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The Greatest Gangster Movies of All Time



Movies about the mafia, gangsters, and their tales of crime in the streets are not only captivating, but they are often outlined in truth. Many of these movies are based on true stories of infamous real-life criminals, and the tales of their activities and ultimate fate plays extremely well on the big screen.
Over the years, actors like De Niro, Stallone, and even Brando solidified their names in the greatness of this genre based on their acting performance alone, especially in iconic scenes. Here we rank the greatest gangster movies of all time.

In Bruges (2008)

In this buddy-structured crime thriller, two hitmen reckon with a job gone wrong and how they are forced to deal with it in Bruges, Belgium.

Point Break (1991)

Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves star in this FBI thriller in which an agent investigates a group of surfers on suspicion of multiple robberies.

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)

This crime classic explores what happens when an evil genius utilizes practices of hypnosis to still be a pivotal factor, even after death.

The Irishman (2019)

Robert DeNiro’s role as Frank in this Martin Scorsese film chronicles his life and secrets during his time in the Bufalino crime family.

The League of Gentlemen (1960)

This heist movie focused on a group of disgruntled veterans who decided to perform a bank robbery with military precision to get back at a system that abandoned them.

Get Carter (1971)

This Sylvester Stallone revenge film follows a rugged mob enforcer who travels back home to his home town to investigate his brother’s disappearance.

Why Don’t You Play In Hell (2013)

This international blockbuster follows a Japanese film crew who accidentally get intertwined with the Yakuza, spurring more than a bit of trouble.

A Better Tomorrow (1986)

An ex-gangster is looking to start over and reconcile with his estranged law enforcing brother, but his ties are harder to break than he assumes.

Léon: The Professional (1994)

In this unique coming of age thriller, Leon, an assassin, takes in an orphaned child and teaches her his ways, albeit with the two forming an unlikely bond.

Kid’s Return (1996)

This Japanese story of two best friends who choose very different life paths show the consequences of their actions, whether being a boxer, or a gangster.

Taxi Driver (1976)

An unwell veteran works as a New York cab driver at nights, igniting an urge to participate in the violence and darkness of society, all while dragging some unlikely people with him.

The Hot Rock (1972)

While a group of friends hope to get rich quick by stealing a precious gem from a museum, they don’t realize how much more will come with the heist.

Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

When an escaped convict, a thief, and corrupt former police chief gang up for an elaborate heist, only the most complex scenarios unfold in this French classic.

Gun Crazy (1950)

A young and reckless couple bond over their fascination with firearms by letting their lust lead them on a crime spree.

Casino (1995)

A mobster and a casino executive battle over money, love and notoriety in order to become the most powerful figure in the local gambling empire.

Touch of Evil (1958)

This classic which takes place near the Mexican border town explores what happens after a murder and run-in with corrupt police leads to a kidnapping.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

After a hunter comes across a deal gone bad, a battle of the minds takes place as they realize the chance at 2 million dollars is at stake.

King of New York (1990)

A former criminal kingpin is released from prison and makes it his life’s mission to not only regain the streets in his name, but give back to the community too.

City of God (2002)

In this parallel coming of age tale, two kids from Rio de Janeiro pursue opposite paths through life, as one becomes a kingpin and the other a photographer.

The French Connection (1971)

After police and detectives stumble across a narcotics ring in Marseilles, they go on a crazy hunt to try and bring down their elusive empire.

A Bronx Tale (1993)

Unbeknownst to his parents, a local boy has made friends with an infamous local gangster in the Bronx, causing them more worry than they feared.

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

In this tricky tale based in 1928, a desperate playwright resorts to casting a mafia boss’ girlfriend with zero acting talent in order to get his movie produced.

No Sudden Move (2021)

An unlikely group of wrongdoers all find themselves in the same job, then must find out just exactly who brought them together, and why.

Scarface (Original, 1932)

In this original film, a wily and uncontrollable criminal rises through the ranks of the mob but ultimately falls victim to his own character flaws.

