Mafia movies | PINKVILLA

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Mafia movies | PINKVILLA

Mafia movies have always been a captivating genre, whether they’re centered around a serial killer or a seasoned criminal. These classic mobster films have been a part of cinema since its inception, offering thrilling tales of villains’ rise and fall. From crime dramas to action and even comedy, these movies often feature outstanding performances from committed actors. 

The best mob movies tend to focus on one individual or crime family, chronicling the events that lead to their ultimate downfall. Our definitive list of the greatest gangster movies takes you on a riveting journey through the world of organized crime. So, let’s dive into these films where, against all odds, crime seems to pay off.

 

1. The Godfather (1972)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writer: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Run time: 2h 55m
  • Year of release: 1972
  • OTT Platform: Netflix
  • IMDb rating: 9.2/10

Considered one of the greatest mafia movies ever made, The Godfather sets the bar for others in the genre. It follows the story of the Corleone family, led by Don Vito (Marlon Brando). Don Vito plans to pass his criminal empire to his son Michael (Al Pacino), but they face threats from rival gangs and the police, putting the entire family in jeopardy.

Countless mobster movies and TV shows have drawn inspiration from The Godfather. Whether it’s the memorable dialogue, impressive cinematography, or the focus on “family business,” this film has left a lasting impact. It is widely regarded as a must-watch for anyone even remotely interested in crime stories.

 

2. The Godfather Part II (1974)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo.
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writer: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Run time: 3h 22m
  • Year of release: 1974
  • OTT Platform: Netflix
  • IMDb rating: 9/10

After the massive success of the first Godfather movie, a sequel was quickly made. The Godfather Part II serves as both a sequel and a prequel, continuing Michael’s story as he becomes the new Don of the Corleone Family. Flashbacks reveal how his father, Vito, rose to power as an orphaned refugee in America.

The Godfather: Part II does the impossible by creating a worthy follow-up to one of the greatest movies of all time. Some even say it surpasses the original, thanks to unforgettable performances from Pacino and De Niro.

 

3. GoodFellas (1990)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Writer: Nicholas Pileggi
  • Run time: 2h 26m
  • Year of release: 1990
  • OTT Platform: Amazon Prime
  • IMDb rating: 8.7/10

Martin Scorsese is widely regarded as the most influential director in the mobster genre, and his greatest accomplishment within this field is undoubtedly the film GoodFellas. The story revolves around Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta), a young criminal who aspires to become a gangster. However, once he enters the world of organized crime, he soon discovers the inherent dangers it entails.

GoodFellas features outstanding performances from Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci, all of whom have frequently collaborated with Scorsese. Their portrayals in the movie are considered to be among the best of their careers. Regarded as one of the finest gangster films ever made, GoodFellas has had a profound influence on subsequent works such as The Sopranos and Grand Theft Auto.

 

 

4. The Departed (2006)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio,  Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Writer: Martin Scorsese
  • Run time: 2h 31m
  • Year of release: 2006
  • OTT Platform: Amazon Prime
  • IMDb rating: 8.5/10

“The Departed,” directed by Martin Scorsese, finally earned him the long-awaited Oscar. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Billy Costigan, a state trooper who goes undercover to infiltrate the Irish mob, the movie is filled with deception. Unbeknownst to the police, the crime family has their own mole named Staff Sergeant Colin Sullivan, played by Matt Damon. This gripping film is actually a remake of the Hong Kong movie “Internal Affairs” and is widely regarded as one of the best American adaptations of a foreign film.

 

5. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams, Tuesday Weld, Burt Young, Joe Pesci, Danny Aiello.
  • Director: Sergio Leone
  • Writer: Sergio Leone
  • Run time: 3h 49m
  • Year of release: 1984
  • OTT Platform: Amazon Prime
  • IMDb rating: 8.3/10

Once Upon a Time in America is an unforgettable crime epic that revolves around Noodles, portrayed by Robert De Niro, a Jewish gangster in New York City during the Prohibition era. The movie, directed by the legendary Sergio Leone, tells Noodles’ story in a non-chronological order, showcasing his journey from a street punk to a seasoned criminal. It also delves into his complex relationships with close friends and lovers.

