ⓘ Ocean's Eleven

Ocean's Eleven

ⓘ Oceans Eleven

Oceans Eleven is a 2001 American heist film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Ted Griffin. The first installment of the Oceans franchise, it is a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film of the same name. Oceans Eleven features an ensemble cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac and Julia Roberts. Oceans Eleven follows friends Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan, who plan a heist of 0 million from casino owner Terry Benedict, the lover of Oceans wife Tess.

Upon release, the film was a success at the box office and with critics; it was the fifth highest-grossing film of 2001, with a worldwide gross of $450 million. Soderbergh directed two sequels, Oceans Twelve in 2004 and Oceans Thirteen in 2007, which make up the Oceans Trilogy. Oceans 8, a spin-off with an all-female lead cast, was released in 2018.


1. Plot

Following his release from prison, Danny Ocean violates his parole by traveling to California to meet his partner-in-crime and friend Rusty Ryan to propose a heist. The two go to Las Vegas to pitch the plan to wealthy friend and former casino owner Reuben Tishkoff. The plan consists of simultaneously robbing the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand casinos. Reubens familiarity with casino security makes him very reluctant to get involved, but when he starts to think of it as a good way to get back at his rival, Terry Benedict, who owns all three casinos, Reuben agrees to finance the operation. Because the casinos are required by the Nevada Gaming Commission to have enough cash on hand to cover all their patrons bets, the three predict that on the upcoming night of a highly anticipated boxing match, the Bellagio vault will contain more than $150.000.000.

Danny and Rusty recruit eight former colleagues and criminal specialists: Linus Caldwell, a young and talented pickpocket; Frank Catton, a casino worker and con man; Virgil and Turk Malloy, a pair of gifted mechanics; Livingston Dell, an electronics and surveillance expert; Basher Tarr, an explosives expert; Saul Bloom, an elderly con man; and "The Amazing" Yen, an accomplished acrobat. Several team members carry out reconnaissance at the Bellagio to learn as much as possible about the security, the routines, the behaviors of the casino staff, and the building itself. Other members create a precise replica of the vault with which to practice maneuvering through its formidable security systems. During this planning phase, the team discovers that Dannys ex-wife, Tess, is Benedicts girlfriend. Rusty urges Danny to give up on the plan, believing Danny incapable of sound judgment while Tess is involved, but Danny refuses.

On the night of the fight, the plan is put into motion. Danny shows up at the Bellagio purposely to be seen by Benedict, who, as predicted, locks him in a storeroom with Bruiser, a bouncer. However, Bruiser is on Dannys payroll and allows him to access the vent system and join his team as they seize the vault, coincident with activities of their other team members in and around the casino. Rusty calls Benedict on a cell phone Danny dropped in Tesss coat earlier and tells him that unless he lets them have half of the money in the vault, they will blow it up; Benedict sees video footage confirming Rustys claim. Benedict complies, having his bodyguards take the loaded duffel bags to a waiting van driven by remote control. Benedict has his men follow the van, while he calls in a SWAT team to try to secure the vault. The SWAT teams arrival causes a shootout that sets off the explosives and incinerates the remaining cash. After affirming the premises otherwise secure, the SWAT team collects their gear and departs.

As Benedict heads to examine the ruined vault himself, his men stop the van and find the bags were only loaded with flyers for prostitutes. Benedict studies the video footage and recognizes that the flooring in the vault on the video lacks the Bellagio logo, which had been added only recently to the vault. It is shown that Dannys team used their practice vault to create fake footage to fool Benedict. Furthermore, they themselves were the SWAT team and used their gear bags to take all of the money from the vault right under Benedicts nose. Benedict goes to see that Danny has seemingly been locked up in the storeroom throughout the heist and thus innocent of any crime. As Tess watches via CCTV, Danny tricks Benedict into saying he would give up Tess in exchange for the money. Benedict, unsatisfied with Dannys plan to get back the money, orders his men to escort Danny off the premises and inform the police that he is violating his parole by being in Las Vegas. Tess leaves Benedict and exits the hotel just in time to see Danny arrested. The rest of the team bask in the victory in front of the Fountains of the Bellagio, silently going their separate ways one-by-one. When Danny is released after serving time for his parole violation, he is met by Rusty and Tess. They drive off, closely followed by Benedicts bodyguards.


2. Cast

The Eleven

In order of recruitment:

  • Elliott Gould as Reuben Tishkoff
  • Don Cheadle as Basher Tarr
  • Matt Damon as Linus Caldwell
  • Shaobo Qin as "The Amazing" Yen
  • Brad Pitt as Robert "Rusty" Ryan
  • Casey Affleck and Scott Caan as Virgil and Turk Malloy
  • Eddie Jemison as Livingston Dell
  • Bernie Mac as Frank Catton
  • Carl Reiner as Saul Bloom
  • George Clooney as Danny Ocean


  • Andy Garcia as Terry Benedict
  • Julia Roberts as Tess Ocean


  • Five television actors make cameos as themselves, being taught how to play poker by Rusty
  • Joshua Jackson
  • Topher Grace
  • Shane West
  • Barry Watson
  • Holly Marie Combs
  • Siegfried and Roy as themselves
  • Henry Silva and Angie Dickinson as themselves both appeared in the original
  • Jerry Weintraub as Denny Shields, a high-roller gambler
  • Wladimir Klitschko as himself
  • Wayne Newton as himself
  • Lennox Lewis as himself
  • Steven Soderbergh as one of the bank robbers with Basher

