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Bandits (2001)



Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 139
Fresh: 90 | Rotten: 49

The story may not warrant its lengthy running time, but the cast of Bandits makes it an enjoyable ride.


Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 15

The story may not warrant its lengthy running time, but the cast of Bandits makes it an enjoyable ride.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 58,309

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Barry Levinson follows up the low-budget An Everlasting Piece (2000) with another comedy, this one of the homegrown variety from former Twin Peaks (1990) TV series writer Harley Peyton. Bruce Willis stars as suave bank robber Joe, who has escaped from prison with his hypochondriac buddy Terry (Billy Bob Thornton). Together, the two men have devised a clever scheme to take a bank officer hostage the night before a heist, then simply escort the executive to work early the next morning


Drama, Comedy

Harley Peyton

Apr 2, 2002


MGM Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (157) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (90) | Rotten (49) | DVD (28)

Thornton and Willis save the day with their performances.

November 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I like movies that don't settle into a groove, especially if the groove is already well worn. But the different kinds of movies that make up Bandits are pretty worn, too.

January 22, 2002 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's just about impossible not to fall for the ingratiating trio, especially Thornton's Terry.

January 6, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What started as cute becomes cloying and bloated.

October 18, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie has a one-take feel about it, containing vast stretches where nothing much happens. The cinematography looks amateurish, often badly composed and poorly lit.

October 12, 2001 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Levinson must think he's on safe ground morally by keeping Bandits bloodless, as if the absence of carnage somehow makes kidnapping and armed robbery wholesome.

October 12, 2001 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Adults will get this movie, but kids won't.

December 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Terrible. A substitute for sleep medication that's so self-indulgent and plodding, it drove four people out of my screening midway through.

August 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

A hybrid crime-comedy that unsuccessfully tries to blend classic screwball comedy (the Preston Sturges brand), romantic triangles (Jules et Jim, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), and character-driven crimers (a la Bonnie and Clyde).

March 31, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

There's good on-screen chemistry, good acting, and an incredibly well written and clever ending.

December 31, 2005 Full Review Source:

Bandits' most intriguing plot line, the three-way love story, merely hints at the complexity of a two-man/one-woman relationship and never moves past the initial stages of cuteness and adolescent eroticism.

September 30, 2003 Full Review Source:

comedy, a great cast, an intelligent script, but a weak ending.

September 27, 2003 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

The Odd Couple meets Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Fairly fresh and fun, if ultimately fleeting entertainment.

February 17, 2003 Full Review Source: Entertainment Today
Entertainment Today

As the eponymous bandits, tough-guy Willis, with his usual array of slanted smirks and horrendous hairpieces, is easily outshone by the versatile Thornton.

February 13, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

The action-comedy could have easily been a delightful romp thanks to its A-list cast and well-written script, but poor editing causes Bandits to be just another hum-ho movie.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

It is an unexpected blend of caper, buddy flick and romantic comedy, brought to life by a skilled cast who look for all the world like they are having themselves one heckuva a blast.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Sometimes funny, sometimes boring, overall a mediocre film

August 1, 2002

Who in his right mind would fall for the woman in this movie?

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

A lighthearted action/comedy with great performances that's worth checking out in the theater.

July 9, 2002 Full Review

Sin mayores pretensiones que la de divertir un rato, logra su cometido con creces.

June 11, 2002 Full Review Source: Moviola

clearly the work of a guy who shows up and does his job with one eye on the clock. ... the promised fireworks never materialize, partly because Willis is constantly blown away by Blanchett and Thornton's vigorous comic turns...

June 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

The same Hollywood that brought us the vision of The Marquis De Sade as 'champion of free speech' earlier this year in Quills, now brings us the positively lovable bank-robbing duo of Bandits.

May 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Tooele Transcript-Bulletin (Utah)
Tooele Transcript-Bulletin (Utah)

...flimsy stuff, to be sure...but it's good-natured fun and provides as many or more laughs as any straightforward comedy released in 2001.

March 18, 2002
Movie Metropolis

Thornton's brilliant performance justifies a great deal of the pap on display.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source:

The reparte in Bandits is annoyingly clownish and the only inquiry you find yourself wondering about is how both leads Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton manage to keep those shaggy hairpieces on their pates without the wind blowing them off!