Sergio Leone, renowned for his Spaghetti Westerns, demonstrates his mastery of filmmaking in Once Upon a Time in America, which stands out as his final work before his passing. This exceptional crime film is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time.

 

6. Casino (1995)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Don Rickles
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Writer: Martin Scorsese
  • Run time: 2h 58m
  • Year of release: 1995
  • OTT Platform: Apple Tv
  • IMDb rating: 8.2/10

Casino, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, the story revolves around the mob’s involvement in gambling. Ace (De Niro), a mafia associate, is put in charge of managing their Las Vegas casinos, which leads to a massive increase in profits. However, this success attracts dangerous threats that could remove Ace from his position.

Casino shares similar themes with GoodFellas, but it stands out by focusing more on the mob’s money-making schemes rather than their rise in the mafia hierarchy.

 

7. American Gangster (2007)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin, Lymari Nadal, Ted Levine, Roger Guenveur Smith, John Hawkes.
  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Writer: Steven Zaillian
  • Run time: 2h 37m
  • Year of release: 2007
  • OTT Platform: Amazon Prime
  • IMDb rating: 7.8/10

American Gangster is a film that tells the story of Frank Lucas, a real-life criminal. It follows Lucas’ journey from being a right-hand man to becoming a mob boss. As he becomes a ruthless drug lord, he is pursued by Richie Roberts, a detective leading a task force targeting drug suppliers.

What makes American Gangster unique is that it’s based on a true story, although the film itself takes some fictional liberties. The movie features two incredible actors, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, who both command the screen and create equally captivating performances.

 

8. ‘The Irishman’ (2019)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Writer: Steven Zaillian
  • Run time: 3h 29m
  • Year of release: 2019
  • OTT Platform: Netflix
  • IMDb rating: 7.8/10

“The Irishman” is a 1950s-based film following Frank Sheeran, a truck driver turned mob hitman. It’s a passion project by Martin Scorsese, one of the most-watched Netflix movies ever. The movie focuses on Frank’s rise in the criminal world and his relationships with other criminals, especially union boss Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino.

Directed by Scorsese, the film reunites him with De Niro and Joe Pesci, delivering terrific performances. Pacino also shines, adding another highlight to his legendary career. The Irishman pays homage to classic mobster movies, showcasing the talent of its cast and director.

 

9. The Untouchables (1987)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy García, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery.
  • Director: Brian De Palma
  • Writer: David Mamet
  • Run time: 1h 59m
  • Year of release: 1987
  • OTT Platform: Amazon Prime
  • IMDb rating: 7.8/10

Al Capone, a notorious gangster, is the target in The Untouchables, a fictional movie about a team of police officers determined to bring him to justice. Leading the task force is Eliot Ness, played by Kevin Costner. He’s joined by the experienced Jim Malone, portrayed by Sean Connery, and the rookie George Stone, played by Andy Garcia.

The Untouchables is a unique gangster film that focuses on the police’s efforts to take down the city’s big bad. The talented cast delivers exceptional performances, with Sean Connery’s character, Malone, standing out as one of the best in the genre.

 

10. A Bronx Tale (1993)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato, Francis Capra, Taral Hicks, Kathrine Narducci, Clem Caserta, Alfred Sauchelli Jr.
  • Director: Robert De Niro
  • Writer: Chazz Palminteri
  • Run time: 2h 1m
  • Year of release: 1993
  • OTT Platform: Amazon Prime
  • IMDb rating: 7.8/10

A Bronx Tale centers around young Calogero, following his life from childhood to his teenage years. He finds a mentor in local crime boss Sonny, despite his father Lorenzo’s protests. As Calogero gets closer to Sonny, his life becomes more dangerous.

The movie delivers a heartfelt mob story, focusing on Calogero’s relationships with his two father figures. It’s notable for showing a different side of De Niro, who plays a hard-working bus driver rather than his usual mafia roles. This film also marks his directorial debut.

