- Published Date
- by Frank Wilkins
From the Corleones to Tony Montana and the Sopranos, mafia families and mob-tied gangsters have been depicted in the movies for almost as long as movies have been around themselves. 1931's Little Caesar with Edward G. Robinson as Rico, is widely regarded as the birth-giver to the mob/mafia genre which sparked a brief craze for the genre in the 1930's. Ever since, movie lovers have been reveling in the delight of watching heroes and villains battle it out in a mythic playground of good vs. evil.
Below is our list of the best mob/mafia and organized crime movies in no particular order. If you don't find your favorite mafia movie on the list, let us know about it in the comments section following the article.
The Godfather (1972) - Not only is it the best Mob movie of all time, it's one of the best movies period.
Goodfellas (1990) - Martin Scorcese at his best. Lost the Best Picture Oscar to Dances With Wolves. A winner in any other year.
The Godfather Part II (1974) - The only sequel to win a best picture Oscar. Yes, it's that good.
Donnie Brasco (1997) - Stars Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. Enough said!
Scarface (1983) - Brian DePalma's best film. By the way, Al Pacino would like you to meet his little friend.
A History of Violence (2005) - A graphic illustration of what might have happened had Charles Manson visited Mayberry- only darker! William Hurt is phenomenal here.
The Departed (2006) - The question of whether a definitive list of Scorsese pictures will include The Departed has been answered. It's brilliant!
On the Waterfront (1954) - One of the best films of all time. Brando displays one of the best acting performances ever to be captured on film.
Reservoir Dogs (1992) - Quentin Tarantino's best film? Mr. Pink thinks so.
Casino (1995) - Another Scorcese Mob film. Not as good as Goodfellas, but still pretty damn good!
A Bronx Tale (1993) - DeNiro's directorial debut. And a fine debut it is. And he stars in the film too.
The Untouchables (1987) - Elliot Ness cleans up the Chicago underworld. Directed by Brian de Palma, written by David Mamet, starring Kevin Costner. How's that for firepower?
The Dark Knight (2008) - Heath Ledger's performance aside, it's just a great movie. Not really as much a superhero tale as it is a brilliant crime drama that happens to feature a superhero.
Carlito's Way (1993) - De Palma and Pacino sure know their way around a gangster flick!
Pulp Fiction (1994) - Tarantino's sophomore effort. No sophomore slump here! Style and verve that have been copied ever since.
Heat (1995) - The first time De Niro and Pacino acted together. Chemistry, chemistry, chemistry.
Jackie Brown (1997) - Another Tarantino classic. Hip, stylish and pure Tarantino!
Boondock Saints (1999) - Little known, but a huge cult classic.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - Not a Mafia movie, but a gangster flick nonetheless. One of the most controversial films of the 1960s. And there was a lot of controversy in the 60s! Towards the top of many "best films of all times" lists.
Miller's Crossing (1990) - Lust, vengeance, and Ireland! All the things that make a good Mob movie!
Analyze This (1998) - A change of pace for a gangster pic, but worth the look anyway. Good to see De Niro do levity.
The Sopranos (2000- 2007) - Sure, it's not a movie, but it's the best show on TV, so it deserves a mention here. Will unfortunately typecast Gandolfini to the point of unrecoverability.
Road to Perdition (2002) - A Sam Mendes masterpiece. It's a cold, brooding noir piece with violence, intrigue, style and of course the father son dynamic.
Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) - A James Cagney, Hunphrey Bogart classic. Because of the controversy over gangster films at the time, the film was banned outright in Denmark, China, Poland, Finland, and parts of Canada and Switzerland.
Animal Kingdom (2010) - A multi-layered Australian crime story that takes its sweet time roiling to a frothy, violent head. Its deliberate pacing is more potential energy than kinetic, and reminds us of a Polanski slow burn.
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