Scarface (1983)

This popularized version of the classic features Al Pacino as a Cuban immigrant who ventures into participation with the cartel in Miami, only to rise in rank, and give into temptation.

The Warriors (1979)

This New York classic follows the story of a leader who hopes to unite all the city’s ruffians, but when he perishes, a gang called the Warriors is blamed.

Performance (1970)

A former gang member who is still wanted by his previous crew hopes to evade retaliation by hiding out with a retired rock musician.

On the Waterfront (1954)

This Brando crime film follows an ex-boxer who turns to union work, only to find out that corruption and violence aren’t just ruining the industry – it’s taking lives.

Boyz n the Hood (1991)

From the ghettos of Crenshaw in LA comes this tale of three south central youth who are forced to grow up quicker than they’d realized, with more than a few obstacles in their path.

The Sting (1973)

Two con-artists join forces to take their lazy practices to the next level, but this time they’re unknowingly stealing from a crime boss.

Infernal Affairs (2004 in USA)

When an undercover cop and a mole within the police department make an unlikely connection, the race is on to determine who the true bad guy really is.

The Untouchables (1987)

A special agent chasing after Al Capone puts together a team of fearless detectives who must then try and bring down his criminal empire.

Widows (2018)

Four women connected by the criminal activity of their husbands join forces to fight their way out of their precarious situations.

The Long Good Friday (1980)

A mobster who’s rising through the ranks must take on a new challenge when an unsuspecting third party attempts to derail his aspirations.

A History of Violence (2005)

An average man experiences a heroic moment in which he uses violence, reigniting a long-forgotten past nobody had any clue about, not even his family.

Le Doulos (1962)

A robber who also has a reputation for being a notorious con-artist plans an elaborate heist with his good friend, who just might be conning him, too.

Rififi (1955)

When a group of schemesters think they have the perfect heist mapped out, outside forces intervene to throw them off course.

Night And The City (1950)

An everyday bouncer who got a way with words finagles his way into a wrestling promotion job, and subsequently into some messy circumstances.

Eastern Promises (2007)

A young woman who passed away may consequently have been tied to a dangerous Russian mob family, investigators discover in her journal entries.

Gomorrah (2008)

This Italian film captures organized crime in Naples, where a particular feud between the ruling mob family and their opponents affects the lives of many others.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

A diverse cast of degenerate characters are all mixed up in a variety of tales that show the true realities of high stakes living, especially when violent and vengeful.

Branded to Kill (1967)

A hitman who screws up an assignment is forced to face the consequences from not only his bosses, but another mysterious fellow-hitman as well.

Sexy Beast (2000)

When a gangster calls up an old, retired friend for one final job, they both get intertwined in a much muddier situation than either had planned for.

Once Upon a Time In America (1984)

A former gangster who hasn’t been active since prohibition times returns back to his old stomping grounds in Lower East Manhattan, where he must reconcile with his past.

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

A man who is the assistant to an old prohibition mob figure hopes to keep opposing crime groups at bay, but his promises end up catching him in the middle.

The Godfather Part II (1974)

The second installment of this trilogy follows Vito Corleone in 1920s New York as he begins his empire. While his son stays busy running the family operation.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

An ex-con who visits a restaurant interests an impressionable waitress into a life of crime and robbery, all at a whim, taking the county by storm.

Mean Streets (1973)

An average gangster is forced to step in between his buddy and his buddy’s overseers, as the fallout in their relationship quickly becomes everyone’s problem.

Goodfellas (1990)

This Scorsese classic and studded cast follows the story of Henry Hill’s Italian-American mob tale that encompasses both his personal and criminal lives and partners.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

After a gang has the worst possible outcome during a jewelry heist, suspicions begin to arise that someone within their group is actually an informant.

The Killing (1956)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this heist thriller tells the story of Johnny Clay, who puts together his best group of criminals to plan an elaborate robbery at a local race track.

The Godfather (1972)

The most respected and notorious crime boss in New York is ready to hand over his criminal empire to his son, but he’s hesitant. However, he’ll have to bear the weight on his shoulders no matter what.

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