What are some films with scenes involving locks?
July 9, 2009 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Can you think of films with scenes in which a lock (or locker, safe, handcuffs, etc.) is prominent and integral to the plot? I am helping compile a montage of scenes involving locks (like Dial M for Murder key hiding, or Gaslight desk lock opening). Heist films, people getting out of handcuffs, locks being picked -- these things would all be helpful.
posted by emflr to Media & Arts (43 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Rififi's safe breaking sequence is the classic. The Italian Job (old and new) focuses on lockpicking in a bunch of sequences. And Bad Santa is full of (hilarious) safecracking.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:15 AM on July 9, 2009

Die Hard.
Ocean's Eleven.
Panic Room.
The Incredibles.
Lethal Weapon 2 (okay, it's a straightjacket, but possibly in keeping with your theme).
Bottle Rocket.
Mission Impossible.
posted by valkyryn at 8:17 AM on July 9, 2009

Silence of the Lambs (breaking free from handcuffs)
Mamet's Heist (safe-cracking, heisting)
Thief, w/ Jimmy Caan (safe-cracking)
posted by heather-b at 8:20 AM on July 9, 2009

Killing Zoe had some safe cracking, also see The Bank Job.
posted by therubettes at 8:23 AM on July 9, 2009

The Score
posted by OmieWise at 8:24 AM on July 9, 2009

I think it was 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' where a scene is recounted in which a man restrains a woman to her bed and defecates on her before leaving. it's either this or another woody allen movie.
posted by krautland at 8:28 AM on July 9, 2009

Double Jeopardy (handcuffs)
posted by Zed at 8:28 AM on July 9, 2009

Disney's "Pirates".
posted by effluvia at 8:31 AM on July 9, 2009

Rififi! Much of the plot centers on how to break into a particularly sophisticated safe.

There's John Malkovich's ploy to get the key to Uma Thurman's room in Les Liasons Dangereuses, and then locking the door behind him.

In The Maltese Falcon, Bogie hides the Falcon in a bus station storage locker and than mails the key to himself.

In the Lives of Others, the Stasi agents pick the locks on the protagonists' apartment to bug it.

There's also William H. Macy's fiddling with his former bosses' lock and key in Magnolia, but it's one of many sup-plots within the movie.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:32 AM on July 9, 2009

not exactly a movie, but you made me think of the famous MasterLock commercial, the one that essentially made it become the THE padlock company, I found a grainy version here, it's from 1973, so bear with it
posted by qbxk at 8:32 AM on July 9, 2009

In Silverado, Kevin Costner picks the jailhouse cell's lock with a belt buckle. Also, U.S. Marshalls has both Wesley Snipes and Robert Downey, Jr. getting out of handcuffs with the earpiece from a pair of glasses.
posted by steef at 8:34 AM on July 9, 2009

"A Fish Called Wanda" has a safe being opened with a gun, and an important key being hidden A) In a fish tank; and B) inside a locket nestled within Jamie-Lee Curtis's cleavage.
posted by applemeat at 8:38 AM on July 9, 2009

The Great Train Robbery's plot hinged on cracking a safe and duplicating keys in order to steal a shipment of gold.
posted by electroboy at 8:39 AM on July 9, 2009

The Italian Job (both versions)
posted by Dukat at 8:40 AM on July 9, 2009

How about the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where they rob a train, can't get into the safe, and end up using too much dynamite?

There are various movie versions of The Secret Garden, a story which revolves around a little girl finding the key that lets her in to the intringuing locked walled garden.

There's that scene in Time Bandits where the group of main characters is imprisoned in a cage or cages suspended over an abyss but I can't remember if getting past locked cage doors was part of it.

There's the scene in The Three Amigos where Steve Martin is captured by El Guapo and is chained up in the fortress's basement in this weird Bond-villain-esque restraining device and goes through a slapstick routine to get free.

And on a less cheerful note, the Hellraiser series of horror films feature an ornate "puzzle box" occult artifact: a small metal box with a few moving parts that must be configured properly to open it. And of course the person who manages to open it usually dies horribly.
posted by XMLicious at 8:41 AM on July 9, 2009

Try Safe Men, it's a case of mistaken identity where two idiots have to crack 3 safes in one week for the Mafia, or else! Here's a trailer: http://www.videodetective.com/?publishedid=7982

Also, Houdini: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh0F1glgKBk
posted by lyndhurst at 8:41 AM on July 9, 2009

Oh! One other good one: Maid Marian's iron-clad chastity belt in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
posted by XMLicious at 8:44 AM on July 9, 2009

Arsenic and Old Lace--isn't that trunk locked up tight, for somewhat obvious reasons?
posted by scratch at 8:46 AM on July 9, 2009

Oops! Sorry.

