Top 10: Best Gangster Movies of All Time

LeTune July 10, 2009 6

Gangster films have been a main stay of the movie production business and one of those genres that has always appealed to a massive audience because of its seemingly voyeuristic interpretation of the criminal underworld. Here are our top 10 gangster movies, worth watching and even to live by.

We’ve put together a list of the best gangster movies, we have watched and loved. (So for all those keen to shank us for leaving out celluloid classics, such as James Cagney’s White Heat, Le Conzequenza Della Amore or Infernal Affairs, put your keyboard down and take a chill pill.)

1. Goodfellas (1990)

Godfellas_HD01“As far back as I remember I always wanted to be a gangster.” Martin Scorsese’s cinematic masterpiece spanning over five decades is as good as it gets.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Nicholas Pileggi

2. The Godfather (& The Godfather Part II) (1972,1974)

godfatherA film that doesn’t need any introduction. No other movie has defined and revolutionised a whole film genre in the same way. When it comes to gangster movies, you can definitely talk about a before and after the Godfather.

The film ‘made’ Coppola and Pacino and Brando, who shouldn’t even have been in it, have never been better. There are also several real life mobsters appearing in the supporting roles. Nino Rota’s extraordinary music is often played on mob weddings and it’s hard to say who has influenced the other most the movie or the mobsters.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writer: Mario Puzo

3. Pulp Fiction (1994)

pulpA film that broke new ground in so many ways. The music, the dialog, the characters, the plot and the has-beens in leading roles created the best movie of the nineties all categories. Unfortunately no other gangster movie has influenced so many terrible follow-ups.

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Roger Avary, Quentin Tarantino

4. Once upon a time in America (1984)

outiaSpaghetti western director Sergio Leone proved that hard boiled westerns wasn’t all he was good at. This dreamy 229 minute gangster epos portrays life on the streets of New York from the early 1900:s up to 1968. As all good stories it all starts and ends in an opium den in China Town.

Director: Sergio Leone
Writer: Harry Grey, Leonardo Benvenuti

5. Scarface (1983)

scarface-7032“Say hello to my little friend.” Cuban refugee Tony Montana has inspired the masses across the globe ever since the movie premiered in 1983. The favourite movie of every rapper and wannabe gangster with any kind of self esteem.

Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: Oliver Stone

6. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

reservoir-dogs1Quentin Tarantino’s master piece about a robbery gone wrong should probably be even higher on the list. This claustrophobic movie hasn’t aged on single bit since it was released and parts of the dialog is even better than in Pulp Fiction. How can men in dark suits walking in slow-motion look so damn good?

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino

7. Donnie Brasco (1997)

donnie_brasco_frontA true story about an FBI agent infiltrating the mob. It’s hard to say who’s the most memorable; Jonny Depp as the troubled Donnie Brasco or Al Pacino as small time mobster Lefty Ruggiero. To see the two masters at work in the same movie is a dream coming true.

Director: Mike Newell
Writer: Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley

8. The Usual Suspects (1994)

The Usual Suspects - SoundtrackFive small time hustlers in a police line up, 27 bodies and $91 million worth of drug money, but who is this Keyser Söze? Maybe the smartest movie plot ever.

Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie

9. Casino (1995)

casino1The rise and fall of casino operator Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein. Nobody has a better sense of detail and can capture a historic time period better than Martin Scorsese. He gives Las Vegas the portrayal it deserves. And once again we get to see Joe Pesci as the wonderfully psychopathic mobster he does best.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Nicholas Pileggi

10. Training Day (2001)


The crooked LAPD detective Alonzo Harris is Denzel Washington’s best performance to this date. The long arm of the law has never looked better and more devious.

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: David Ayer

Movies that almost, but didn’t quite make the list:

  • Blood in, blood out
  • Miller’s Crossing
  • The Untouchables
  • Mean Streets
  • Snatch
  • Carlito’s Way
  • Little Caesar
  • Public Enemy


  1. Sal DiPietro October 9, 2010 at 8:51 am -

    The Godfather made Brando? He had already WON best actor 20 years earlier nice fact checking you gabones.

  2. matt October 12, 2011 at 8:20 pm -

    Bronx Tale. Its at the top. hands down, so many qoutes. Everything they say you can reference it for advice or to laugh. its just Classic.

  3. kushy October 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm -

    where the FUCK is Shottas u STUPID CUNT

  4. MackJack September 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm -

    Once upon a time in America is very Gangster.
    Little Caesar is very Gangster.

    The Godfather = Mafia, not 100% Gangster.
    Pulp Fiction = Thriller, Dude! > Remove

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