Top 3 Gangster movies of all time

3. The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather • Trailer
Saying something against The Godfather is like complaining about winning a million-dollar lottery — nobody wants to hear it. Francis Ford Coppola’s undeniable masterpiece is an adaption of Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name. Marlon Brando gives his all-time great performance as Don Vito Corleone, the patriarch of the Corleone crime family.

This is the most iconic gangster film ever made. Every cinema fan knows the image of Don Vito holding the cat, the horse in the bed, or Michael shutting the door on his former life. And for good reason, these are some of the most expressive and emotional moments in film history. Puzo and Coppola’s brilliant screenplay is like a cherry on top and if there’s any argument against The Godfather, it’s that its story wasn’t fully told in the first film.

Accolades: Academy Awards — 7 Nominations (Best Editing, Sound, Costume Design, Director; Supporting Actor (Pacino, Caan, Duvall), and 3 Wins (Best Lead Actor, Adapted Screenplay, and Picture).
Tomatometer: 98%
2. Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas • Trailer
Goodfellas is a film that I’ve watched nearly a dozen times and have found a new way to appreciate it every time. Martin Scorsese directed the film based on an adaption of the novel Wiseguy by Nicholas Pillegi.

The film begins with Liotta as the narrator saying “as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” From there, the film takes you on a tour of the Brooklyn Italian crime world, and halfway through it, you’ll probably want to be a gangster too.

There’s sex, drugs, and vice galore — and the wiseguys on-screen seem like they’re having the time of their life. But by the end of the film, Scorsese does away with the glamorized view of gangsters and cripples his protagonist to the one thing every gangster hates — a rat.

Accolades: Academy Awards — 5 Nominations (Best Film Editing, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Director, Picture) and 1 Win (Best Supporting Actor).
Tomatometer: 96%
1. The Godfather Part II (1974)

The Godfather Part II • Trailer
No shot in film history has sobered me more than that of Pacino’s Michael Corleone, fist over the face, pondering the choices that have led him to this moment.

The camera zooms towards him, and all we hear is silence. Michael’s eyes gaze into oblivion. Then, the unforgettable music swells and the tragedy of both Godfather films wash over you like a monsoon. Perhaps no character demonstrates the phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely” more than Michael Corleone.

Over the course of two films, we see how his gangster ascent correlates directly to his moral descent. Both films are masterclasses, but it’s The Godfather Part II that takes the top spot on this list, for its flawless execution of gangster film themes.

But in case you’re thinking this list is only Italian Mafia, you’re dead wrong. Sure, the word Mafia is Italian and ➜


Tags: A Prophet, American Gangster, Angels With Dirty Faces, Best Movies, Boyz in the Hood, Brian De Palma, City of God, Coen Brothers, David Cronenberg, Donnie Brasco, Eastern Promises, Escape from New York, Francis Ford Coppola, Gomorrah, Good Time, Goodfellas, Guy Ritchie, Infernal Affairs, Jacques Audiard, John Singleton, Killing Them Softly, King of New York, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Logan Lucky, Mafioso, Martin Scorsese, Mean Streets, Menace II Society, Miami Vice, Miller’s Crossing, Once Upon a Time in America, Orson Welles, Rafifi, Reservoir Dogs, Ridley Scott, Scarface, Schindler’s List, Sergio Leone, Snatch, Stanley Kubrick, The Departed, The French Connection, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The General, The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, The Harder They Come, The Hughes Brothers, The Killing, The Long Good Friday, The Public Enemy, The Untouchables, The Usual Suspects, Touch of Evil
Chris Heckmann
Chris Heckmann graduated from Emmanuel College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing, Editing, and Publishing. He now lives in Los Angeles where he writes about sports, film, and television.


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