As seen on TV! 1 in 8 true crime fans think they can pull off a real bank heist!

LONDON — Bank heist movies don’t come with the warning “don’t try this at home” — but maybe they should! One in eight true crime viewers believe they could successfully pull off a bank robbery after learning tips from film and television. A survey of 2,000 adults who enjoy the genre reveals that these people watch an average of 20 hours of fictional and real-life lawbreaking TV shows per month. Consequently, three in 10 respondents actually think they could solve a robbery, using the knowledge they acquired on their couch!

Additionally, 24 percent have even considered how they might go about conducting a heist themselves. More than a third (36%) believe a key skill in any robbery is being a master of disguise, while 11 percent think appearing intimidating is essential.

The research, commissioned by TV channel Sky HISTORY, also found that 26 percent would take a bag of cash they discovered in a bank but would never consider stealing from an individual or independent business. Furthermore, 21 percent would seize unattended gold bars from an open vault.

The study revealed that one in six (17%) view stealing from a bank as a “victimless” crime, as long as no one gets hurt, with a quarter admitting they wouldn’t report their partner to the police if they found out they committed such an offense.

A woman wearing a ski mask at night
Photo by Selim’s Hood on Unsplash

Of those taking part in the U.K. survey, 36 percent admitted they would take a bag full of $20 notes if they found it outside a bank, with 40 percent of these people willing to spend the money on bills and essentials to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis.

“This new series is fascinating as it unveils details about some of the most audacious heists ever attempted. Some of the stories from around the world are simply more outlandish than the movies. People love watching the extreme lengths criminals will go to, driven by sheer greed, and of course, witnessing the consequences that criminals face afterward,” says criminology expert Professor Emmeline Taylor in a statement.

The survey also ranked the top 20 heist scenes in film, including sequences from “The Italian Job” (1996), “Bonnie and Clyde,” and “Ocean’s Eleven.” The opening bank heist in “The Dark Knight” and the initial job and getaway in “Baby Driver” also made the list.

Almost six in 10 (59%) respondents enjoy watching the crime genre as a form of escapism from everyday life, and 39 percent appreciate watching people try to outsmart each other. Moreover, 71 percent think some true crime events are wilder and more unbelievable than fictional stories.

However, when watching these shows, 52 percent of those polled via OnePoll desire accurate portrayals so they know precisely what transpired in real life.

“Documentaries and programs about bank robberies tap into a life that is far removed from most people’s experiences. There have been some great scenes in films that are both realistic and entertaining. But sometimes it’s interesting to watch what really happened – as the research shows, a lot of the time, real events are more dramatic than fictional scenes,” a spokesperson for Sky HISTORY adds.

Top 20 Best Heist Movie Scenes of All Time:

  1. The heist in “The Italian Job” – 1966
  2. The robbery in “Bonnie and Clyde” – 1967
  3. Terry Benedict’s vault in “Ocean’s Eleven” – 2001
  4. “The Taking of Pelham 123” – 1974
  5. The opening bank heist in “The Dark Knight” – 2008
  6. The opening job (and getaway) in “Baby Driver” – 2017
  7. The ex-presidents bank heist in “Point Break” – 1991
  8. The armored truck heist in “Heat” – 1995
  9. The final dream-heist in “Inception” – 2010
  10. The heist in “Inside Man” – 2006
  11. The heist-gone-wrong in “Dog Day Afternoon” – 1975
  12. The Rio de Janeiro bank vault heist in “Fast Five” – 2011
  13. The spa job in “Sexy Beast” – 2000
  14. The Mulligan heist in “Widows” – 2018
  15. The Mappin & Webb jewel heist in “Rififi” – 1955
  16. The opening bank heist in “Out of Sight” – 1998
  17. The racing circuit job in “Logan Lucky” – 2017
  18. Fenway Park job in “The Town” – 2010
  19. The second bank robbery in “Set it Off” – 1996
  20. The racetrack job in “The Killing” – 1956

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72Point writer Charlotte Minett contributed to this report.

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