If you didn't watch Den of Thieves when it came out in 2018, there's no better time than today to catch up on the 50 Cent and Gerard Butler film — especially as it's now streaming on Netflix.
Den of Thieves is set in Los Angeles and tells the story of two groups of tough guys: bank robbers who are intent on pulling off major heists, and the elite team of LA County Sheriffs trying to bring them down.
The action-packed movie is a must-see for any heist fan, but it turns out, history buffs might get a kick out of it too, as Den of Thieves is actually based on a real story. Keep reading for details.
Is 'Den of Thieves' based on a real story?
Den of Thieves was inspired by a real-life attempt to rob the Federal Reserve in Los Angeles. According to the movie's director and writer Christian Gudegast, "L.A. is the bank robbery capital of the world, hands down, it always has been."
"We had several technical advisors like Bill Rehder who wrote a book called Where the Money Is, about bank robbery in L.A.," Christian continued. But considering the movie was in development for 14 years, the team had time to make the film feel as realistic as possible.
As producer Tucker Tooley recalled to The Wrap, "My dad was involved in developing the building that the federal reserve was in. He was a member of the federal reserve board in San Francisco so I arranged a tour for us. We couldn't take any pictures so we had to take it all to memory."
"There are an average of 2,400 banks in L.A. robbed per year," he explained. "The next closest is Sao Paolo, which is about 800. There are several reasons for that. The other major reason is because we have so many freeways, interchanges and exit routes."
The team made sure the attention to detail was "extreme" — in addition to the technical advisors, the film employed an undercover police officer, a Los Angeles sheriff, and even individuals who had experience with this kind of crime, hailing from South Central Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, and the South Bay.
"Heroes and villains of the film are two sides of the same coin, with little separating them," Christian said to Collider. "They went to the same high schools, they live in the same neighborhoods. The best crime films come from the places where the creators of the movies came from." To that end, Christian added that he worked hard to give Den of Thieves what he calls "Los Angeles energy."
'Den of Thieves 2' is also based on a real story!
Viewers loved this film so much that a sequel was ordered, much to the relief of the film's cast. "It's an experience that I don't want to end," Gerard Butler said shortly after the first film's release.
Luckily, it didn't have to. Den of Thieves 2 moves away from L.A., but doesn't move away from retelling real stories. The sequel is "based on the Antwerp diamond exchange heist of 2003," Gerard said to Screen Rant.
"It's about, on the character side, it's about the blurring of lines between the sides. And sort of an examination of all the people involved in this world and how they are much closer in terms of their character and who they are."
Den of Thieves is now streaming on Netflix.