The 27 best Mafia, Gangster & Mob Movies of all time
The below list are by my definition the best Mafia, Gangster and Mob Films of all time. Some of the movies might be a surprise to you as they might not obviously fall into the same category as the others but I didn't want to leave them out even if they are not 100% pure Mafia goodness.
Goodfellas is a 1990 crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, the true story of Henry Hill. The film follows the rise and fall of three gangsters, spanning three decades.
The Godfather is a 1972 epic crime drama film based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola, and an uncredited Robert Towne. It stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton, and features Richard S. Castellano, Abe Vigoda and Sterling Hayden. The story spans ten years from 1945 to 1955 and chronicles the Italian-American Corleone crime family.
The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase. It was originally broadcast in the United States on the premium cable network HBO from January 10, 1999 to June 10, 2007, spanning six seasons and 86 episodes. Since premiering on HBO, the show has been broadcast by many networks in dozens of other countries.
Eastern Promises is a 2007 crime drama film directed by David Cronenberg, from a screenplay written by Steven Knight. The film tells of a British midwife's interactions with the Russian Mafia in London and stars Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts. Principal photography began November 2006, in locations in and around London. The film has been noted for its plot twist and for its violence and realistic depiction of the Russian criminal underworld.
Once upon a time in America
Once Upon a Time in America (Italian title C'era una volta in America) is a 1984 crime film directed by Sergio Leone, starring Robert De Niro and James Woods. The story chronicles the lives of Jewish ghetto youths who rise to prominence in New York City's world of organized crime. The film explores themes of childhood friendships, love, loss, greed, violence, the passage of time, broken relationships, and the appearance of mobsters in American society.
Casino is an Academy Award nominated 1995 crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Pileggi and Larry Shandling. Robert De Niro stars as Sam "Ace" Rothstein, a Jewish chain-smoking top gambling handicapper who is called by the Mob to oversee the day-to-day operations at the fictional Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. The story is based on the late Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, who ran the Stardust, Fremont and the Hacienda casinos in Las Vegas for the Chicago Outfit from the 1970s until the early 1980s.
Donnie Brasco is an Academy Award–nominated 1997 film by Mike Newell, starring Al Pacino, Michael Madsen and Johnny Depp. It is loosely based on the real-life events of Joseph D. Pistone, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent who successfully infiltrated the Bonanno crime family, one of the Mafia's Five Families based in New York City during the 1970s, under the alias "Donnie Brasco". Depp met with Pistone several times while preparing for his role.
The Departed is a 2006 crime thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. It is an American remake of the 2002 Hong Kong crime thriller Infernal Affairs. The film won four Academy Awards at the 79th Academy Awards, including the Best Picture, and a long-awaited Best Director win for Scorsese.
Carlito's Way is a 1993 crime film based on the novels Carlito's Way and After Hours by Judge Edwin Torres. The film adaptation was scripted by David Koepp and directed by Brian De Palma. It stars Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, John Leguizamo, Jorge Porcel and Viggo Mortensen. The film's featured song, "You Are So Beautiful", was performed by Joe Cocker.
Scarface is a 1983 epic crime film directed by Brian De Palma, written by Oliver Stone and starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana. A remake of Howard Hawks' original 1932 film of the same title, the film tells the story of a fictional Cuban refugee who comes to Florida in 1980 as a result of the Mariel Boatlift. Montana becomes a gangster against the backdrop of the 1980s cocaine boom. The film chronicles his rise to the top of Miami's criminal underworld and subsequent downfall in Greek tragedy fashion.
Heat is a 1995 American action film written and directed by Michael Mann. It stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer. The film was released on December 15, 1995. De Niro plays a professional burglar who is a calm and methodical introvert, while Pacino plays a veteran LAPD homicide detective whose devotion to his job causes him to neglect his personal problems. The central conflict of the film was based on the experiences of former Chicago police officer Chuck Adamson and his pursuit of a criminal named McCauley in the 1960s, from which the name of De Niro's character, Neil McCauley, was derived.
Jackie Brown is a 1997 crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film stars Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Bridget Fonda and Michael Keaton. This movie follows Tarantino's success directing Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994) which also stars Jackson in a lead role.
Reservoir Dogs is the 1992 debut film of director and writer Quentin Tarantino. It portrays what happens before and after a botched jewel heist, but not the heist itself. Reservoir Dogs stars an ensemble cast with Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Quentin Tarantino, Eddie Bunker, Chris Penn and Lawrence Tierney. Tarantino also has a minor role, as does criminal-turned-author Eddie Bunker. It incorporates many themes and aesthetics that have become Tarantino's hallmarks: violent crime, pop culture references, memorable dialogue, profuse profanity, and a nonlinear storyline.
