Ten Great Gangster Movies

Next week, gangster game Mafia II goes on sale. You might be looking for a primer — something to get you into the mood. You might want to revisit some old favourites. Here are ten classic gangster flicks.

These are not the ten best gangster flicks, but they are ten great ones.

(Note: The list does not contain heist flicks like Rififi or Reservoir Dogs as heist movies deserve a top ten list of their own. Also, Pulp Fiction wasn't mentioned because like early Godard movies, it may have hoods or gangsters, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a gangster movie.)

The Godfather I

Interesting to note that the word "mafia" does not appear in the film.


Based on the book Wiseguy, the title was changed to GoodFellas because Brian DePalma had made a movie (a bad movie) called Wise Guys in 1986. The real Henry Hill was arrested in last December for disorderly conduct.

King Of New York Christopher Walken at his best.

Little Caesar

This picture made Edward G. Robinson a superstar. In the early 1970s, Paramount Pictures wanted Robinson to star in The Godfather, but Coppola ultimately gave the role to Marlon Brando.

Le Samourai

Jean Pierre Melville was the king of French crime films. Le Samourai shows why.

Miller's Crossing

Is the Coen brothers' best film? Perhaps.

Once Upon A Time In America

Sergio Leone's final film, Once Upon A Time In America follows Jewish-American gangsters over the course of several decades. For the original American release, the movie was butchered in the editing room. Restored versions are now available.

Scarface: The Shame of a Nation

Produced by Howard Hughes and directed by Howard Hawks, Scarface was one of the most violent films of its day. It later served the basis for the 1983 remake, starring Al Pacino.

White Heat

James Cagney, star of The Public Enemy, turns in a stellar (and bat-shit insane) performance in White Heat. "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" is one of the most famous movie lines ever.

The Untouchables

Sporting an all-star cast, The Untouchables was directed by Brian DePalma, written by David Mamet and scored by Ennio Morricone.


    i think the sopranos should get a mention too, its amazing

    I've heard Once Upon A Time in America is a great movie, but from what I remember of it, the introduction to the film is like 30 minutes long? I recall falling asleep, but I would like to watch it eventually

    American Gangster and The Departed are the best modern 'gangster films'. Half these ones mentioned are admittedly good, but not creep of the crop.

    Obviously Bashcraft is confusing antiquity with quality. The presence of the extremely pretentious Little Caesar proves it. I'd say the bulk of the best genre films have come out in the last few decades.

    In terms of Television, I think The Wire is superior to The Sopranos. It's somewhat difficult to get into, there are almost no recognisable stars, the slang is at first confronting, but it's by far the best-written, well-made, and endearing TV show I've seen since the 90s NBC slump.

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