3. Production

In January 2000, Warner Bros. was moving forward with Steven Soderbergh on development of an Oceans Eleven remake, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts. Johnny Depp was being considered for Linus Caldwell, while Luke and Owen Wilson were in discussions to play the Malloy twins. However, the Wilson brothers had to vacate due to their commitment to The Royal Tenenbaums. Mike Myers, Bruce Willis, Ewan McGregor, Alan Arkin and Ralph Fiennes were considered for roles but ended up dropping out. Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen were considered as replacements for the Wilson brothers, but Soderbergh cast Scott Caan and Casey Affleck instead. Mark Wahlberg was originally cast as Linus Caldwell, but left in favor of starring in another remake, Planet of the Apes, and was subsequently replaced with Matt Damon. Clooneys commitment to Oceans Eleven forced him to turn down the lead role in Unfaithful.


4.1. Reception Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 82% based on 172 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The sites critical consensus reads, "As fast-paced, witty, and entertaining as it is star-studded and coolly stylish, Oceans Eleven offers a well-seasoned serving of popcorn entertainment." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.

People magazine called the film "pure fun from start to finish," and included it in its end-of-year Best of Screen list. Newsweek said Oceans Eleven "bounces along with finger-snapping high spirits," and said that while Soderbergh has "made deeper films.this carefree caper movie is nothing to sneeze at." Time magazines reviewer Richard Corliss criticized the film, saying it "doesnt offer much." In a poll during November 2008, Empire magazine called Oceans Eleven the 500th best film on The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. For Don Cheadles role in this film, he needed to learn to speak with a cockney accent, which drew harsh reviews from critics and is recognized as being one of the worst accents in film. Cheadle commented on his accent, saying "My British friends. tell me a truly terrible London accent in Oceans 13. You know something, I really worked on that accent. Went to London, spoke to people, got to know it. my agent said it was fine, so Im stuck with this thing. Even though everyone laughs at me. So I sacked her, of course".

Entertainment Weekly put "The Oceans 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 Soderberghs 2001 roll of the dice provided the most winning robbery sequence of the decade."


4.2. Reception Box office

Oceans 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 $183.417.150 in the United States and grossed $267.311.379 overseas, leaving a worldwide gross of $450.728.529.


5. Sequels

Soderbergh directed two sequels, Oceans Twelve in 2004 and Oceans Thirteen in 2007, which make up the Oceans Trilogy.

A new Oceans Eleven film with an all-female cast led by Sandra Bullock, titled Oceans 8, was released June 8, 2018. It was conceived by producer Jerry Weintraub, Soderbergh and Clooney. Olivia Milch and Gary Ross were writer of the screenplay, and director respectively. Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna Fenty, Mindy Kaling, and Nora "Awkwafina" Lum made up the ensemble cast.


6. Other adaptations

Takarazuka Revue adapted the movie as a musical in 2011–2012 in Japan Takarazuka Grand Theater; Tokyo Takarazuka Theater. The production was performed by Star Troupe and the cast included Reon Yuzuki as Danny Ocean, Nene Yumesaki as Tess Ocean and Shio Suzumi as Rusty Ryan.

The 2014 Bollywood film Happy New Year draws heavily on the plot of Oceans Eleven, with Shah Rukh Khan starring as the protagonist.


7. Music

  • "Blues in the Night" written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer; performed by Quincy Jones
  • "Dream, Dream, Dream" written by Jimmy McHugh, Jean Pierre Mottier, Mitchell Parish and Jeannine Melle; performed by Percy Faith and His Orchestra
  • "Caravan" written by Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol; performed by Arthur Lyman
  • "69 Police" written by David Holmes, Phil Mossman, Darren Morris, Aldo Tagliapietra, Stanley Walden and Giovanni Smeraldi; performed by David Holmes remix of the Le Orme song Ad Gloriam
  • "Spanish Flea" written by Julius Wechter; performed by Powerpack Orchestra
  • "Clair de Lune" written by Claude Debussy and arranged by Lucien Cailliet; performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra; conducted by Eugene Ormandy
  • "Take My Breath Away" written by Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock; performed by Berlin
  • "Moon River" written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer; performed by Liberace
  • "A Little Less Conversation" written by Billy Strange and Mac Davis; performed by Elvis Presley
  • "Theme For Young Lovers" written and performed by Percy Faith and His Orchestra
  • "Spirit in the Sky" written and performed by Norman Greenbaum
  • "Papa Loves Mambo" written by Al Hoffman, Dick Manning and Bickley Reichner; performed by Perry Como
  • "Theme From A Summer Place" written by Max Steiner
  • "Cha Cha" written by James DAngelo, Leo Johns, Jimmy Kelleher, Marc Lanjean, Henri Salvador and Marcel Stellman; performed by Jimmy Luxury and The Tommy Rome Orchestra
  • "Gritty Shaker" written and performed by David Holmes
  • "The Projects" P Jays written by Dan Nakamura, Paul Huston, Tarin Jones and Trugoy The Dove as David Jolicoeur; performed by Handsome Boy Modeling School" featuring De La Soul as Trugoy De La Soul) and Del as Del Tha Funkee Homosapien
  • "Misty" composed by Erroll Garner; performed by Liberace

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