The 10 Best Gangster Films


Nov 11, 2001


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The Bottom Line Any gangster movie must have a story. All the movies I selected have a story. The story is either tragic, funny, clever, or horrifying, but it is a story.

This review is not in any way opinion of a professional journalist or a moviemaker; this simply, is a review of a professional moviegoer. Gangster movies are my favorite movies. I find gangster movies to be very entertaining and educational in a sense. All movies of the particular genre have a story line, which in my opinion is an essential component of any good movie. Even though, gangster films are usually somewhat predictable, events that lead to the conclusion are very real and emotional. Gangster movies are movies about real life, real people and, in most cases real consequences. A lot of gangster films are based on true stories. In this review, I will post the ten films that I feel are the best in order from the favorite one of all time.

1. Casino
The movie is based on a true story. It is about a crime syndicate that ran a casino in the seventies and the eighties in Las Vegas. The movie shows what the mob is all about and how it operates. The movie strikes the audience with reality of the events. It makes the point that nobody stays at the top forever. The movie includes a terrific cast. Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone and James Woods portray their characters flawlessly. A brilliant moviemaker Martin Scorsese, who is known for his work with DeNiro and Pesci, directs it.

2. Scarface
Scarface is a combination of events in real life and creativity of the writer put together. The story is about a Cuban immigrant with one and only ambition: to become powerful, to have the whole world to himself. Al Pacino portrays Tony Montana, a nobody who came to America and lived the American dream by becoming a drug king. Of course, at the end, he faced the inevitable for a movie character of such nature- he was killed. Directed by Brian DePalma and written by Oliver Stone.

3. Goodfellas
Another masterpiece by Martin Scorsese is a film about life in the mafia. The movie shows three decades of life in the underworld. Ray Liotta delivers an outstanding role in “Goodfellas”, not to mention DeNiro who is simply uncanny. His performance is one of the best. Also Joe Pesci plays a role that is perfect for him, the ruff and tough gangster. This is a true classic. It delivers everything you would expect plus much more.

4. Pulp Fiction
Nothing has ever been made that was anything like Pulp Fiction, a truly original movie. Tarantino, who is the writer and director of the modern day classic, created unforgettable characters and events. The combination of seriousness and ruthlessness of the crime world and dark humor give this movie its unique distinctiveness. The movie resurrected John Travolta, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role.

5. Reservoir Dogs
Once again, a film by Quentin Tarantino about a robbery that had gone south. The movie is about a group of men, some of whom are ruthless murders, others are the masterminds, others are simply bank robbers, and one of them is a cop. The movie is very violent and may strike the viewer with the realism of events. The plot of the movie is also very unique.

6. Get Shorty
This is a comic portrayal of the crime world. Based on the book by Elmore Leonard. The movie is filled with humor and action. John Travolta is in the movie; he is great at portraying a “good” mobster guy with an attitude. The film is filled with twists and smarts. I recommend the book as well.

7. Carlito’s Way
Here is a serious film about a criminal who struggles to leave his world of crime and start a new life with a woman he loves. But, as always the hero has a problem, dangerous people, who try to push him back into the darkness, surround him. Just like any crime drama, the film has violence and a very dramatic conclusion. Al Pacino stars in the movie with Sean Penn.

8. Analyze This
The movie is about a wiseguy with problems. Robert DeNiro plays a mobster on the verge of a nervous breakdown. To deal with his situation, he gets a shrink, played by Billy Crystal. A great relaxing comedy that makes the mob look funny and goofy, as well as tough and serious.

9. Bugsy
A look at the life of one the most powerful and famous gangsters of all time- Benjamin Seagal. The film demonstrates how a ruthless and charming criminal started Las Vegas. Great performances by the cast make the movie a classic with a solid story line that keeps the viewer interested until the end.

10. Once Upon A Time In America
Once again Robert DeNiro is a gangster. The story is about a group of Jewish kids growing up in the Ghetto and later becoming real gangsters. A very dramatic and emotional film that makes the audience think about how tragic it is to be a criminal.

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