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The Entire Ocean's Timeline Explained

Few heist movies have been as successful at robbing audiences and critics of their hearts as the "Ocean's" movies. The series follows Danny (George Clooney) and Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), two siblings who pull off ambitious heists with a team of ragtag crooks and thieves played by an ensemble of A-list actors, including Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, and many more.

While the star-studded cast, stylish presentation, and exciting twists and turns help each film in the franchise steal the box office on opening weekends, the unnecessarily convoluted plots can make it challenging for viewers to follow the story and its many characters — with each installment one-upping the other in scale and complexity. With an announced prequel/spinoff starring Margot Robbie on the horizon, here's a refresher of the entire timeline of the "Ocean's" franchise (excluding the 1960's "Ocean's 11," which isn't canon to the broader franchise).

Leading up to the movies

Several years before the events depicted in the movies, affluent gaming magnate Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) mentors young Daniel "Danny" Ocean (George Clooney) and Robert "Rusty" Ryan (Brad Pitt), both of whom become best friends and partners in crime. Through the years, Danny manages to evade the law with every scheme he pulls off, his brush with justice going only so far as being implicated in a few of these crimes. However, his winning streak comes to an end when his wife Tess (Julia Roberts) leaves him after learning of his criminal profession, leading to a self-destructive Danny getting caught and sentenced to four years in prison.

After receiving parole, Danny learns that Tess has filed for divorce. His first move as a free man is to violate his parole by catching up with Rusty, who now teaches blackjack to Hollywood celebrities. Danny reveals his next heist idea: targeting three casinos' worth of wealth stored in a vault at the Bellagio Hotel owned by casino tycoon Terry Benedict (Andy García).

Recruiting the Eleven

The duo pitches their idea to Reuben, whose business rivalry with Benedict compels him to bankroll the heist. Danny and Rusty recruit the rest of their team: casino croupier Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), mechanic brothers Virgil and Turk Malloy (Casey Affleck and Scott Caan), electronic expert Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison), explosives specialist Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle), acrobat Yen (Shaobo Qin), con artist Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), and pickpocket Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon). The crew constructs a replica of the Bellagio's vault for practice while they thoroughly familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of the casino.

During reconnaissance, Rusty finds out that Tess is now dating Benedict, making him question whether Danny's motivation for the heist is the $160 million payday or stealing Tess back from Benedict. Rusty puts Linus on Danny's tail as Danny meets Tess and introduces himself to Benedict. This encounter ends up jeopardizing the heist, as Danny gets red-flagged at Benedict's casino. Rusty ousts Danny from the Eleven and picks Linus to fill Danny's shoes for the operation.

The Bellagio Heist

On the night of the heist, the crew puts their plans into motion and manages to infiltrate the vault using a variety of disguises and ruses. Danny purposely draws Benedict's attention at the casino. Benedict gets his men to put Danny in a storeroom with a bouncer. The bouncer turns out to be on Danny's payroll and helps him get into the vent system that leads to the vault, where he convenes with Linus and reveals that his ousting from the crew was simply a ploy.

Basher uses the pinch the team stole earlier to kill the power in the entire city for a few seconds — long enough for Danny and Linus to bypass the security lasers in the elevator shafts that lead to the vault. Benedict, attending a boxing match with Tess, receives a phone call from Rusty, who informs Benedict he's being robbed. Rusty tells Benedict that the crew is only taking half the $160 million from the vault, leaving the remaining $80 million boobytrapped with explosives in case the crew isn't allowed to walk out of the casino with the money. Benedict calls a SWAT team to flush out the robbers, which causes the booby-trapped money to explode and destroy the vault.

Flipping the switch on Benedict

The SWAT team is soon revealed to be members of the Eleven themselves, who walk out of the casino with the money. Benedict realizes that the CCTV footage he saw of the robbers was actually decoy footage that the Eleven made using the practice vault. Benedict interrogates Danny to find out whether he had anything to do with the robbery that just occurred. Danny feigns ignorance of the crime but offers Benedict the option of getting his money back by giving up Tess. Naturally, Benedict accepts the offer as a shocked Tess witnesses his disloyalty on the CCTV feed that Livingston has linked to her.

