100 Best Gangster Movies: ‘Godfather’ To ‘The Killing’

Gangster movies

The onset of the Great Depression era in the late 1920s America somewhere led to the origination of gangster movies sub-genre. Although D.W. Griffith and Raoul Walsh dealt with mobster characters in the silent era, the sub-genre gained prominence with the talkies.

The gunfires, police sirens, squealing tires, quick-witted dialogues brought a fulness to the gangster cinema. The megalomaniacal hero’s craving for an underworld empire became a symbol of darker side of the ‘American Dream’.

The advent of ‘Film Noir’ (first used by French critics), infused a poetic tone to gangster movies alongside its showcase of decadence and cynicism. Then came the game-changers like Francis Ford Coppola, Scorsese, Brian de Palma, etc.

Elsewhere, the gritty Eurocrime films of 1950s & 60s and flashy Hong Kong action classics of 1980s fascinatingly broadened the confines of on-screen ganglands.

People may not condone the immoral protagonist’s behavior. But there’s a certain appeal in gangster cinema, providing us adrenaline rush and serving the warning note, ‘crime never pays’.

Here’s an exhaustive compilation of movies to enrich your gangster-film grammar (in alphabetical order):

1. A Better Tomorrow (1986)

2. A Bittersweet Life (2005)

3. A Bronx Tale (1993)

4. A History of Violence (2005)

5. A Prophet (2009)

6. American Gangster (2007)

7. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

8. Aaranya Kaandam (‘Jungle Chapter’ 2010).

9. Atlantic City (1980)

10. Bob le flambeur (‘Bob the Gambler’, 1956)

11. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

12. Branded to Kill (1967)

13. Brighton Rock (1948)

14. Brother 1 & 2 (1997, 2000)

15. Bugsy (1991)

16. Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

17. Carlito’s Way (1993)

18. Casino (1995)

19. Charley Varrick (1973)

20. City of God (2002)

21. Classe Tous Risques (‘The Big Risk’, 1960)

22. Company (2002)

23. Donnie Brasco (1997)

24. Drive (2011)

25. Drunken Angel (1948)

 

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26. Eastern Promises (2007)

27. El Mariachi (1992)

28. Election duology (2005, 2006)

29. Exiled (2006)

30. Gangs of New York (2002)

31. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

32. Get Carter (1971)

33. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1998)

34. Gloria (1980)

35. Gomorrah (2008)

36. Goodfellas (1990)

37. Hana-bi (‘Fireworks’, 1997)

38. Hard Boiled (1992)

39. Heat (1995)

40. High Sierra (1941)

41. Il camorrista (‘The Professor’, 1986)

42. In Bruges (2007)

43. Infernal Affairs (2002)

44. Jackie Brown (1997)

45. Key Largo (1948)

46. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

47. Layer Cake (2004)

48. Le Cercle Rouge (‘The Red Circle’, 1970)

49. Le Samourai (1967)

50. Leon: The Professional (1994)

 

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51. Little Caesar (1931)

52. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

53. Mafioso (1962)

54. Mean Streets (1973)

55. Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (2008)

56. Miller’s Crossing (1990)

57. Mona Lisa (1986)

58. Nayakan (1987)

 

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59. On the Waterfront (1954)

60. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

 

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61. Only God Forgives (2013)

62. Pepe le Moko (1937)

63. Pudhupettai (2006)

64. Pulp Fiction (1994)

65. Pusher Trilogy (1995, 2004, 2005)

66. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

67. Rififi (1955)

68. Road to Perdition (2002)

69. Salvatore Giuliano (1962)

70. Satya (1998)

71. Scarface (1932)

72. Scarface (1983)

73. Sexy Beast (2000)

74. Snatch (2000)

75. Sonatine (1993)

76. Subramaniapuram (2008)

77. The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

78. The Beat that My Heart Skipped (2005)

79. The Big Heat (1953)

80. The Departed (2006)

81. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

82. The Godfather Trilogy (1972-1990)

83. The Hit (1984)

84. The Killer (1989)

85. The Killing (1956)

86. The Long Good Friday (1980)

87. The Petrified Forest (1936)

88. The Public Enemy (1931)

89. The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)

90. The Roaring Twenties (1939)

91. The Sicilian Clan (1969)

92. The Untouchables (1987)

93. The Usual Suspects (1995)

94. The Yellow Sea (2010)

95. Thief (1981)

96. Things Change (1988)

97. Tokyo Drifter (1966)

98. Touchez pas au grisbi (‘Hands off the Loot’, 1954)

99. True Romance (1993)

100. White Heat (1949)

 

Conclusion

How many have you ticked off your list? Which are your favourites? What did we miss? Tell me all in the comments below.

 

By Arun Kumar

 

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