The Screening Room Blog
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Top 10 gangster movies
Hi everyone,

We got such a great response to our Top 10 Battle Scenes list last month - thanks to everyone who wrote in!

This month, we're celebrating Robert De Niro's career, so we want to know your top 10 gangster movies. We've picked our top 10 mob-related flicks - plus the ones we'd like to see sleep with the fishes...

The Screening Room's Top 10 Gangster Films

Have a look at our list, and send us your comments, plus any you think we've missed. (There are certainly some - it was really tough to whittle the list down.)

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Nice list, but you forgot The Untouchables on your 'best' list.
Good list. Some others should be on. James Cagney's "Public Enemy" is a classic (particularly the last scene where his body is delivered to his mother's house wrapped in a rug). "Bonnie and Clyde" should also be on the list, the ambush scene was one of the best uses of slow motion photography in a gangster movie.
The 1983 "Scarface" should sleep with the fishes. The 1931 "Scarface" belongs in the top 10.

"Public Enemy" is better than "Get Carter," "Sexy Beast," and "Once Upon a Time in America." "Once Upon a Time in America" is okay, but it is not top-10 caliber. "Casino" is better. "City of God" is an excellent choice.

Gerald Churchill
Houston, TX
Whatever happened to "Public Enemy" starring James Cagney. This should be number one on the list. This film set the mold for all gangster movies.
what about polanski's "chinatown"?
What about "Little Caesar"? That is a top-10 film.
I'm amazed that you left off Gangster No.1. This is one of the great sleeper movies and definitely one of the top british gangster flicks. Two great actors (Malcolm McDowell and Paul Bettany) playing one psychopath. Add in David Thewlis and it becomes the best modern pommy gangster story. Not enjoying it's own cleverness like lock, stock or snatch, and it survives on more than the performance of one actor (Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast).

If you haven't seen Gangster No.1, go now; find it and discover something really good :)
Casino should be on 10 Top Best movies. Dick Tracy should be too, and Madonna was good there. It is cartoonish and ridiculous and that's what makes it great. Al Pacino is great as Big Boy Caprice.
I agree with anonymous about Dick Tracy - much underrated -but, whilst we are on the subject of kid's films, what about Bugsy Malone. When I was little, all I wanted was a 'splurge gun'.

Grown-ups gangster movies:

The Big Heat - really noir film noir with a fantastic early appearance from Lee Marvin

Pointblank - another great Marvin film, probably the best revenge film ever made and streets ahead of the terrible Mel Gibson remake.

Key Largo - Edward G. Robinson and Bogey, fantastic atmospheric stuff.
Hello! Untouchables, Mobsters, Billy Bathgate, Casino, Gotti, Hoffa, Donnie freakin Brasco,Gangs of New York, even Bugsy and Hoodlum should be in the top 15 at least. And what about The Departed, granted Goodfellas is Scorsese's best movie ever! I really dont think you could narrow it down to 10 it would have to be at least 20!
I Agree, "Casino" and "The Untouchables" would definitely be on my top list.

One movie I didn't see in the Top 10 that I think is worthy is "Layer Cake". This expression of the modern, and sometimes radical, gangster world sets the pace, making it my generation's adaptation of gangster movie classics like "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas".
Steve Martin in "My Blue Heaven"
Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick "The Freshman"
Nice list...but you omitted one of my all time favorites, Donnie Brasco. And why are people mentioning Dick Tracy???
THREE OTHER GOOD GANGSTER MOVIES WOULD BE AMERICAN ME, BLOOD IN BLOOD OUT, AND MY CRAZY LIFE
I think Casino and A Brox Tale should be in the top 10.
Perhaps not so much of a gangster film, I think "The Usual Suspects" is an excellent crime movie. I think "Things To Do In Denver When Your Dead" is truly abysmal.
Godfather 3 was far better than godfather 2 from all points of view.
This was a bit of a sleeper, but it should definitely be on this list: Road To Perdition. Paul Newman was amazing in the movie.
I agree with some of you. Untouchables, Donnie Brasco, Casino, and A Bronx Tale were all excellent films. Usual Suspects is also well done, but it's about thieves, not gangsters.
However, for gangster comedy (not mentioned in the top 10), I would like to nominate the following:
* Get Shorty - Travolta is excellent, and when Dennis Farina beats the crap out of Gene Hackman with a phone, you can't help yourself but to laugh.
* My Blue Heaven - Steve Martin, Rick Moranis and Joan Cusack. Funny, lighthearted film about a gangster trying to make it as an anonymous nobody in suburbia. Everyone does the merengue!
And my personal favorite....
Honeymoon in Vegas! While James Caan is not technically a gangster, he's still the "connected" bad guy who tries to woo Sarah Jessica Parker away from Nicholas Cage after he loses a chunk of change to Caan in a card game. Poor guy then embarks on a 48 hour journey from hell to get her back. The scene with the electric zoot suited skydiving Flying Elvises alone is worth the price of a rental. Exceptional soundtrack too!
I don't have any problems with the movies on this list but it needs to be expanded or an honorable mention section needs to be added for Casino, Donnie Brascoe, Resevoir Dogs and Layer Cake. Gangs of New York should have been great but it was an overproduced turd.
"Once Upon a Time in America" is so ponderous and slow I can't believe it made the list! A phone ringing for what seems like forever, come on, stop it now!

