13 Movies Where Characters Find A Bag Full Of Money - And Decide To Keep It

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Vote up the found fortunes that are worth the risk.

Movie concepts tend to be recycled, with different filmmakers putting their own twists on well-established ideas. One of the concepts that is most frequently reused is the one in which a character finds a big bag full of money. It's a great premise, because who among us hasn't fantasized about this exact scenario at some point? The very thought of sudden wealth is tantalizing.

For that reason, it makes perfect sense that writers and directors have often returned to the well, having their characters stumble upon - and usually keep - a large sum of cash. Some have played it for laughs, but the premise also holds the potential to say something substantive about human nature, as well as the corrupting nature of money. There have been movies where the protagonists walk off with the dough at the end. In other cases, the riches brought with them more trouble than they were worth. 

Which of the following movies where characters find a bag full of money and decide to keep it offers the most bang for the buck? Vote up your favorites. 


  • 1
    17 VOTES

    The bag of cash in Black Check comes in the form of, as the title implies, a blank check. A criminal on the run hits the bike of 11-year old Preston Waters (Brian Bonsall). He just stole a ton of money and is consequently in a hurry to keep moving. In a haste to compensate for the damages, he hands the kid a signed blank check. Preston fills it out for a million bucks and cashes it. Now flush with cash, the savvy young child buys a ton of toys and a house. He even hires a chauffeur. 

    The thief and his associates come looking for the money, putting Preston in danger. This is a family film, though, so of course the FBI shows up to arrest them before they become too big of a threat to him. Going through this incident causes Preston's investor father to realize he'd previously been too hard on his son. Their relationship improves as a result, and Preston learns that having a loving, supportive family is way more important than having a lot of money. 

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  • 2
    12 VOTES

    Sam Raimi expertly adapted Scott Smith's riveting novel A Simple Plan in 1998. Hank Mitchell (Bill Paxton), his pregnant wife Sarah (Bridget Fonda), and his mentally challenged brother Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) are looking for a runaway dog in the snowy woods when they come across a small plane that has crashed. Rummaging through the wreckage, they find a bag with $4 million inside. There's some disagreement over whether to keep it or turn it in to the police.

    That's when they hatch the plan of the title. They will hold the money until spring comes. At that point, the snow will melt and the plane will probably be found. If no one realizes the money is missing, they'll split it three ways. If someone does, they'll burn it and play dumb. Although it sounds straightforward, paranoia sets in among the trio, Hank kills someone in fear that their ruse will be uncovered, and fractures form in the alliance. 

    A Simple Plan has a delicious irony at the end. After going through all this drama, including slaying Jacob, Hank is informed by the FBI that the cash was ransom money and all the serial numbers were written down. Anyone attempting to spend any of it, including him, would immediately be caught. 

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  • In No Country for Old Men, Texas welder Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad. Aside from a couple bodies, there's a satchel full of money left behind at the scene. He figures that since there's no one around to see him, he might as well just grab that satchel and walk off with it. 

    What he doesn't initially realize - and comes to find out the hard way - is that the cash belongs to Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a ruthless killer who shoots people with an air tank device of the kind that's used to put down cattle. Chigurh tracks Moss across Texas and into Mexico, trying to retrieve what's his. A trail of bodies is left in his wake. The men get close to each other several times, never quite coming face-to-face. Moss is ultimately done in by a group of Mexicans, while Chigurh gets his money back, only to be hit by a car at the end. He's last seen limping away to parts unknown. 

    No Country for Old Men uses the "bag of cash" concept to look at the worsening face of crime. As these events are going on, a lawman (Tommy Lee Jones) is tracking Chigurh. After seeing the kind of violence he's capable of, the lawman becomes scared and decides to halt the pursuit.

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  • Shallow Grave tells the story of three friends - David (Christopher Eccleston), Juliet (Kerry Fox), and Alex (Ewan McGregor). Their new roommate Hugo unexpectedly dies of an overdose. They discover his corpse and a stash of money next to it. After some debate, the trio decides to keep the money for themselves and get rid of Hugo's body. The plan seems foolproof.

    What they don't know, however, is that some bad men are looking for Hugo because of that cash. The cops are poking around, too. This creates overwhelming paranoia among the friends, and the desire to keep the money causes their relationships to fracture in various ways. Juliet and Alex do away with David, then Juliet tries to kill Alex before rushing off to the airport with the dough. To her surprise, she opens the case and finds not money, but newspaper clippings. Alex has foiled her. He hid the money under the floorboards.

    Shallow Grave is all about how money can corrupt even the tightest of friendships, turning people against each other in their state of greed. 

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  • Money for Nothing is a unique "bag of money" movie because it's based on a true story. John Cusack stars as Joey Coyle, a Philadelphia longshoreman. He finds a cart containing $1.2 million that fell out of an armored car. Given that he's in somewhat dire financial straits, he takes a "finders keepers" approach, taking the stacks of bills home with him. Joey is, however, not exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Realizing that the money can probably be traced, he turns to a local mobster to help him launder it.

    His careless ways also attract the attention of a cop, Detective Pat Laurenzi (Michael Madsen), who begins looking into the situation. That becomes easier as Joey takes increasingly desperate and sloppy measures to hide his guilt. Laurenzi eventually captures Joey as he tries to flee with the money at the airport. The point of the darkly funny Money for Nothing is that not even a million dollars is enough to purchase intelligence. 

  • Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) are, well, dumb. The heroes of Dumb and Dumber make a trek from Rhode Island to Colorado after limo driver Lloyd's crush, Mary (Lauren Holly), leaves a briefcase full of money at the airport. He wants to return it to her and hopefully win her heart in the process. He is clueless to the fact that she left it there on purpose. It's ransom money for the men who kidnapped her husband. 

    Lloyd and Harry's journey across the country is full of mishaps, including a run-in with the kidnappers. Once arriving in Aspen, they spend all the money on necessities - and some items that are not so necessary, such as pastel-colored tuxedos - and put IOUs in the briefcase. Ultimately, the FBI comes in and arrests all the bad guys, Mary is reunited with her husband, to Lloyd's dismay, and our heroes start heading back home. 

    The clever thing about Dumb and Dumber is how it puts a wacky twist on the idea of finding money. The cash was never lost - Lloyd just thought it was. 

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