 

11. Donnie Brasco (1997)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, Anne Heche, Zeljko Ivanek, Gerry Becker.
  • Director: Mike Newell
  • Writer: Mike Newell
  • Run time: 2h 7m
  • Year of release: 1997
  • OTT Platform: Amazon Prime
  • IMDb rating: 7.8/10

Johnny Depp stars as Joe Pistone, an FBI agent who goes undercover as Donnie Brasco. His mission: infiltrate a powerful crime family. Along the way, he forms a deep bond with hitman Lefty Ruggiero, played by Al Pacino. Pistone finds himself torn between his duty and his loyalty to Lefty, leading to an intense internal struggle.

The movie’s success stems from the outstanding performances of Depp and Pacino. Their on-screen friendship feels authentic, and they deliver some of their finest work in Donnie Brasco. The film is a skillfully crafted take on classic mafia stories, with a tightly woven plot and nuanced characters.

 

12. Road to Perdition (2002)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Tyler Hoechlin, Rob Maxey, Liam Aiken, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig, Ciarán Hinds.
  • Director: Sam Mendes
  • Writer: David Self
  • Run time: 1h 57m
  • Year of release: 2002
  • OTT Platform: Hotstar
  • IMDb rating: 7.7/10

In the movie “Road to Perdition,” mob enforcer Michael Sullivan (played by Tom Hanks) goes on the run with his surviving son after their family is murdered. He seeks revenge against those responsible while also trying to protect his son from a violent life. The film, based on a graphic novel, tells its story not only through dialogue but also through stunning cinematography that brings the environment to life. Hanks delivers a darker and more intense performance, showcasing a different side from his usual wholesome image.

 

13. Eastern Promises (2007)

  • Genre: Thriller/Crime
  • Star Cast: Josef Altin, Mina E. Mina, Aleksandar Mikic, Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse, Lalita Ahmed, Badi Uzzaman, Naomi Watts, Doña Croll.
  • Director: David Cronenberg
  • Writer: Steven Knight
  • Run time: 1h 40m
  • Year of release: 2007
  • OTT Platform: Hotstar
  • IMDb rating: 7.6/10

Eastern Promises is a stylistic departure for director David Cronenberg, swapping body horror for Russian mobsters. The movie centers around Anna, a midwife who stumbles upon evidence of the Russian mafia’s abuse while caring for a deceased patient. Viggo Mortensen delivers a standout performance as Nikolai, a mob enforcer who garnered an Oscar nomination.

Although Eastern Promises isn’t a horror film, it remains incredibly chilling. The brutal and dangerous world of gangsters depicted in the movie is more terrifying than anything found in Cronenberg’s previous works.

 

14. The Long Good Friday (1980)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Paul Freeman, Leo Dolan, Kevin McNally, Patti Love, P.H. Moriarty, Derek Thompson, Bryan Marshall, Bob Hoskins.
  • Director: John Mackenzie
  • Writer: Barrie Keeffe
  • Run time: 1h 54m
  • Year of release: 1980
  • OTT Platform: Hotstar
  • IMDb rating: 7.6/10

In the late 1970s, The Long Good Friday features Bob Hoskins as Harold Shand, a tough gangster aiming to go legit. But his plans to strike a deal with American visitors are foiled by bombings on his properties. Convinced there’s a traitor in his organization, Shand plots to eliminate them. Hoskins delivers an electrifying performance as the cockney Shand, setting the standard for future British gangster portrayals. Helen Mirren shines as Victoria, Shand’s devoted girlfriend and their performances make this film one of the greatest in British cinema.

 

15. Sexy Beast (2000)

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Star Cast: Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Amanda Redman, James Fox, Cavan Kendall, Julianne White, Álvaro Monje.
  • Director: Jonathan Glazer
  • Writer: NA
  • Run time: 1h 29m
  • Year of release: 2000
  • OTT Platform: NA
  • IMDb rating: 7.3/10

“Sexy Beast” is a fantastic British gangster film featuring Gal, an ex-gangster living peacefully in Spain with his wife. Their tranquility is disrupted by Don, a former associate of Gal’s who is determined to involve him in a bank heist, regardless of his refusal. The movie stands out from traditional American mafia stories and is elevated by Ben Kingsley’s chilling portrayal of the violent Don, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Also read: The Best Crime movies: What to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more

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