In the 1960 film, Danny Ocean is a former Sergeant in the United States Army, having served during World War II with the 82nd Airborne Division. Danny brings a group of his fellow former soldiers together in a plot to rob five Las Vegas casinos on New Year's Eve.
2001 Film series
Danny Ocean has a cool, friendly and charismatic personality. He is imaginative, personable and highly organized, and a very experienced gambler, con artist, and thief. A true career criminal, Danny is often on the lookout for potential targets, even unintentionally. He is experienced in various confidence schemes, fraudulent business scams and swindles.
Danny is effectively both the leader and project manager of the Eleven, knowing the skills of his teammates and who to rotate inside a job to handle contingencies. He also knows who to recruit from the outside for specific parts in a heist. His ability to rapidly acquire talent throughout the series reveal how extremely well connected he is with the most skilled characters in the professional criminal world. Despite being a thief, Danny adheres to the codes and unwritten understandings of criminal professionals, giving him a universal reputation of reliability, competency and nobility. He lives by three rules: 1. Don't hurt anybody, 2. Don't steal from anyone who doesn't deserve it, 3. Play the game like you have nothing to lose.
Danny's appearance is impeccable and fashionable, but more sedate than his associates. Danny is a skilled communicator. He knows how to persuade using reverse psychology or offering recruits exactly what they want directly using as few words as possible.
Danny's closest friend in the series is Rusty Ryan, and the two complement each other. The two know each other well enough that they will take non-verbal cues from one another, not even needing to finish their own sentences. Danny and Rusty often confide in each other about personal issues.
Before Ocean's Eleven
Before the series begins, it is established Danny was married to Tess Ocean for at least three years. He has fond memories of Reuben Tishkoff and has known Rusty for many years, having established a good friendship with him and many other people. Rusty mentions that Danny had stolen Incan matrimonial headmasks before his capture. He was paroled after serving 2 years of a 5 year sentence for felony fraud conviction. The parole selection staff say he has been implicated in 14 separate counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, but has never been charged in those crimes.
At the start of Ocean's Eleven, Danny gets paroled from prison and after less than a day, he breaks his parole by going to another state to find Rusty. After meeting up with his friend, he reveals his plan to rob the vault of Benedict's casino. When asked why he wants to do this, Danny just says that the house always wins in Vegas, but when you get the best hand you can get like he has now, you go all in and destroy it. They recruit eight other members for the robbery, and taking a hint from Rusty's silence, Danny elects to get one more, Linus Caldwell. The Eleven begin preparations and Rusty finds out the real reason for Danny wanting to rob Benedict. Terry Benedict, who owns the casinos, is now with Danny's ex-wife, Tess. Despite arguments with Rusty, Danny says his intention is to rob the casinos and Tess will be a side effect.
Despite his attempts to get Tess back, they fail and he is blacklisted from the hotel. Since his past history with Tess and criminal record is knowledge to Benedict, Rusty decides that Danny will have to back out of the heist, and the group goes ahead without him. Linus is given Danny's role in the caper. Danny arrives on the night of the heist and says goodbye to Tess. However, while doing so, he secretly passes her a mobile phone to keep the con going.
He allows himself to be taken to an empty room where a man arrives to beat him up. However after the door is closed, it becomes apparent the man is on his side. He uses the opportunity to enter the air-ducts and meet up with Linus where he says this was just a test for Linus and it was all an act.
After infiltrating the vault and after several series of bluffs and cons, the group succeeds in stealing $160 million. He also tricks Benedict into revealing in front of Tess that he'd rather have the money than her. He is sent back to jail for six months for violating his parole. When he comes out, Tess and Rusty are waiting for him, and they drive off into the sunset, closely followed by two of Benedict's lackeys.
Some three years after Ocean's Eleven, Danny is celebrating his second 3rd anniversary with Tess. He is buying her flowers and jewelry after checking a bank for a possible robbery.
However, after doing the previous job, Francois "The Night Fox" Toulour is angered by the possibility of a better thief than him. He reveals the location of the Eleven to Benedict and they are found and given two weeks to pay back the money or they will be executed by Benedict. Danny is short on funds as are the rest, except Reuben. They go to Europe to get the money. However, Toulour interferes with their plans and reveals his own. Toulour offers to pay the debt of the Eleven if they can prove themselves better thieves. Through consultation with Toulour's mentor, LeMarque, the group comes out ahead with the object of the theft, a golden egg originally stolen by LeMarque but put back after his wife made him return it. Toulour explains to Danny how he stole what he believed to be the egg. When Danny reveals in reality it was a replica, Toulour concedes and pays off the debt.
Sometime after Ocean's Twelve, Reuben is partnered with ruthless Las Vegas businessman Willy Bank. The two intend to build a new, multi-billion-dollar hotel/casino. However, Bank strongarms Reuben into signing his share of the deal over to Bank, leaving Rueben with a single poker chip worth $10,000. The shock of the swindle gives Reuben a heart attack. Danny calls in the rest of the Eleven to get revenge. However, he leaves Tess behind, saying "it's not her fight." Despite the group wanting to kill Banks, and Danny being saddened by Reuben's heart attack, Danny and Rusty persuade the team that Danny should first talk to Bank to give Reuben back his share. When Bank refuses, the group prepares to rob him.
With the help of Roman Nagel (the engineer who created the holographic egg in Ocean's Twelve) and a seemingly placated Benedict, the group manages to plant a magnetron on Bank, so that when he enters the security sector of his casino, it locks down from the magnetron's interference. With the security shut down for three and a half minutes, the group uses the pre-rigged games to break the house, causing Bank over $500,000,000 in losses. As the security comes back online, the group simulates an earthquake and gets the entire casino to evacuate before the patrons can start losing again.
Danny then faces off against Bank. After Bank threatens Danny with all the friends he knows who'll hurt him, Danny is calm and confident, claiming every guy Bank knows likes Danny better. At that point, to add insult to injury, Basher and Linus airlift Bank's collection of prized diamond necklaces, worth an additional $250,000,000.
Afterward, Danny and the group, including the recovered Reuben, celebrate their victory. As they leave, in the airport, Rusty tells him to lose weight and Danny tells him to settle down and have a couple of kids.
A running joke in the movie is that there is a code between people who "shook Sinatra's hand." Frank Sinatra played the character of Danny Ocean in the 1960's version of the film.