- This article is about the film made in 2001. For the film made in 1960, see Ocean's 11.
The film follows the main protagonist Danny Ocean and his crew of eleven professional and amateur con men, as they endeavor a large scale heist of three Las Vegas casinos. Just after his release from prison, Danny gathers the group seeking to both get rich and so he can get back with Tess, his ex-wife, now in a relationship with Terry Benedict, the casinos' owner.
- Danny Ocean
- Frank Catton
- Rusty Ryan
- Reuben Tishkoff
- Turk Malloy
- Virgil Malloy
- Livingston Dell
- Basher Tarr
- Saul Bloom
- Linus Caldwell
- Terry Benedict
- Tess Ocean
After his wife separates with him, Danny Ocean begins to ruin himself. He commits a crime, is convicted for it, and incurs a four year prison sentence. Nearing the end of his sentence, a parole board grants him a hearing, where he proves his rehabilitation, but denies any involvement with other crimes in which he was implicated. Once out, Danny heads to Atlantic City, where he meets with croupier Frank Catton in order to find out the whereabouts of Rusty Ryan, a professional con man. Once he picks up Rusty’s trail, Danny violates his parole and crosses the country, headed to Los Angeles. He surprises Rusty at a private celebrity poker training session that Rusty is teaching. The two prove they can still coordinate well together when they take advantage of the trainees and win a good sum of money. After the poker game, Danny and Rusty head to a small dimly lit restaurant, where Danny proposes the idea of robbing three Las Vegas casinos: the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand. That night, the two go over the requirements for the job and the layout for the area where the job will take place. Not totally convinced about Danny’s motive, Rusty asks him why he wants to do the job. Danny responds with an obviously prepared speech, but it’s enough to gain Rusty’s trust.
The two head to the affluent Reuben Tishkoff’s manor in Las Vegas, where they request financial backing for the job. Apprehensive about the idea of robbing from a Vegas casino, Reuben shoots off three failed attempts and asserts that it can’t be done. Just as Danny and Rusty are leaving, they mention the owner of the casinos from which they intend to steal is Terry Benedict. Since Benedict and Reuben have a conflicted past, Reuben gains a newfound motivation to not be skeptical and decides to hear who they intend to recruit. They tell him, then move on to meet the candidates and invite them to Reuben’s manor. In a gathering of the eleven men intended for the job, Danny and Rusty give a brief presentation for the plan. After they have a general understanding for the plan, Danny gives the crew members various tasks to perform before the night of the heist. While gathering information about the casinos’ operations, they build a replica of the vault where the large majority of the money is kept in order to rehearse and video record the act of taking the money.
Rusty eventually sees Tess, Danny’s ex-wife, is now involved with Benedict. Angered that Danny hadn’t previously mentioned her and Benedict, he threatens to leave the job. Danny admits the job is just a ruse in order for him to win back Tess and convinces Rusty to stay by allowing the crew, instead of himself, to decide whether Tess could be a part of the take. The day before the heist, and during a rehearsal, munition’s expert Basher Tarr’s role is compromised when a utilities crew repairs a faulty machine he was going to use to his advantage in order to cut power to the casinos on the night of the heist. Needing another method for a power outage, Basher suggests using a device strong enough to knock out the city’s power, called a pinch. They take a few men to California to steal it from a research facility. While stealing the pinch, rookie Linus Caldwell risks the pinch stealing group’s safety, and the crew’s grease man Yen is injured as a result. Coming back from California the following morning, with tensions high between Linus and Danny, the crew plays Linus into taking on a larger role when Danny would seem incapable.
The night of the heist is the same night of a heavyweight title boxing match at the MGM Grand’s entertainment venue. With Livingston communicating with them, the crew position themselves as needed for their particular expertises and roles in the job. The veteran Saul Bloom sees the explosives disguised as gemstones and used to blast open the vault door make it down into the vault. The getaway drivers Turk and Virgil Malloy ensure that Yen, who is stowed in a money transport cart, gets down to the vault. Danny meets with Tess again to plant a cell phone on her without her knowing. He is then escorted by two of Benedict's goons to a holding room in the Bellagio's cages. They leave him inside with Bruiser, a thug brought in to rough up Danny while in holding. Being accomplices in the scheme, Bruiser and Danny greet one another. Then Danny escapes the room through the ventilation system. Frank and Linus catch Benedict off guard, so that Linus can pick his pocket for a paper slip containing the main elevator codes. Once Linus is in the elevator, Saul fakes a heart attack inside the Eye in the Sky and Livingston alters the casino security's camera monitoring system. Linus opens the elevator's hatch, where Danny awaits in the shaft. Rusty disguises himself as a doctor responding to Saul's faked ailment. He wheels Saul out of the casino on a stretcher. Basher readies the pinch to activate on Livingston's cue. When everything's in place, Basher turns it on just as the bell rings to start the boxing match and blows the power to the city.
