Top Gangster Films
Gangster movies have always been around since the early 1900s with the likes of Little Caesar, Scarface, The Public Enemy, The Roaring Twenties, The Last Gangster (1937), and many more as Americans have always been fascinated with the gangster lifestyle. A breakdown of the genre includes fan favorites, some of the highest rated films of all-time, and some movies that many may be unfamiliar with. The list does not solely highlight movies based around the Italian Mob, or what people think of as traditional gangster movies, but films that represent some form of organized crime regardless of the demographic.
Top 30 Gangster Movies
1. Scarface. Starring Al Pacino as a Cuban immigrant who worked his way up in the underworld of Miami to being “on top of the world”. But with the money and the power came his ego, which would eventually lead to his demise.
2. Godfather I. One of the top classic films of all-time portrayed one of the five families of New York City’s Italian mafia. Michael Corleone’s, played by Young Al Pacino, ambition led him to not only seek revenge for his father’s assassination attempt and the murder of brother, but also plot his way to taking complete control and becoming the Don of all Dons.
3. Casino. Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci take over Las Vegas until their own doings lead them to drastic fall from greatness.
4. Once Upon A Time in America. One can consider that this Sergio Leone film has many similarities to the Godfather I and II. Regardless of what anyone thinks, this classic film easily stands the test time. Starring Robert DeNiro, Once Upon A Time in America is based on the rise of a handful of Jewish youths who turned to be crime bosses during the prohibition era, at least until betrayal ruins everything.
5. Goodfellas. In one of the most notable films of all-time, Martin Scorsese directed Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta in a film based on the ups and downs and the highs and lows of being affiliated with the mob.
6. Carlito’s Way. Fresh out of prison, Carlito, played by Al Pacino, tried his best to stay straight and out of trouble, but the people around him drew him back and with everything he tried to do could not avoid his own downfall.
7. Godfather II. A back and forth between the past that highlights the beginning of the Corleone family and the present that shows Michael Corleone continuing reign as the new ‘Don’ Corleone.
8. Reservoir Dogs. This film, which is one of everyone’s all-time favorite Quentin film, is based around a group of gangsters who happen to be a victim of a bank robbery gone wrong, and now they music figure out who is the traitor.
9. The Usual Suspects. One of the most iconic crime and thriller films of all-time, a movie made famous for the character by the name of Keyser Söze as four misfits are brought together to only find out that the person they are working for is one of them.
10. King of New York. Frank White controls everything from the city’s politics to the streets and underworld of New York City, and lets it be known that he wants in on everything.
11. A Bronx Tale. A kid learns about life from the neighborhood’s top mobster.
12. Donnie Brasco. Johnny Depp stars as an undercover agent who gets in too deep with the Italian mob, led by Al Pacino’s character Lefty.
13. The Departed. An all-star cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg, helps create this classic film based around undercovers on both sides of the law, in cat and mouse game.
14. The Untouchables. Kevin Costner and Sean Connery star as two law enforcement officers trying to take down Al Capone, played by Robert De Niro.
15. Godfather III. Michael Corleone is far from the old Michael Corleone of Godfather I and II, but with the infamous line “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”, he is still much involved.
16. The Irishman. The latest gangster film was received quite well as Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci linked up for another classic.
17. Hoodlum. Based on a true story as Bumpy Johnson, played by Laurence Fishburne, fights rival mobster Dutch Schultz who tries to infiltrate onto territory within Harlem.
18. Black Mass. Stars Johnny Depp as the infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger.
19. Killing Them Softly. Starring Brad Pitt as an enforcer for the local Mob whose sole job is to seek revenge and reestablish respect.
20. Ghost Dog. A different type of gangster movie as this film stars Forest Whitaker as a hired hitman for the local mob but finds himself having to survive against attacks by the very people that once hired him.
20. Kill The Irishman. A true story about an Irishman in Cleveland by the name of Danny Green who gave the local Italian Mob a run for their money.
22. The Iceman. The story of one of America’s most ruthless serial killer, an alleged hired hitman by the name of Richard Kuklinski.
23. Bugsy. Based on the life of famous gangster Bugsy Siegel, a gangster film that shows another side of Bugsy Siegel, the side of love as the movie depicts his relationship with Virginia Hill.
24. Boss of Bosses. Chazz Palminteri, of The Bronx Tale, stars as one of the most reputable Italian Mob leaders of all-time, Paul Castellano.
25. The Cotton Club. Featuring the early days of Richard Gere and Gregory Hines, this film depicts Richard Gere’s character Dixie Dwyer and his rise in entertainment with the help of mobsters like Owney Madden, but not after becoming enemies with Dutch Schultz.
26. Last Man Standing. Bruce Willis stars as man that finds himself in the middle of a small-town war between the Irish Mob and the Italian Mob.
27. Billy Bathgate. Centered around the Irish Mob, this film may not be the most recognized, but with an all-star cast of Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, and Bruce Willis, Billy Bathgate is worth checking out.
28. Mobsters. A movie based around the lives of Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, and Frank Costello.
29. Witness To The Mob. A featured film on the life former hitman turned informant, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano of John Gotti’s Gambino family.
30. The Valachi Papers. A film that was based around Joseph Valachi, a former gangster for the Genovese Family. Valachi is credited for being the first member of the Italian Mafia to testify and announce the existence of the mob.