Pulp Fiction is a 1994 film by director Quentin Tarantino, who cowrote the film with Roger Avary. A crime drama with a nonlinear storyline, the film is known for its rich, eclectic dialogue, its ironic mix of humor and violence, and its host of cinematic and pop culture references. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture; Tarantino and Avary won for Best Original Screenplay. It was also awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. A major commercial success, it revitalized the career of its leading man, John Travolta, who received an Academy Award nomination, as did costars Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman.
The Boondock Saints
The Boondock Saints is a 2000 crime thriller film written and directed by Troy Duffy. The film stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus as Catholic Irish American fraternal twins, Connor and Murphy MacManus, who become vigilantes after killing two members of the Russian mob in self-defense. After a message from God, the brothers, together with their friend David Della Rocco, set out to rid their home city of Boston, Massachusetts of crime and evil; all the while being pursued by FBI agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe).
Analyze This is a 1999 movie produced by Warner Brothers Studios. Directed by Harold Ramis, it features Robert De Niro as a mafioso and Billy Crystal as a psychiatrist. It was written by playwright Kenneth Lonergan with re-writes by Peter Tolan, George Gallo, and director Ramis among others. A sequel, Analyze That was released in 2002.
Road to Perdition
Road to Perdition is a 2002 period drama directed by Sam Mendes. The screenplay was adapted by David Self, from the graphic novel of the same name by Max Allan Collins. The film stars Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Tyler Hoechlin and Daniel Craig. Hanks stars as Michael Sullivan, an assassin who is forced to flee with his son from the crime syndicate for whom he had worked.
Mickey Blue Eyes
Mickey Blue Eyes is a 1999 film directed by Kelly Makin. Hugh Grant stars as Michael Felgate, an English auctioner living in New York City who becomes entangled in his soon-to-be father in-law's mafia connections.
The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film, written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the Stephen King novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The film stars Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding. The film portrays Andy spending nearly two decades in Shawshank State Prison, a fictional penitentiary in Maine, and his friendship with Red, a fellow inmate. This movie exemplifies the potential gap between initial box office success and ultimate popularity.
The Usual Suspects
The Usual Suspects is a 1995 American neo-noir film written by Christopher McQuarrie and directed by Bryan Singer. The film tells the story of Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), a small-time con man who is the subject of a police interrogation. He tells his interrogator, U.S. Customs Agent David Kujan (Chazz Palminteri), a convoluted story about events leading to a massacre and massive fire that have just taken place on a ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro Bay. Using flashback and narration, Verbal's story becomes increasingly complex as he tries to explain why he and his partners-in-crime were on the boat.
Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir film, directed by Roman Polanski. The film features many elements of the film noir genre, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and part psychological drama. It stars Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston. Also appearing in the film are John Hillerman, Diane Ladd, Perry Lopez, James Hong, Joe Mantell, Bruce Glover, Burt Young, and Noble Willingham. The plot is based in part on real events that formed the California Water Wars, in which William Mulholland acted on behalf of Los Angeles interests to secure water rights in the Owens Valley.
Snatch is a 2000 crime film by British writer-director Guy Ritchie, and featuring an ensemble cast. Set in the London criminal underworld, the movie contains two intertwined plots — one dealing with the search for a stolen diamond, the other with a small-time boxing promoter named Turkish (Jason Statham) who finds himself under the thumb of a psychotic gangster named Brick Top (Alan Ford).
Kill Bill is the fourth film by writer-director Quentin Tarantino. Originally conceived as one film, it was released in two separate volumes (in late 2003 and early 2004) due to its running time of approximately four hours. The movie is an epic-length revenge drama, with homages to earlier film genres, such as Hong Kong martial arts movies, Japanese samurai movies and Italian spaghetti westerns; an extensive use of popular music and pop culture references; and aestheticization of violence. Filming took place in California, Texas, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and parts of Mexico.
Fight Club is a 1999 American feature film adaptation of the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. The film, directed by David Fincher, follows a nameless protagonist (Edward Norton), an everyman and an unreliable narrator who feels trapped with his white-collar position in society. The narrator gets involved in a fight club with soap salesman Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and becomes tangled up in a relationship triangle with Durden and a destitute woman, Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter).
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is a 2008 American superhero film directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is part of Nolan's Batman film series and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins. Christian Bale reprises the lead role. The film follows Bruce Wayne/Batman (Bale), District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), and Police Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and their struggles and journey in combating the new threat of the Joker (Heath Ledger). The Joker's identity is left a mystery in the film, while Two-Face's transformation from heroic district attorney to disfigured killer is presented entirely.
The Slience of the Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 suspense film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Anthony Heald and Ted Levine. It is based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris, his second to feature Dr. Hannibal Lecter, brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer. In the film, Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned Lecter on catching a serial killer known only as "Buffalo Bill". The film won the top five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress.
Léon (also known as The Professional and Léon: The Professional) is a French 1994 action drama film written and directed by French director Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and a young Natalie Portman in her first starring role.