The classic gangster film seems to be a glorification of violence, drug abuse, and morals gone astray. The American dream is cut to the heart of the greatest crime films. The Italian Mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, and other mobsters turn to crime as a means of independence and fulfillment of their dreams of financial success. Looking for validation in the criminal Underworld can lead to bloodshed and sorrow.
The list includes 25 of the greatest movies about mobsters, from Martin Scorsese’s exploration of New York City’s crime life to the brutal depiction of bloodthirsty criminals by Takashi Miike. Comedy, surrealism, and even kid-friendly fare are included in every title. Use this list as an entry point into the world of gangster cinema by not buying crime movies.
Martin Scorsese is a master of the movie genre. Goodfellas is a film about the life of a mobster, and it features an all-star cast. The 1990 film is an excellent exploration of crime and still holds up 25 years later.
2. The Godfather
There is no way to overstate the influence of The Godfather. The film has a number of key plot points that can be memorised by anyone who has never seen it. The psychological nuances of the mafia are explored in The Godfather, which is a film that has many moments of shock and awe.
3. The Departed
The Departed is a classic of the genre. There is more to the story than just the tale, but on the surface level it seems like it is not achieving anything. Many characters are struggling to square morality and duty.
4. Pulp Fiction
The tired tropes of one-dimensional villains only obsessed with fame and fortune are completely obliterated by the postmodern epic. Instead, the universe built by Pulp Fiction is a non- linear one that celebrates the curious humanity of society’s lowest common denominators.
5. American Gangster
The movie’s main inspiration, heroin smuggler Frank Lucas, has decried the historical accuracy of the film. The film by Scott, called “International Drug Rings and Deals Gone Wrong”, is a thrilling tale of international drug rings and deals gone wrong.
6. Carlito’s Way
The film was a flop among critics but an underground of devoted fans made it a cult hit. Al Pacino gave a brilliant performance of Carlito Brigante. Various lines from the film have become popular sample fodder for musicians.
7. Ichi the Killer
The Japanese mobsters are often used as brutal fodder for directors, because they are viewed as a more civilized crime syndicate than the mafia. In Ichi the Killer, Director Takashi Miike explores two warring gangs through the perspective of the ruthless Ichi. His battle-damaged mind shows the bloodiest side of gang violence.
8. Road to Perdition
Sam Mendes wanted to convey the life of a criminal through their moods rather than their words. He used the old images of America to tell the story of a father and son fighting for revenge. The film is a unique entry in the mobster film canon.
9. City of God
City of God is a different kind of movie, as it is set in a different part of the world. Fernando Meirelles directed a film about the slums of Brazil. The picture that Meirelles paints shows how love and tragedy can coexist in the worst of conditions.
10. The Untouchables
Any director could have made a great film out of the famous attempt to lock up Al Capone. Brian De Palma has made a tale from a run-of-the-mill cat and mouse chase into an emotionally complex epic. The movie’s compelling melodrama is helped by an old school jazz score from Ennio Morricone.
11. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
The U.K. has a lot of directors who are mobster obsessed. In Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, a few hapless friends decide to become two-bit mobsters and rob their neighbors.
Other films try to glamorize the life of drug lords and mobsters, and then there are movies like Scarface. The story is about Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who wants to dominate Miami’s drug trade. Roger Ebert praised the movie for its grotesque thrills, but many criticized it for its excessive violence.
13. Boyz N’ the Hood
The show explores life on the streets of Los Angeles instead of focusing on the gloominess of Boston and New York City. John Singleton received a lot of praise for his depiction of L.A. gang life. The film was entered into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
14. A History of Violence
A History of Violence is violent and similar to a great gangster movie. David Cronenberg makes the audience feel the emotional ramifications of every bloody scene. Viggo called it close to perfect.
15. Eastern Promises
Real mobsters go much deeper than gun fights and brushes with the law. The Russian Mafia have sex trafficking rings that Cronenberg shines a light on in Eastern Promises. He uses violence to craft a realistic story with chilling significance.
16. The Sting
The Sting was a critical smash at the time of its release in 1973, thanks to the charming compositions of pianist Scott Joplin. The film shows a romanticized view of running cons and doing your best to survive in the Great Depression.
17. Bugsy Malone
The gangster genre is no different than the kids movies. Bugsy Malone made the story of Al Capone into a kid-friendly film with musical numbers. The quirky charm and wild imagination of the movie make it one of the best.
18. White Heat
White Heat was one of the first movies to explore mobster lore on the big screen, and is one of the best. The film establishes classic tropes that would influence future directors. The history yts torrent of crime cinema is dependent on the plot of train robberies, prison escapes, and police shootouts.
19. The Public Enemy
Critics were initially against The Public Enemy. It was referred to as low-brow material given such workmanship as to make it high-brow, which alludes to the qualities that have since made it an essential gangster flick. The dialogue was between ridiculous and realistic, covering the truths hidden in the romanticization of crime.
20. Bonnie and Clyde
Sex and violence were considered morally repugnant in cinema before they became commonplace in modern action movies. Bonnie and Clyde caused a lot of controversy when it was released in 1967. The film divided some fans who were refreshed by the depiction of the criminal life.
21. Miller’s Crossing
The script to Miller’s Crossing is a love letter to cinema. There are many references to classics in dark comedy. It is easy to enjoy because of the lighthearted energy and emotional undertones, which make it a good film for people who don’t like mobster movies.
22. In Bruges
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are an unusual likeable duo in In Bruges. Farrell’s character dodges death and ruminates on the nature of his criminal life, which causes them to find themselves at odds. It is a look into the gangster mindset with humor and imagery.
Las Vegas is an ideal place for crime because of its reputation as a gambling city. Robert De Niro is a caricature of Frank Rosenthal, one of the most notorious casino runners and organized crime associates in the city’s history, in Casino, which was directed by Martin Scorsese. The cast of the film recreates a fierce time in the history of the Italian mafia, with Joe Pesci playing Anthony Spilotro, one of Rosenthal’s mobster associates.
24. A Bronx Tale
It only made sense that Robert De Niro would direct a gangster epic after his career was defined by his portrayal of the mafioso. In A Bronx Tale, De Niro’s character struggles to find meaning in 1960s Bronx, where he is weighed between conflicting advice from his father and a local mob boss. The dialogue and characters feel alive because of the real-life roots of the story.
25. Once Upon a Time in America
Fans and critics had different reactions to Once Upon a Time in America. The original 229-minute version has been praised as an undisputed classic of gangster cinema, while the shorter version was panned and even seen as offensive. Roger Ebert gave the original a four star rating and referred to the truncated version as a “travesty”, highlighting the dichotomy.