming master thief Danny Ocean comes out of prison and assembles a crew of expert thieves for an impossible job: robbing $160-million from the Bellagio hotel and its ruthless owner, Terry Benedict, who also just happens to be dating Danny’s ex-wife Tess.

Despite the complexity and sheer ludicrousness of Danny’s heist, the audience is never left out of the gambit and every step, challenge, and roadblock Ocean’s Eleven encounters (which Danny anticipated) is comprehensible and a thrill to see Ocean’s crew overcome. As Danny Ocean, Clooney has never been cooler and he’s supported by Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, the late Bernie Mac, and Julia Roberts, all of whom match Clooney’s sheer movie star wattage. Also vital to the story is Andy Garcia’s Terry Benedict, who is a fearsome villain that fans root for Danny Ocean to beat. Ocean’s Eleven was a smash hit that grossed $450-million worldwide and it’s the high-roller standard that the rest of the Ocean’s franchise and other heist movies that followed it have been unable to equal.

Next: Ocean’s Fourteen Updates: Will A Proper Sequel Ever Happen?

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