Tess leaves Benedict and reconciles with Danny as he's being arrested for violating his parole. The Eleven celebrate their victory, and three to six months later, Rusty and Tess pick up Danny from jail, aware that Benedict's men are on their tail.

The forbidden love between cop and robber

Rusty and Danny pull the Bulgari job in Rome, where Rusty meets Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Even though Isabel is a Europol agent investigating the Bulgari job, the two begin dating and eventually fall in love. Their relationship ends when Isabel gets closer to linking Rusty to the crime, prompting him to disappear.

When Baron François Toulour (Vincent Cassel), a wealthy socialite by day and burglar known as "Night Fox" by night, overhears his mentor Gaspar LeMarc (Albert Finney), once a renowned thief in his heyday, agreeing with an associate that Daniel Ocean is "the best thief in the world," he becomes fraught with jealousy and plans a challenge for the Eleven.

Three years after the Bellagio heist, Benedict, who has recouped the $160 million stolen from him through insurance, receives a call from the mysterious Night Fox, who offers Benedict information on the team. The info is free of cost but contingent on Benedict "showing restraint" toward the team and giving them two weeks to return the stolen money.

The past comes back to collect its dues

The Eleven have all gone on to live lifestyles of varying degrees of success (and failure), and Danny and Tess have settled into a life of domestic bliss that's interrupted by Benedict showing up and personally demanding each member of the team to return his $160 million, with $38 million in interest in two weeks.

The Eleven reconvene with 13 days remaining and learn they are over $98 million short and will need to find a high-paying job. Since the team has gained enough notoriety in the States, they travel to Amsterdam to meet Matsui (Robbie Coltrane), who directs the Eleven to a valuable document owned by wealthy collector Van der Woude (Jeroen Krabbé).

At Woude's mansion, the team is surprised to discover a voice recording left by the Night Fox, who congratulates Danny and reveals that he was the one who orchestrated the team's arrival in Amsterdam by revealing their identities to Benedict and hiring Matsui to tip them off on the document's location.

The Night Fox steals the show

Isabel investigates the robbery at Woude's house and deduces that the Night Fox and Rusty were somehow involved. She gets Matsui to spill the beans on the Eleven, after which Isabel nabs Frank on a charge related to the Bulgari job. Isabel catches Rusty and the Eleven by surprise at the group's hideout, where she warns Rusty against getting lured in by the Night Fox.

The Eleven discover that the infamous thief's real identity is François Toulour, after which they steal a few paintings from him. Danny pays Toulour a visit. Toulour challenges Danny to steal the Imperial Coronation Fabergé egg, which he will be going after himself. If Danny and his team win, Toulour will pay off their debt to Benedict.

To punish Toulour for violating the code of honor among thieves (by disclosing the identities of the Eleven to Benedict), Danny and Rusty discreetly plan with LeMarc to reclaim the egg (which LeMarc had stolen years ago) and have Toulour pay off their debts to Benedict.

Eleven plus Julia Roberts equals Ocean's Twelve

Toulour tips Isabel of the Eleven's plans to steal the egg, after which she arrests most of the team on the day of the heist, using an arrest warrant with a forged signature. Linus, Basher, Turk, and Saul manage to flee and hatch a plan that involves Tess impersonating actress Julia Roberts and using the celebrity's star power to get to the egg. With a reluctant Tess playing a pregnant Roberts, the plan works and paves the way for Linus to swap the prized egg with a holographic decoy. However, Isabel intercepts them and sends them all to jail.

FBI agent Molly Star (actually Linus' mother) takes over Isabel's operation and informs her that she has been summoned to Amsterdam to answer for forging her superior's signature. The Eleven get away with Molly's help and con Isabel, who's lured by Rusty into meeting her long-lost father, revealed to be LeMarc himself.