March 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Movie Eye
Movie Eye

Audience Reviews for Bandits

Of course, Bandits is not one of the best film ever, but presents a nice script, a good cast and a very good performance by Thornton. Bandits, also, most have not much material to present in 122 minutes, problem that could make the movie stay a little boring. Fresh.
March 20, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Bandits is the story of two criminals who one day impulsively escape from prison and decided to embark on a series of bank robberies to fund their plan of retiring in paradise down in Mexico. Joe (Willis) is the more charismatic and cool one, while Terry (Thornton) is a neurotic, hypochondriac with a number of quirks and phobias, one of which (fear of antique furniture) is something Thornton deals with in real life.

Joe and Terry enlist the help of Joe's goofy aspiring stunt man relative Harvey (Garity) to be their get away driver. It's not long before the criminals become media sensations dubbed the Sleepover Banditss due to their M.O. of putting the managers of the targeted banks on house arrest the night before the job.

Things go fine enough until a chance encounter with a distraught, bored, and desperae runaway housewife named Kate (Blanchett) tags along, getting into an awkward love triangle with Joe and Terry that could threaten to really throw things off balance.

PLotwise, there's a few nice little twists, turns, and touches that help the movie stand out a bit. Mostly though, it's just a little standard. The film tries to be a crime dramedy, but more often than not, it's seems unsure of what it really wants to be, becoming meandering, uneven tonally, and unfocused. Also, the film is structed as a flash back flashforward frame story, and, while it doesn't ruin the film, it doesn't keep it from getting bloated either. The plot device with the America's Most Wanted style show seems like it's aiming for satire, but mostly reminded me of Natural Born Killers which did the same sort of thing, and far better.

I enjoyed this movie. It's fun, entertaining, has some decent location shooting in Oregon, good cinematography from veteran Dante Spinotti, and some solid performances from the likeable and talented cast. None of the work these people put in ranks among their respective bests, but they're all still solid nonetheless.

I liked the quirkiness and the banter, but the movie seemed like it was trying too hard. Plus, I think Levinson had some really good ideas, but decided to use them all, resulting in a movie that should be tighter and more concise, but isn't.

All in all, this is a flawed movie, but it's well meaning. I've seen far more derivative capers than this, and, even though this one has issues, thankfully the cnematogrpahy, locations, and performances are strong enough to carry it. This really could have been something quite terrific. Instead it's merely just "not bad". Still though, it's got enough good stuff to warrant a viewing.
October 17, 2011
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Bandits is an action comedy/crime thriller/romance movie starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett in their funniest roles ever. The film takes a true story about unusual bank robbers and throws a silly romantic comedy twist on it with greatly entertaining results. Willis is a combination of daredevil and brooding loner; I can't see anyone else playing the role as well. Thornton plays the funniest, most neurotic criminal ever, and Blanchett provides the goofy, sexy center of this unlikely love triangle. The script by veteran Harley Peyton is clever but perhaps stretches everything too far. The direction by Barry Levinson is quirky like the film, channeling Woody Allen somewhat.

In the media frenzy which envelopes the criminal trio, complications and hilarity of course ensue. How will their scheme play out? Who will Cate choose? It's a terrific surprise ending, and I won't tell, but you'll find yourself rooting for the "Sleepover Bandits."
June 15, 2011
Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

Barry Levinson used to be a good director, I think Bandits was the beginning of his demise. Visually it's a good film, the story is solid and the editing is rather clever, it just lacks direction. The acting is not great, in fact the performances are really bad and quite annoying and the supporting cast are just plain awful. A real wasted opportunity I feel and definitely one to cross off the CV for everyone associated!
August 31, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Terry Collins: You know the hardest thing about being smart?
    2. Joe Blake: No.
    3. Terry Collins: I always pretty much know what's gonna happen next. There's no suspense.
    – Submitted by ScubaSteve Walter M (8 months ago)
    1. Terry Collins: Ducks and beavers.
    – Submitted by Joe M (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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