Top 5 Gangster Movies You Need to See

Gangster movies have been around almost as long as the medium itself, and they’ve never really gone out of style. From The Great Train Robbery to Goodfellas, these are all still beloved by movie-lovers today. Take a look at this list of the top 5 gangster movies you need to see, and hopefully you'll find something new to watch on your next movie night!

1) Goodfellas

If you haven’t seen Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster epic Goodfellas, where have you been? Released in December of that year, it won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Joe Pesci) and was nominated for three others: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Wise guys Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro), Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) are about as close to real-life people as you can get without actually breaking into a museum or robbing a bank. With its incredible performances, whip-smart dialogue and kinetic camera work from Scorsese, Goodfellas is one of those rare films that actually deserves all of its praise.

2) Casino

Released in 1995, Casino is a crime film based on real events that took place at a casino in Las Vegas. Robert De Niro plays Sam Ace Rothstein, who makes money through fixing sports games and gambling. His luck takes a turn for the worse when he runs into Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), his friend from growing up, whose violent ways land him in trouble with gangsters. Featuring an all-star cast that includes Sharon Stone and James Woods, Casino was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won two for Best Sound Editing and Best Supporting Actor (for Joe Pesci). Director Martin Scorsese has said it’s his favorite of all his films.

3) The Departed

The Departed, released in 2006 and directed by Martin Scorsese, was one of those rare films that not only appealed to a wide audience, but also won over critics. Featuring outstanding performances from Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed is a gritty crime thriller that keeps you on your toes with its non-stop action. The film had a budget of $90 million and took in more than $289 million worldwide. It received four Academy Awards and several nominations. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush on screen, look no further than The Departed! Here are five things you should know about one of Hollywood’s best gangster movies

4) Donnie Brasco

This 1997 film, directed by Mike Newell, tells a story of an undercover FBI agent (Johnny Depp) who infiltrates and becomes part of a mafia family. The movie is based on a real undercover operation that lasted for years and which still continues today. A great film with many top-notch performances including Al Pacino and Michael Madsen, but it’s Johnny Depp’s ability to change his body language and speech patterns that really makes it special. If you’re at all interested in gangsters or crime movies then make sure you see Donnie Brasco.

5) Scarface

Why is Scarface not only one of my favorite gangster movies but also one of my favorite movies in general? Maybe it’s because Al Pacino gives a performance for the ages. Maybe it’s because you can still somehow relate to Tony Montana even though he’s a self-absorbed, murderous drug dealer. Maybe it’s both. Whatever your reasons may be, it will keep you on edge and entertained from start to finish. If you haven't seen Scarface yet, you need to see it as soon as possible! This movie has everything from great dialogue and fantastic acting, directing and music!


When it comes to movies, there are few genres that seem as timeless as gangster films. When you think of quintessential American cinema, it's almost impossible not to conjure up an image of a cold-blooded crime boss—often portrayed by Hollywood's greatest actors—squaring off against his enemies with bullets and (sometimes) witty one-liners flying through smoke-filled rooms. And while no movie can ever hope to live up to The Godfather, we'll always be willing to get our fix for tough guys and Mafioso action movies every once in a while. Here are five cinematic tales that are musts for any aficionado.

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