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VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Andy Hammersmith
Slick, sneaky, and innovative - these movie escapes have it all! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the most brilliant and/or original escapes in film history. Our countdown of the smartest movie escapes includes “The Count of Monte Cristo”, “The Dark Knight”, “The Shawshank Redemption”, and more!

#10: Hiding a Bike in a Truck

“The Place Beyond the Pines” (2013)

When he needs money to give to his family, Luke Glanton robs banks with his partner Robin Van Der Hook. The criminal team also has an ingenious idea to escape. Glanton rides off on his motorcycle, driving it into the back of a truck. Van Der Hook drives them away in the larger vehicle as the police are outsmarted. These two might not be professional thieves, but their plan might be smarter than almost any other cinematic robbers. Seeing the duo pull it off the first time stands as one of the more triumphant scenes in the film. Their luck doesn’t last too long, but their original concept ranks highly among robbery escapes.

#9: Pretending to Be Dead

“The Count of Monte Cristo” (2002)

Based on the classic novel, this film follows one of the more famous prison escapes in literature. Edmond Dantès is imprisoned in Château d’If after Fernand Mondego betrays him. Mentored by fellow prisoner Abbé Faria, the hero utilizes the other inmate’s body in an intelligent getaway. Dantès poses as Faria’s corpse and ends up in the sea. This gives him the perfect opportunity to slip away undetected, fleeing the prison to find fortune and seek revenge. He’s able to take all the knowledge he learned from his older friend and get help from his buddy after death. It might sound morbid, but the actual escape lets him leave without lifting a finger.

#8: Remote Control Car

“Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997)

When you’re James Bond, you have a few larger-than-life gadgets to get you out of a sticky situation. “Tomorrow Never Dies” gives 007 a car he can control from his phone. As he plans his escape, the hero starts his car and then hops inside. He safely sits in the back seat while assailants fire at him. This also allows for him to exit the vehicle, leading his pursuers on a wild goose chase while the spy avoids trouble. It’s a smart tactic to handle the angry henchmen and one of Pierce Brosnan’s most entertaining scenes as Bond.

#7: Bathroom Break

“Cool Hand Luke” (1967)

Luke Jackson finds himself on a chain gang, working brutal conditions under the hot Florida sun. He finds one of the only ways to escape comes when he needs a bathroom break. Behind a tree, the prisoner prepares to flee as he stands far away from the nearest guard. He uses this moment as the perfect distraction to run. It’s a bold move that works for Jackson, putting his intellect and charisma to good use. Lulling the guards into a false sense of security, the inmate takes advantage of the situation with an effective ploy.

#6: Stopping His Tracks

“The Shining” (1980)

After Jack Torrance goes crazy, he attacks his family members and chases his son into a hedge maze. The snowy pathway leaves Danny’s tracks behind as he runs from his father. Deciding to walk back through his footprints, the smart child escapes while his dad wanders aimlessly in the bad weather. The quick-thinking boy both finds his way to safety and easily fools his attacker. Not only does he have telepathic tendencies, the younger Torrance can also outwit the adults in his life. The chilling scene comes with some stellar camerawork and music to underscore the dramatic turn of events.

#5: Making Dummies & a Raft

“Escape from Alcatraz” (1979)

A thrilling movie, “Escape from Alcatraz” offers up an interpretation of the real event referenced in the title. Frank Morris and some fellow inmates slowly chip their way out of their cells. Devising an intricate plan to escape, the team creates dummies with their faces to put in their place. Their painstaking detail pays off as they finally exit the prison with materials for a makeshift raft. While their real fate is unclear, the characters show that they’re highly-skilled in their craft. The guards only realize what’s happened when they inspect the cells the morning after. With the odds stacked against Morris and his compatriots, the initial plan goes off without a hitch and makes for a well-executed plot.

#4: Leaving in Uniform

“Ocean’s 11” (2001)

To complete this complex heist, Danny Ocean and his crew need to get in and out of a secure vault. This elaborate plot includes staged footage and a call to a fake SWAT team. The latter happens to be Ocean’s reinforcements, coming in to take the money and escape the casino with the money. These are just a few of the incredible surprises that make up the group’s twisty plan. Among the most methodical criminals in film history, these men cover every angle as they even take control of the police response. The uniformed robbers then casually stroll out in a cool walkout sequence.

#3: School’s Out

“The Dark Knight” (2008)

At the start of this comic book film, Christopher Nolan shows a gang of robbers stealing from a Gotham bank. The leader ends up being the Joker and this scene explains why he’s such a criminal mastermind. Telling the various members to take out each other, the villain’s jackpot increases as the team starts to dwindle. The fun doesn’t stop there as a well-placed bus proves to be the perfect escape. Timing everything to perfection, the antagonist leaves as a parade of similar vehicles pass the building. The ruthless character escapes with all of the money and proves that he’s always one step ahead.

#2: Building Multiple Tunnels

“The Great Escape” (1963)

Following Allied POWs during WWII, “The Great Escape” walks you through every tactic these military minds use to reach freedom. This includes gathering uniforms, forging documents, and creating multiple tunnels. The latter point makes this extraordinary operation that much more impressive. With more than one tunnel, the prisoners have a safety net in case one exit point is found out. They even create a smart system to feed escapees through the underground network. The whole plan manages to get many men out, revealing the extent of the expert decision-making. Even if the movie isn’t exactly the real story, it does give a glimpse into the intricate planning necessary for such an undertaking.

#1: The Hole Behind the Poster

“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

On our first watch of “The Shawshank Redemption,” we never could’ve expected the surprise climax. Andy Dufresne has kept his escape plans under wraps the entire time. He’s spent years digging through his cell wall, hiding the hole behind posters of Hollywood starlets. This doesn’t even count his work putting money away for himself and setting up the warden. In his triumphant escape, Dufresne fools everyone as he sneaks off with every base covered. It’s incredible to watch the intelligent inmate crawl to freedom as a result of his multi-year scheming. There’s also the added bonus of seeing him reunite with his friend Red in the emotional conclusion.

Did we forget another amazing escape? Let us know in the comments below.