Safe Men Trailer
posted by lyndhurst at 8:46 AM on July 9, 2009

In the very first scene of Requiem For A Dream, Jared Leto steals his own mother's TV set while she hides in the closet. When he complains that it's locked to the radiator, she slips him the key under the door: "It's not for you, it's for the robbers!"
posted by hermitosis at 8:49 AM on July 9, 2009

There's several Three Stooges shorts where they try to open safes.
Horses Collars
Sing a song of six pants
posted by Gungho at 9:01 AM on July 9, 2009

Pan's Labyrinth has a few scenes in which the girl has to find a key (inside an enormous frog) and then open a safe (guarded by the Pale Man).
posted by afx237vi at 9:13 AM on July 9, 2009

The Breakfast Club. They sneak out of the library to get pot out of Bender's (guillotine protected) locker.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:19 AM on July 9, 2009

In Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, a lock and key are used to explain the facts of life to Marie's immature husband.
posted by Xalf at 9:23 AM on July 9, 2009

Bergman's Magic Flute has a great scene, early on, with the Three Ladies putting a lock over Papageno's lips.
posted by Neofelis at 10:19 AM on July 9, 2009

The Jagged Edge (knife stored in a locker)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:20 AM on July 9, 2009

The money stash locker in Trainspotting. After taking off with the cash, Renton leaves Spud some cash :)

Also, in Breakfast Club... Brian is in detention because the flare gun he brought to school went off in his locker.
posted by utsutsu at 10:22 AM on July 9, 2009

Handcuffs play a pretty important part in Deathtrap
posted by cali59 at 10:35 AM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Marnie has a big old safe.

That link is a somewhat terrible, somewhat fascinating re-edit to Portishead, btw.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:43 AM on July 9, 2009

Hey everybody, while suggesting movies with locks in them, don't forget to include gratuitous spoilers to ruin your suggestions!

Seconding Rififi and Thief.
posted by rhizome at 10:45 AM on July 9, 2009

At the beginning of this scene in Who's Minding the Mint? , Jim Hutton has to help Jack Guilford crack a safe because Guilford has lost his hearing aid.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:36 AM on July 9, 2009

Not good films at all, but the Saw series has plenty of lock-and-key sequences with stomach-churning outcomes.

Also the opening of locked doors with the cattle-killing device in No Country For Old Men.
posted by mattholomew at 12:13 PM on July 9, 2009

Con Air!

Also, Titanic (for the three people who haven't seen it) involves a character being handcuffed to a pipe, a locked safe containing a necklace, passengers banging against a locked gate while the ship floods...
posted by castlebravo at 12:36 PM on July 9, 2009

The payoff in The Prestige involves some large, locked boxes.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:41 PM on July 9, 2009

These two spend a long time handcuffed to each other in Hitchcock's The 39 Steps.
posted by mjg123 at 2:32 PM on July 9, 2009

True Lies: Ahnuld talking to the torturer has to be in the top 5 of handcuff scenes ever. (Umm...excluding my uncle's "special" film collection, of course.)
posted by joaquim at 4:03 PM on July 9, 2009

Does Clerks count? Gum being stuck in the shutter locks makes for recurring remarks from the characters, though it's more of a way to explain away the fact that the movie was filmed at night.
posted by armage at 7:13 PM on July 9, 2009

Hudson Hawk has several scenes, the best of which is Danny Aiello putting a pair of thumb cuffs on Bruce Willis in seven seconds. There's also a ridiculous electronic cuff that the villains use to restrain Willis later on.

Running Scared has a subplot with Gregory Hines picking up a hot (married?) woman a few times and handcuffs figure prominently in at least one scene.

Die Hard With A Vengeance has John McClane and Zeus (Samuel L Jackson) picking a set of handcuffs with a strand of wire which McClane pulls out of his shoulder, having picked up said strand by sliding down the cable earlier in the film.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:22 PM on July 9, 2009

In Ghostbusters, I think one of the characters was a "key". I know that's not what you're looking for, tho.

In the Matrix 2, one of the characters is called the Keymaker, and there's this one scene where he has to open a door, and also produce a key for the motorcycle.
posted by Sully at 10:30 PM on July 9, 2009

Clint Eastwood in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot where they blast a safe with a 20 mm cannon
posted by Redhush at 6:52 AM on July 10, 2009

In Kelly's Heroes they open a bank vault by shooting it with a tank.
John Landis wrote wrote the first draft of An American Werewolf in London while he was a production assistant on the movie.

Police Squad:

"Who are you and how'd you get in here?"

"I'm a locksmith. And I'm a locksmith."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:54 AM on July 10, 2009

Handcuff stuff in the first 5 mins of No Country for Old Men.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:28 PM on July 10, 2009

Bound. Corky picks a lock with her earrings .. which happen to be lock-picky things.
posted by duckus at 9:30 PM on July 11, 2009

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