Toulour is giddy after defeating Danny and stealing the egg. However, Danny and Tess reveal that the egg Toulour stole was counterfeit and that the real one was handed to LeMarc. Toulour concedes and settles the Eleven's debt with Benedict. The Eleven celebrate with Tess and Isabel.

Can't bank on Willy Bank

A few years later, Reuben sets his sights on the casino business, partnering with shrewd tycoon Willy Bank (Al Pacino) — who Danny and other associates warn Reuben about. Their warnings prove true, as Bank strong-arms Reuben into giving up his ownership of the casino hotel they built together, which is now renamed "The Bank." This literally breaks Reuben's heart, as a myocardial infarction paralyzes him.

The remaining members of the Eleven drop everything to attend to Reuben (except Tess and Isabel, since "it's not their fight," and Rusty has hit a rough patch with Isabel). The doctor tells them that Reuben's recovery hinges on hope, friends, and family (which the Eleven have become for Reuben). Danny insists that Bank restore Reuben's share in the hotel, but he refuses. And thus, the Eleven are more determined than ever to settle their next score, but this time, it's entirely personal.

Planning for the Bank's grand opening — and closing

Six months later, the team's plans for a score on The Bank are already in motion. They aim to sabotage the hotel as an act of vengeance for Reuben. They do this in two ways: rigging every game against the casino and preventing the Bank from winning the prestigious Five Diamond Award, which four of Willy Bank's hotels have previously won. The Bank boasts cutting-edge security, which could make the team's lives harder as they prepare for their operation on the hotel's grand opening.

The team's biggest hurdle for the first part of the plan is "the Greco," an artificial intelligence system that closely monitors every player on the casino floor to determine whether or not their wins are legitimate. The system can't be hacked or beaten, and the team realizes they would need to cause an earthquake to temporarily deactivate it.

For the second part of the plan, the team ruins the experience of the Diamond Award reviewer by mercilessly contaminating his hotel room and spiking his food while sending in Saul to dupe Bank and his devoted assistant, Abigail Sponder (Ellen Barkin), into believing that he's the reviewer.

Let's just be frenemies

The drill used to trigger the earthquake gets busted, and the Eleven can't afford a replacement. They turn to Terry Benedict, who conveniently happens to hold a grudge against Bank. He agrees to finance the replacement drill in exchange for the team stealing Bank's diamond collection. Benedict employs François Toulour to spy on the Eleven and steal the diamonds from them, a scheme that the Eleven become immediately aware of.

Meanwhile, Virgil, deep undercover as a factory worker at The Bank's dice factory in Mexico, riles the factory workers against the poor working conditions. This causes a violent protest that leads to the operation temporarily shutting down. This, however, wasn't a part of the Eleven's plans and puts a damper on their operations, as they need the sabotaged dice to be shipped to The Bank immediately. After sending in Turk (who gets embroiled in the fight for workers' rights) to fix the situation, Benedict promptly ends the protests by paying for the wage increase the workers had been demanding.

The real treasure was the Ocean's Thirteen we met along the way

On the night of The Bank's grand opening, Linus seduces Abigail to gain access to the secure diamond case at the top of the hotel. Using the drill, Virgil and Turk trigger the first tremor, causing the Greco to shut down for three minutes — enough time for the Eleven to swoop in and rig every game in favor of the gamblers on the casino floor, costing Bank half a billion dollars. A second tremor hits the hotel harder, forcing everyone inside to evacuate.

Linus' father poses as an FBI agent and arrests Linus in front of Abigail. Toulour shows up on the hotel's rooftop and intercepts the diamonds before parachuting away, unaware that he has stolen the fake jewels. Using a helicopter, Linus and Basher lift Bank's entire case of diamonds and fly away.

