The best gangster movies of all time have been those that served to audiences a mixture of memorable plots, unforgettable characters and of course, an indelible cinematic experience. In this video, we have compiled for you a list of 21 best mob movies of all time and we are presenting them to you in the order of their IMDB rating. So, hit the play button and enjoy.
Internal Affairs (6.5)
Raymond Avila, played by Andy Garcia, is a young and new recruit in the Internal Affairs Department of the Los Angeles police. Avila and his partner, Amy Wallace, played by Laurie Metcalf, become interested in the activities of Dennis Peck, played by Richard Gere after they realize Dennis is involved in many criminal activities. Raymond eventually becomes obsessed with catching Dennis.
Mean Streets (7.3)
Mean Streets, a Martin Scorsese classic, follows the life of Charlie, Tony, Michael and Teresa in New York’s Little Italy. Though Scorsese’s characters have grown in a gangster environment, they are naive and do not know how to survive the New York gangster world. Other than its memorable plot, the film is also remembered for its fight scenes, none of which look choreographed as was usual with most early mob movies. These scenes depict Scorsese’s genius.
Miller’s Crossing (7.7)
Tom Reagen is the chief advisor to the mob boss, Leo, and is having a secret affair with Leo’s girlfriend Verna. When Leo clashes with another mob boss, Johnny Caspar, over Verna’s brother Bernie Bernbaum, Tom finds himself in the middle of an issue he cannot resolve. Tom gets thrown out of Leo’s syndicate and is suddenly warring with several deadly parties. This American noir gangster film was produced and directed by the Coen brothers and was a box office failure. However, the film has become a cult classic over the years.
Donnie Brasco (7.7)
Donnie Brasco is based on the real-life story of FBI agent Joe Pistone who infiltrated the Bonanno crime family between 1976 and 1981. In the film, Pistone (played by Johnny Depp) infiltrates the mafia army led by Sonny Black by befriending Lefty Ruggiero. Though Donnie collects enough evidence for the conviction of top Mafia bosses, he also realizes that being an undercover agent is tough. The film reaches its high point when the friendship between Donnie and Lefty, played by Al Pacino, deepens.
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The French Connection (7.7)
The French Connection is based on the real-life story of Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, two New York City Narcotics detectives who busted a global heroin racket in the 1960s. Gene Hackman played the role of Popeye Doyle in the film and took him an Oscar for the film. The French Connection was different in two things. First, it did glamorize New York City as most mob films of the time did. Second, it gave audiences a hero who was certainly grey, instead of being all white.
A Bronx Tale (7.8)
A Bronx Tale is a story of love and heroic influences. 9-year-old Calogero finds his hero in the local mob mafia boss, Sonny. However, Calogero’s father, Lorenzo, played by the ever-charming Robert De Niro, wants to keep his son away from all kinds of bad influences. Lorenzo, however, soon realizes that he is fighting a battle he may never win. Though the film grossed only $17 million at the box office, it was highly praised by the critics and it also established Robert De Niro as a director to watch out for.
True Romance (7.9)
Clarence Worley falls in love with Alabama Whitman. The two steal cocaine from Whitman’s pimp and attempt to find buyers in Hollywood in an attempt to make big money. However, the mafia members come after the couple to reclaim their cocaine. Like most other Tarrantino films, True Romance does not necessarily fit into a single genre, but certain scenes make it a perfect mob classic.
The Untouchables (7.9)
The Untouchables features several talented actors, including Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Brian De Palma, Sean Connery and Ennio Morricone and depicts the fear and control that Chicago mob boss Al Capone had over the city. One of the scenes in the film in which Capone calls his turncoat associates and beats them all with a marble wall is based on real-life events.
Carlito’s Way (7.9)
Carlito Brigante, an ex-convict, pledges to stay away from the world of drug dealing after he is released from prison. However, his past connections as well as his friendship with Dave Kleinfeld, his lawyer friend who got him out of jail in the first place, suck him back into a world he had decided to quit forever. Though the Brian De Palma – Al Pacino pairing will always be best remembered for the classic Scarface, Carlito’s Way is certainly an offering from the two that one cannot afford to miss.
The Irishman (7.9)
Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran learns killing while serving in the second world war and in the 50s, is hired by Russel Bufalino, a mob boss, to work for his Pennsylvania crime family. In this film, Frank looks back at his life as a hitman as well as the role he played in the mysterious disappearance of his friend and the American labour union leader, Jimmy Hoffa. This three hour and thirty minutes long Martin Scorsese film is filled with killings and gun shootings but it leaves the effect that one expects from Martin Scorsese movies.
In Casino, Martin Scorsese reminds viewers that Las Vegas was built to serve the purposes of well-connected men and that the sin city may look glamorous from the outside but can be very cruel to people. The story follows the lives of two mobsters — Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein, who operates the Tangiers Casino, and Nicky Santoro, a made man who becomes deeply engulfed into the world of drugs and violence.