The power outage causes mayhem throughout the casinos. As Benedict and Tess leave the arena, the phone planted on Tess rings and she picks up with hesitation. On the other end of the the call, Rusty immediately requests to speak with Benedict. Aggressively, Benedict demands the identity of the caller. Rusty doesn't give his name, but begins to confess that Benedict is at that very moment being robbed. Benedict and Tess immediately head for The Eye in the Sky. As Rusty continues, Livingston feeds the security's monitoring system a recording of the crew's rehearsed robbery, allowing Benedict to get the impression his vault was being robbed right under his nose. Rusty tells him that the theft is only for half of the amount in the vault and that the other half will be booby trapped. He continues, saying if Benedict tries to hinder the theft at any time, he will destroy both the stolen half and the half left behind as the collateral. After Benedict sees this, he asks Tess to leave the room. Irritated by his request, she goes. As Tess walks through the casino floor, she runs into Rusty while he is still on the phone with Benedict. After hearing Rusty make the ransom, she asks about Danny. Rusty tries to alleviate her concern and asks her to go up to her hotel room. Covering the cell phone with his hand, Benedict instructs his manager Walsh to call for a SWAT team. The call is intercepted by Livingston impersonating a dispatcher. Once Walsh is assured service, Benedict agrees to Rusty's demand. Rusty then gives Benedict instructions for the secure transport of the money out of and away from the casino, threatening to destroy both halves should Benedict try to hinder the process at any time.
Disguised as the requested SWAT unit, Rusty, Frank, Turk, Livingston, Basher, and Saul arrive at the casino's entrance. They proceed through the casino and down to the vault, where they meet Danny, Linus, and Yen. With Benedict in his security room overseeing the impersonated SWAT unit, they have him cut the the power to the vault so there is no light, but maintain radio contact with Benedict. Benedict listens as they act as if they confront the robbers with gunfire, and a loud explosion happens immediately after. Benedict angrily orders Walsh to capture the van, which was on its way to McCarran Airport, that was used to transport half of the money out of the casino. He then storms out of the security room and down to the vault. At the airport, Benedict's men pursuing the van attempt to capture it. In a nearby car Reuben and Virgil watch as Virgil operates the van's movements by remote control. In the vault, the crew convince Benedict that the robbers used the explosion to escape without a trace. Irritated, Benedict orders the crew to leave the casino, then contacts Walsh for an update concerning the van. After Benedict's men discover that no person was inside the van, Virgil's sets off an incendiary inside it. Both Benedict and his men at the airport find that the stolen money was neither in the vault nor in the van. Instead, the bags, which were supposed to be filled with cash, were filled with adult advertisements in the form of flyers. As he walks around his destroyed vault, Benedict notices the Bellagio logo, on the floor, which had been very recently installed. He immediately cross-checks the authenticy of the theft by asking Walsh to review the tape in the security room. Walsh confirms that the tape of the theft did not show the Bellagio logo on the floor, thus Benedict infers what they were watching from the security room earlier was staged. Curiously, he heads for the holding room where Danny was taken.
He arrives to find Bruiser convincingly giving Danny a beatdown. He asks Danny if he was involved in theft, but Danny plays clueless, so Benedict decides to let him leave. Anxiously waiting in her hotel room, Tess gets a call from Livingston, who instructs her to watch channel eighty-eight. When she turns on the television, she sees Danny, Benedict, his two goons, and Bruiser walking down the hallway exiting the cages. Danny suspiciously asks Benedict if he had just been robbed prompting Benedict to ask again about Danny's involvement. Danny offers Benedict a deal to recover Benedict's money in exchange for Tess. When Benedict agrees to the condition, Tess picks up her things and leaves the room. Danny tells Benedict he could find the culprits with the help of an ex-con aquaintance of his in three days. Not convinced, Benedict denies the deal. He then has Danny escorted out of the casino and into the custody of the local law enforcement for violating his parole. Afterward, Benedict arrives at one of the casino's elevators. When the door opens, he sees Tess inside. The two exchange eye contact in silence for a moment, then she brushes past him. He calls to her, and she turns around only to tell him that she was watching him at some point after he had her leave the security room. Instead of stopping her, Benedict enters the elevator. Tess quickens her pace as she walks, then runs, through the casino to leave. Once outside, she sees Danny being walked to a police car. Referring to him as her husband, she calls out and runs to them as they're nearly about to drive away. The two exchange goodbyes and the car drives off, leaving her standing by the valet station alone.
Having successfully accomplished their task, the rest of the crew, dressed in normal attire, gather around the Bellagio's fountain display during its show. They watch contently, in silence and satisfaction. As the show continues, they leave one by one going their separate ways. Three to six months after the job, Danny is released from the same prison. Rusty stands outside its front gate awaiting him. The two exchange friendly insults and head toward Rusty's car. Along the way, Rusty subtly points out that Benedict's two goons are in a nearby vehicle. In the back of Rusty's car seat sits Tess. Danny joins her, the two kiss, and Rusty drives off and away. Not far behind, Benedict's men follow.