Danny meets Bank in front of the deserted hotel and reveals himself as the mastermind behind Bank's ruin. Yet again, the Eleven bask in their victory, with Reuben having fully recovered. Danny confronts Terry about Toulour's involvement and his efforts to defraud the Eleven, revealing that as punishment, he donated Terry's share of the heist to charity. Before saying goodbye, Danny suggests to Rusty that he settle down.

It runs in the family

About a year later, Danny's sister, Deborah "Debbie" Ocean (who, like her brother, has sticky fingers), and her best friend, Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett), pull small scores and con jobs in New Jersey. Debbie collaborates with charismatic art dealer Claude Becker (Richard Armitage) on a scheme, and the two begin to date over the next few years — until Claude frames Debbie as the brains behind one of his scams and testifies against her, effectively landing her in jail.

During her five years in prison, Debbie comes up with a plan for her next score that will net her a sizable payoff and enable her to frame Claude in revenge. At some point in 2018, Danny dies of unknown causes, and Debbie is paroled. She visits Danny's grave, where Reuben tries to talk Debbie out of her intentions, telling her that Danny admired her plan but thought she'd end up back in prison if she carried it out.

The Ocean's ... Seven?

Debbie catches up with Lou (who now runs a small scam selling watered-down vodkas) and proposes her idea: stealing the Toussaint, a diamond necklace worth $150 million, from celebrity Daphne Kluger's (Anne Hathaway) neck at the Met Gala. The two headhunt their crew: fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), jewelry grader Amita (Mindy Kaling), hacker Leslie "Nine Ball" Jordan (Rihanna), pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina), and stolen-goods reseller Tammy (Sarah Paulson), each of whom is enticed by the $16 million payoff.

The crew tricks Daphne into hiring Rose to be her Met Gala designer, and Rose then convinces Cartier to lend Daphne the Toussaint for the event. Leslie hacks the Met's security system; Tammy is hired into the event's management team, which allows her to access seating charts; and Rose gets a scan of the necklace during reconnaissance so the team can 3D print a replica. Debbie sets up Claude to be Daphne's date at the gala, which causes Lou to question Debbie's true intentions.

Soon after realizing what's going on, Daphne approaches Debbie and Lou and offers to help them out in exchange for a piece of the action. All the while, she keeps her involvement secret from the other crew members. Lou recruits Yen for the covert part of the heist.

The Met Gala

The team infiltrates the Met Gala using a variety of disguises, and everything goes according to plan. Lou, posing as a chef, laces Daphne's food. This makes her sick and sends her gunning for the bathroom, where Constance swipes the necklace from Daphne's neck while she pukes her heart out. Debbie prevents the Cartier security guard accompanying Daphne from entering the women's restroom by standing watch there — right where the security camera can see her, providing her a solid alibi.

With the necklace having disappeared from Daphne's neck, the security team locks down the gala and conducts a thorough search of the museum, during which Lou and Yen steal every necklace on display. Tammy "finds" the missing Toussaint (a decoy), ending the gala's lockdown. Amita cuts the genuine necklace into smaller pieces to be split among the crew. They make a clean getaway, during which Debbie plants a piece of the Toussaint on Claude.

Living up to the Ocean's legacy

After the event, the necklace is found to be fake, prompting the involvement of insurance investigator John Frazier (James Corden). John immediately deduces Debbie's involvement but can't implicate her since she has an alibi. The two meet and arrange a deal to get John pieces of the necklace and put Claude on the hook. Daphne seduces Claude, arranging proof to justify John getting a search warrant. The police discover the piece in Claude's possession. Debbie has a group of elderly socialites sell off the pieces of the Toussaint and deposit the proceeds into an account bearing Claude's name, sealing his fate.

Debbie and Lou explain that their true motivation for stealing the Toussaint was to frame Claude, and Daphne reveals herself as the eighth member of the team. They also show off several priceless necklaces they stole during the gala lockdown, raising everyone's share from $16 million to $38 million each. Everyone leaves to live their lives and put their money to good use, and Debbie stops by Danny's grave and remarks that he "would have loved it."