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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Ocean's Eleven (2001)


Plot Summary: Following his release from prison, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) meets his partner-in-crime and friend Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) to propose a heist. The plan consists of simultaneously robbing the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand casinos, owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) for more than $150 million. Danny and Rusty recruit nine friends and criminal specialists: Linus Caldwell, a young and talented pickpocket (Matt Damon); Frank Catton, a discredited casino dealer and con man (Bernie Mac); Virgil and Turk Malloy, a pair of gifted mechanics (Casey Affleck and Scott Caan); Livingston Dell, an electronics and surveillance expert (Eddie Jemison); Basher Tarr, an explosives expert (Don Cheadle); Saul Bloom, an elderly con man (Carl Reiner); and "The Amazing" Yen, an accomplished acrobat (Shaobo Qin). Facing impossible security and overwhelming odds, will the team get the loot and get away?


Cast:

  • Steven Soderbergh, Director

  • Ted Griffin, Screenplay

  • George Clooney as Danny Ocean

  • Bernie Mac as Frank Catton

  • Brad Pitt as Robert "Rusty" Ryan

  • Elliott Gould as Reuben Tishkoff

  • Casey Affleck as Virgil Malloy

  • Scott Caan as Turk Malloy

  • Eddie Jemison as Livingston Dell

  • Don Cheadle as Basher Tarr

  • Shaobo Qin as "The Amazing" Yen

  • Carl Reiner as Saul Bloom

  • Matt Damon as Linus Caldwell

  • Andy Garcia as Terry Benedict

  • Julia Roberts as Tess Ocean

*Recognition:

  • Upon release, the film was a success at the box office and with critics; it was the fifth highest-grossing film of 2001.

  • Ocean's Eleven had a budget of about $85 million. On its opening weekend, it grossed an estimate of $38 million and was the top box-office draw for the weekend. The film grossed $183,418,150 in the United States and grossed $267,311,379 overseas, leaving a worldwide gross of $450,728,529.

  • Entertainment Weekly put "The Ocean's Eleven heist scene" on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Featuring three impregnable Vegas casinos and 11 ring-a-ding criminals, Steven Soderbergh's 2001 roll of the dice provided the most winning robbery sequence of the decade.

  • In a poll during November 2008, Empire magazine called Ocean's Eleven the 500th best film on The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.

Did You Know:

  • The Bellagio let the crew tap into their security system to get real surveillance footage of the casino.

  • The entire cast worked for less than their usual salaries to bring down the budget.

  • Steven Soderbergh wanted the actors to hang out on set to make sure they had good chemistry. During downtime, the cast often crowded around Carl Reiner to listen to his stories.

  • Andy Garcia said it wasn't easy to do a serious scene with Carl Reiner because Reiner was so funny.

  • Matt Damon's part as Linus Caldwell, the pick pocket, was initially meant for Mark Wahlberg who turned down the role in order to star in Planet of the Apes (2001).

  • Don Cheadle is uncredited despite having a major role. This is due to a dispute over his billing. Cheadle wanted above the title billing alongside George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt. When he was refused, he refused to be credited at all. Cheadle received above the title billing in Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007).

  • Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson were to play the brothers Virgil and Turk, but dropped out to film The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). Danny Glover also turned down the role of Frank Catton in order to be in that film.

  • George Clooney and the other actors played pranks on Julia Roberts. Sometimes they left 5 AM wake-up calls for her when she didn't need to be on set until noon.

  • Most of the movie was shot in Las Vegas, where producer Jerry Weintraub had many connections. He got the filmmakers access to the casinos. George Clooney called him the "Pope of Vegas."

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: With the support of his friends, Danny wins back his wife by robbing the guy she's currently dating.