"Mean Streets" certainly should be on the list. I don't know if it qualifies as a gangster film, but Peckinpah's "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" is great too. Also "The Krays" and "The Long Good Friday". "A Bronx Tale" was real good as well.
I think that The Departed ranks up there near the top. New but excellent.
I can't beleive "A Bronx Tale" is not even mentioned in the best gangster movies! Also, not mentioned in the worst is the movie "Mafia", which spoofs all the gangster movies, and although it may be in the worst of the genre, it is hard NOT to laugh at this film. I attemted to watch this film a day after open heart surgery, and had to turn it off, because the laughter was EXRTREMELY painfull.
Although not considered a gangster movie, you cannot omit Tarantino's early writing of "True Romance". The scene with Christopher Walken trying to get information from Dennis Hopper is CLASSIC! Almost outdone by James Gandolfini interogating Patricia Arquette. This movie belongs in the top ten.
Mona Lisa, starring Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson, and Michael Caine should be in any Top Ten Gangster Movie list.

The Long Good Friday, another Bob Hoskins film, is close behind.
How could a person ever think Godfather 3 was better than 2? How did that get published? Yes I'm talking to you Harry Truman, your banned from this topic. Anyway, here's the top ten.

1. Godfather/Godfather 2
2. Scarface
3. Goodfellas
4. City Of God
5. Casino
6. The Untouchables
7. Mean Streets
8. Once upon a time in America
9. A Bronx Tale
10. Johnny Dangerously
What about "Made" with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. Not one of the best ganster movies but definitely one of the funniest
When they ask for gangster movies are they talkin bout Italian mafia or any gangster movie??? Heres a list with all genres of gangster......

1.Godfather series
2.Goodfellas
3.Scarface(Pacino)
4.Carlitos Way
5.Casino
6.Heat
7.Snatch
8.Colors
9.Donnie Brasco
10.Oldboy (Japanese)
11.Black Rain
12.Kill Bill series
State of Grace with Penn,Harris, and Oldman........
I definitely agree. The Untouchable and Bonnie and Clyde belong there.

Otherwise, great list. I like that City of God was included.
Some international choices:
Hong Kong:
The Killer, A Better Tomorrow (John Woo)
Election 2 (Johnny To)

England:
Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrels
Snatch (Guy Ritchie)

Germany:
Short Sharp Shock (Akin)


Japan:
Hana-Bi (Kitano)

France:
The Godson (Melville), Breathless (Godard)

And by the way: Oldboy is not a gangster movie and it is Korean and not Chinese
Being a gangster movie fan, i think everyone is forgetting one of the greatest gangster movies in recent years. EASTERN PROMISE!!! Viggo Mortensen was amazing in the film. Should be up there along with Godfather and Co.
This is my list:

01 Once Upon A Time In America
02 The Godfather 1 & 2
03 Goodfellas
04 Pulp Fiction
05 The Untouchables
06 Chinatown
07 Carlito's Way
08 Mean Streets
09 State Of Grace
10 A Bronx Tale


11 Heat
12 Casino
13 Scarface (De Palma)

I've seen very good lists here. But I think many of you are missing my No. 1.
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