40 Most Likeable Movie Criminals

Ruthless People (1986)

The Movie Criminals: Ken (Judge Reinhold) and Sandy Kessler (Helen Slater), who kidnap Barbara (Bette Midler) and demand her millionaire husband Sam (Danny DeVito) pay them a $500,000 ransom.

Only they hadn't counted on the fact that Sam wants his wife dead and was plotting her murder anyway.

Why We Like Them : Ken and Sandy's annoyance at Sam's refusal to meet their demands is hilarious - and it's clear they don't plan on murdering Barbara any time. They softies at heart who just want the cash.

Monsieur Verdoux (1943)

The Movie Criminal: Henri Verdoux (Charles Chaplin), a bank teller who comes up with a grim money-making scheme when he loses his job - marry and murder rich widows to get his hands on their fortunes.

Why We Like Them: Though Verdoux's plan is undeniably dour, the fact that he's played by Charlie Chaplin means we can't help liking him just a tiny bit.

Only a tiny bit, mind.

$ (Dollars) (1971)

The Movie Criminals: Dawn Divine (Goldie Hawn), the archetypal 'hooker with a heart of gold', who decides to help Joe Collins (Warren Beatty) steal mucho American dollars from storage at a German bank.

Why We Like Them: Who doesn't love Goldie Hawn?

And despite being the typical Hollywood blonde, Dawn proves she's got some grey stuff in her noggin as well when she repeatedly outsmarts other criminals.

The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

The Movie Criminal: Tom Ripley (Matt Damon), a super-intelligent psychopath who uses his super-intelligence to trick people out of their millions.

His talents (aside from looking good in a specs-and-bathing-suit combo) include impersonation and forgery.

Why We Like Him: Ripley's just sort of messed up, and though he takes pleasure in screwing up other peoples' lives, we can't help feeling sorry for him, too.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

The Movie Criminal: He may have a psychotic brother in Richie (Quentin Tarantino), but Seth Gecko (George Clooney) is still pretty likeable even without flattering comparisons. This despite taking a family hostage.

Why We Like Him:
Richie's a sexually-aggressive psycho, whereas Gecko actually treats his victims with a little TLC.

He's also handy if there are ever any vampires around.

Burn After Reading (2008)

The Movie Criminals: Gym workers Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) and Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand), who decide to sell the leaked memoirs of a CGI agent for a few pretty pennies.

Why We Like Them: Chad and Linda might fancy themselves as mastermind criminals, but the reality is that they're both, well, pretty stupid. Adorably so.

Get Carter (1971)

The Movie Criminal: London gangster Jack Carter (Michael Caine), who heads back to his old stomping ground in Newcastle when his brother's killed.

Cue a blood-splattered rampage of revenge.

Why We Like Him:
We don't generally like gangsters, but Caine's so effortlessly magnetic as Jack Carter that it's easy to forget he's actually a bad guy - until he starts dealing out the pain.

Quick Change (1990)

The Movie Criminal: Manhattan bank robber Grimm (Bill Murray), who nabs bags full of money with the help of his girlfriend and best friend. Also? He's dressed as a clown.

Yes, he's a clown bank robber…

Why We Like Him: He's a clown bank robber! Grimm also appeals to our sympathies with his 'sad clown' schtick, which can't help but tug at the heart strings.

Even if he is a misery guts (with a name like that, what did you really expect?).

Bottle Rocket (1996)

The Movie Criminals: As part of his "75-year plan", Dignan (Owen Wilson) jumps his friend Anthony (Luke Wilson) from a psychiatric unite and goes on a crime spree that includes a number of risky heists.

Like breaking into a book shop. Ooo, the derring-do.

Why We Like Them: They're just regular guys who are, admittedly, somewhat delusional. Who hasn't been there?

Johnny Dangerously (1984)

The Movie Criminal: Nightclub owner Johnny Dangerously (Michael Keaton), who also moonlights as the head of a local mob.

Why We Like Him:
Johnny's probably the meekest mobster ever - his 'bad guy' activity never really amounts to much.

Mostly because he's only breaking the law in order to help with his mother's medical bills. Also, he's sort of goofy, which we love.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.