Ocean's Eleven is a 1960 film starring Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, and Peter Lawford. This was the first and by far the most successful of the Rat Pack (a clique of popular entertainers at the time) movies, mostly due to the popularity of the actors but most surely aided by a witty comedic caper script. The film was directed by Lewis Milestone, written by George Johnson and Jack Russell, and released by Warner Bros. It is still available today on DVD and VHS formats.
The story revolves around Danny Ocean, played by Frank Sinatra and a group of ten of his friends that served together in World War II. Under Ocean's direction, the group of eleven plan to rob five of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas in one night. They develop a master plan but after the whole thing is over, something goes wrong and the whole conspiracy falls apart.
Frank Sinatra rules the show here; his calm and collected coolness and wit, surrounded with a very clever script, that makes this movie very entertaining and watchable. The rest of the cast fall into place alongside this demeanor, making this film a very laid back yet enjoyable affair.
The characters in this movie, though, are by no means heroes; the script is littered with sexist jokes and sexist behavior. There are a lot of purely entertaining and humorous moments, but there are times in which the sexism almost becomes overbearing; it is a strong undercurrent in the film.
There are some elements of the plot that stretch believability. Dean Martin is somehow able to, within 48 hours of the hatching of the plan, obtain a cabaret spot in one of the target casinos stretches credibility quite a bit. His three-piece backing combo absurdly produces the sound of twenty to thirty instruments while he is playing, and when Las Vegas is suddenly deprived of electrical power, Martin's microphone curiously keeps on working.
I suppose this is the type of film that you shouldn't take too seriously; after all, it's a comedy built more on image than anything. Still, it's interesting for nothing else than the fact that it provides a great glimpse of life in Las Vegas around the end of the 1950s.
But wait... there's more...
Ocean's Eleven is being remade and is scheduled for a late 2001 release, again by Warner Bros. It is being directed by Steven Soderbergh, using largely the same script. The cast this time around is absolutely stellar, featuring George Clooney as Danny Ocean (reprising Frank Sinatra's role), Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts. It remains to be seen if some of the sexism is cut from the script, or it is entirely left alone as a period piece of sorts.