Best Performance: George Clooney (Danny)/Steven Soderbergh (Director)

Best Secondary Performance: George Clooney (Danny)/Brad Pitt (Rusty)

Most Charismatic Award: Carl Reiner (Saul)

Best Scene:

  • Parole

  • Atlantic City

  • Movie Star Poker

  • Recruiting Montage

  • The Plan

  • Tess

  • The Pinch

  • Heist Night

  • SWAT

  • Bellagio Fountain

Favorite Scene: Recruiting Montage/The Plan

Most Indelible Moment: SWAT/Bellagio Fountain


In Memorium:

  • Stewart Bevan, 73, British actor. Brannigan (1975), The Ghoul (1975), House of Mortal Sin (1976), Ivanhoe (1982), Chromophobia (2005) and The Scouting Book for Boys (2009) while on television, he was best known for playing Clifford Jones in Doctor Who (1973) and Ray Oswell in Emmerdale (1977).

  • Xavier Marc, 74, Mexican actor (Two Mules for Sister Sara, The Bridge in the Jungle, The Legend of Zorro).

  • Dale Critchlow, 92, American actor (Napoleon Dynamite, Church Ball).

  • Lindsey Pearlman, 43, American actress (Chicago Justice). Pearlman was a member of The Second City Conservatory. She recurred in Chicago Justice, in the role of Joy Fletcher, for five episodes. She also had guest roles in Sneaky Pete, American Housewife, The Purge, and General Hospital. In 2021, she recurred as Martha on The Ms. Pat Show, and as Karen in Vicious. She also played Diane Warren on Selena: The Series on Netflix (2021)

  • David Brenner, 59, American film editor (Born on the Fourth of July, The Doors, The Patriot, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel, Independence Day, Avatar 2 and 3), Oscar winner (1990).

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Basher Tarr: Leave it out! You tossers! You had one job to do!


Danny Ocean: Ted Nugent called he wants his shirt back.


Frank Catton: Might as well call it whitejack.


Terry Benedict: I know everything that's happening in my hotels.

Danny Ocean: So I should put the towels back?

Terry Benedict: No, the towels you can keep.


Turk Malloy: Ten thirty-six. Get a watch that works.


Saul Bloom: If you ever ask me that question again Daniel. You will not wake up the following morning.


Linus Caldwell: Apparently, he's got a record longer than my... well, it's long.


Saul Bloom: I can assure you, Mr.Benedict, that your generosity in this matter will not go overlooked.


Rusty: You scared?

Linus: You suicidal?

Rusty: Only in the morning.


Frank Catton: You have lovely hands. Do you moisturize?


Rusty: I need the reason. Don't say money. Why do this?

Danny: Why not do it?

[Rusty shakes his head]

Danny: Because yesterday I walked out of the joint after losing four years of my life and you're cold-decking "Teen Beat" cover boys. [pause]

Danny: 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. [another pause]

Rusty: Been practicing that speech, haven't you?

Danny: Little bit. Did I rush it? Felt like I rushed it.

Rusty: No, it was good, I liked it. "Teen Beat" thing was harsh.


Reuben: [as Danny and Rusty are leaving Reuben's home after lunch] 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.


Rusty: [in an empty office after business hours] You'd need at least a dozen guys doing a combination of cons.

Danny: Like what, do you think?

Rusty: Off the top of my head, I'd say you're looking at a Boeski, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros and a Leon Spinks, not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever.


Danny: Which one is the amazing Yen?

Rusty: [intentionally being vague] He's the little Chinese guy.


Reuben: You guys are pros. The best. I'm sure you can make it out of the casino. Of course, lest we forget, once you're out the front door, you're still in the middle of the fucking desert!


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 7.5

Impact/Significance: 9.25

Novelty: 7.75

Classic-ness: 8

Rewatchability: 10

Audience Score: 8.4 (88% Google, 80% RT)

Total: 50.9


Remaining Questions:

  • How did the crew get in the bags with the hooker flyers?

  • How does Benedict not recognize Rusty's voice as the SWAT guy at the end?

  • How does Yen survive the blast?

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