White Heat (8.1)
This list is incomplete without the mention of the 1949 Raoul Walsh classic White Heat. Cody Jarrett is a violent and crazy leader who runs his gang from jail. His ambitious henchman, in an attempt to takeover Cody’s empire, plans to have him killed in prison. However, an undercover cop saves Cody. Cody, thereafter, infiltrates Cody’s gang.
Reservoir Dogs (8.3)
Crime boss Joe Cabot hires six criminals for a diamond robbery. The criminals are given fake names in an attempt to stop them from building any concrete relations. However, everything goes wrong when on the day of the robbery, police shows up at the site of robbery and two of the robbers are shot dead. Panic ensues and everyone begins to suspect that there is an undercover cop amongst them.
Tony Montana leaves Cuba after undertaking a contract killing assignment. He arrives in Florida and starts working under Frank Lopez. Tony is protective of his sister and is in love with his boss’ mistress Elvira Hancock. After Tony proves his mettle with Colombian drug lords, he becomes a feared name. However, his mother does not approve of his work and therefore, disowns him. Tony wants it all: Frank’s empire, his mistress and his own mother’s love. However, his greed and impulsive actions become the reason for his downfall. The reason why Scarface is such an epic film is that even though it is a mob film, it is relatable in so many ways.
Once Upon a Time in America (8.4)
Once Upon a Time in America narrates the story of a group of Jewish gangsters and their life in New York. The film was the last film directed by Sergio Leone, more famous for directing films like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and For a Few Dollars More. Once Upon a Time in America not only explored the rise of the mob mafias within the American society but also explores key human emotions, such as love, greed and betrayal.
The Departed (8.5)
The South Boston State Police has decided to launch a war on organized crime in the city and chosen Billy Costigan to unravel mafia secrets by becoming a member of mafia boss Frank Costello’s army. On the other hand, Costello chooses Colin Sullivan, to infiltrate the state police department. Eventually, both the police force and the syndicate realizes that there is a mole in between and the one who finds the mole first will win the ultimate war. Both Leonardo Di Caprio and Matt Damon delivered stellar performances in the film.
The Usual Suspects (8.5)
Five criminals are wrongly caught by the New York police after a truck hijack. However, since none of the criminals was involved in the hijack, they decide to plot their vengeance against the police. Though the operation goes as planned, each of the five criminals realizes they have wronged the mastermind Keyser Söze. Kevin Spacey delivered a memorable performance as Keyser.
A young Henry Hill quits school to become a member of the Lucchese boss Paulie Cicero’s organization. While working in the organization, Henry meets Tommy DeVito. A detective busts Henry and Tommy while they are selling bootleg cigarettes and arrests Henry. Henry maintains his silence in the prison and is, therefore, welcomed by the Lucchese family upon his release. Henry and Tommy’s friendship grows as the two become deeply involved in the world of crime and climb the ranks of mafia. However, Henry soon realizes that Tommy’s climb could bring his downfall. Goodfellas is rightly considered by many as one of the greatest movies ever made.
Pulp Fiction (8.8)
Two hitmen — Vincent Vega, played by John Travolta, and Jules Winnfield, played by Samuel L. Jackson, are instructed by their mob boss Marsellus Wallace to hit the streets to find a stolen suitcase. Meanwhile, Wallace also asks Vincent to take care of his wife Mia, played by Uma Thurman, while Wallace is on a trip. Wallace hires aging boxer Butch Coolidge, played by Bruce Willis, to lose a fight. The life of each of these characters become engulfed in a true Tarrantino fashion. Though Tarrantino has made several amazing films, he will best be remembered for Pulp Fiction.
The Godfather (9.2)
When Francis Ford Coppola decided to convert Mario Puzo’s cult classic into a film, he was only 30. However, he was smart enough to know that the book had everything Francis needed to create an iconic film. The film’s genius was in that it narrated the story of a closed world, which made it impossible to despise even the most detestable characters. The audiences sympathize with Don Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, because through the length of the film he does nothing that the audiences can disagree with.
The Godfather II (9)
Movie lovers often find themselves debating whether Godfather II is a better film than the first film in the Godfather trilogy. If Godfather won three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, Godfather II won six Oscars. Over and above the three wins that Godfather had secured, Godfather II also won the Oscar for Best Original Music, Best Production Design and Best Director. So, which one is your favourite? Do you enjoy mob movies? Did you enjoy this video on 21 mob movies of all time? Have you seen them all? If yes, which one is your favourite? Is there any favourite of yours we have missed out? Please let us know through the comments section. Meanwhile, if you enjoyed this video, please like and subscribe to our channel and press the bell icon to stay updated on all our latest videos.