Arthur Shaw is the main antagonist of the 2011 comedy film Tower Heist.

He was portrayed by Alan Alda.


Shaw is initially portrayed as a friendly and charismatic Wall Street businessman who owns the luxury apartment complex known as The Tower. He shares a warm friendship with Kovaks, playing chess online with him and enjoys having conversation and making some jokes with the employees. But later in the movie, his true nature is revealed. In reality, he is a scheming con-artist who only cares about himself, ready to ruin people's life to settle his financials problems. His politeness is indeed just an act to hide his cold nature. This coldness is revealed when Josh angrily tells him Lester attempted suicide, by feigning hypocritical concern. He is also arrogant, thinking he will be unpunished for his crimes and taunting Kovaks's gang when they are arrested. However, when Josh says he knows about his embezzlements, Shaw becomes desesperated and is reduced to plea a deal with the hero for not going to jail.


Arthur Shaw steals all pension funds of the tower's employees. Upon learning the FBI has discovered his embezzling scheme, he attempts to flee in a situation disguised as a kidnapping. However, this fails and he is arrested, being put on house arrest.

At first, Josh, the protagonist of the movie, is convinced Shaw wasn't involved, but when his friend Lester, the doorman of The Tower, almost threw himself under the NYC subway, he came to Shaw and crashed his favorite car, for which he was fired. The FBI holds Arthur Shaw for financial fraud, but the pension fund money is nowhere to be found. Josh begins to suspect that the millionaire is keeping his "stash" somewhere in the skyscraper and begins to devise a plan to return all of his savings to all of his employees.

Shaw wants to frame and pursue Josh along with Charlie and Enrique for destroying his. However, the gang tricks the FBI by giving fake reports which postponed to Thanksgiving Shaw's trial. Josh then recruited the former thief Slide to seek revenge for his colleagues' losses. He recruits also the veteran financier Fitzhugh, the elevator operator Devreau and the guard Charlie. With all his team, he succeeds to break in Shaw's apartment but discovers his safe is empty. Slide then betrays the gang and decides to take all for himself. In the brawl between Slide and Fitzhugh, a gunshot accidentally occurs and a bullet hits Shaw's favorite car, which was kept in the penthouse. It turns out that the Ferrari is made of solid gold and, according to Fitzhugh's calculations, is worth around $45 million. Then they decide to steal the car. In the car, Josh finds a notebook who contains all the embezzlements Shaw committed during all his life.

FBI agent Claire Danham, who found out everything, finds them all and puts them in jail. In the truck, Shaw, who is also in the truck for not reporting the safe to the FBI, taunts them, telling they are easily replaceable and they will rot in jail. But when Josh reveals him he knows about the details of his notebook, Shaw begs him to not tell this to the police, in exchange of a lot amount of money, only to fail. Josh, through his lawyer (the girl who works in the complex), provided they are all acquitted, gives them Shaw's notebook. With this proof, Denham will be able to put Shaw in prison for a long time. Shaw's last scene shows him going into his cell in horror, with prisoners shouting at him.


  • He is loosely based on Bernard Madoff.
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