Five TV shows and movies that feature art crimes

When it comes to stories about art crimes, sometimes fact is just as engaging as fiction. To celebrate the launch of Edge of the Crowd's new art crimes podcast Crimes Against Art, we look at the fictional art crime stories that have captured our attention over the years.

Lupin (2021-present)

Netflix's series about French gentlemen thief starring Omar Sy was an absolute hit, becoming the second most successful debut of a Netflix Original series on the platform. An modernised reimagination of Maurïce Leblanc's Arsène Lupin short stories, Sy plays Assane Diop, who styles himself after the Leblanc's titular thief. With Part Three on the horizon, we look forward to seeing what art Lupin plans to heist next. In later books, Leblanc introduces English detective Herlock Sholmès (an explicit nod to Arthur Conan Doyle's detective, that needed to be changed for legal reasons) as a foil to Lupin. Perhaps he will also (somehow) make his way into the show in the coming parts.

Ocean's Twelve (2004)

The sequel to the highly successful Ocean's Eleven brings art to the forefront in the face-off between Danny Ocean's eponymous crew and European master thief Night Fox, played by Vincent Cassel. Night Fox challenges the team to steal the Imperial Coronation Fabergé Egg. Through a series of bluffs and double bluffs, and the addition of Danny's wife Tess, played by Julia Roberts, to the team, they emerge victorious. Night Fox's 'laser dance' remains an iconic scene in the film, as he weaves his way through the museum's security lasers to La Caution's Thé à la Menthe.

Ocean's 8 (2015)

The all-female spin-off to the original Ocean's trilogy follows Danny Ocean's sister Debbie Ocean as she puts together a team to steal a Cartier necklace during the Met Gala. The filmmakers manage to get Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and the Metropolitan Museum of Art involved in helping with the production of the re-creation of the gala. Wintour even makes a cameo appearance at the fictional event, along with many other famous faces. Wintour's involvement and blessing gave an impressive degree of realism to the staged event.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Art crime is not exactly the first thing that pops to mind when thinking about this Wes Anderson comedy-drama, led by Ralph Fiennes playing the exuberant Monsieur Gustave H. The prized Renaissance painting Boy with Apple that is bequeathed to Gustave upon the death of dowager Madame D. is the McGuffin that leads to the subsequent shenanigans. The painting itself was created by Michael Taylor for the film, but still works as a cheeky art-historical wink, a nod to the Dutch and Flemish mannerists collected by Habsburg Emperor Rudolph II. Madame D.'s son Dmitri, upon realising that Boy with Apple missing, smashes a pseudo-Egon Schiele work, also created for the film.

White Collar (2009-2014)

Matt Bomer stars as Neal Caffrey, a con-artist, forger and thief who negotiates a deal to use his expertise to help the FBI catch white collar criminals. He remains under the purview of Peter Burke, the agent who caught him. The duo keep each other on their toes as the stakes increase throughout the six-season series. Neal finds himself employing his wide gamut of skills on both sides of the law, as the team encounters an array of sketchy art and artifacts, including a whole plotline featuring stolen Nazi treasure.

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) - IMDb

The art world of Velvet Buzzsaw is a wild wacky place, full of eccentric characters and ulterior motives. Sounds pretty much like the actual thing. It's a wonder why the contemporary art world is not used more often for campy satirical black comedy horrors. A slew of unlikeable art elites who all get their dues via the art that they proclaim to love.