Top 15 Gangster Movies (Ranked)

By Justin Justus Oct 2, 2021

A quick and dirty list of the best gangster movies of all time.

The Godfather (1972)

1

The Godfather is arguably the best mobster movie of all time, and on most short lists of the top movies ever made. It follows a mafia family and sees them turn from small-time gangsters to powerful and ruthless tycoons.

The Godfather: Part II (1974)

2

The Godfather part II is now recognized as one of the best sequels ever made. It starts out right after the end of part I, with Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) taking over his father’s business.

Goodfellas (1990)

3

Legendary crime director Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta. The film shines a spotlight on Henry Hill, a half Irish and half-Italian son of an abusive and alcoholic father who grows up in Brooklyn in the 1950s.

Boyz N the Hood (1991)

4

Boyz N The Hood offers viewers an honest portrayal of the struggles that black youth face living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. It’s a story of drugs, gangs, violence, broken families, absent fathers, and corrupt institutions.

The Departed (2006)

5

The Departed is an American crime drama directed by Martin Scorsese. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. The film takes place in Boston, where it pits two “rats” against each other.

American Gangster (2007)

6

American Gangster is one of those classic crime movies based on true stories, focusing on Frank Lucas’s rise in New York City’s underground crime scene, during the 1970s.

Scarface (1983)

7

Scarface is a crime drama written by Oliver Stone and directed by Brian De Palma. The film’s main character, Tony Montana, has gone on to become a pop-culture icon for his outstanding portrayal of a deranged mobster.

Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

8

Once Upon a Time in America is an ambitious crime drama set mostly in New York City. The film is a sprawling and complicated detective story that features multiple characters, intersecting plotlines, and a surprise ending.

The Untouchables (1987)

9

Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, and Sean Connery star in this gangster flick. The Untouchables is yet another film about the infamous Al Capone. However, this flick does not focus on the infamous mobster.

The Irishman (2019)

10

The Irishman is a book adaptation about the life of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), who was a mob hitman under the leadership of Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci).

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

11

Reservoir Dogs, a 1992 American crime thriller film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Here, a group of criminals plans to rob a diamond store. However, one of their own sets them up, and their plan goes awry.

OldBoy (2003)

12

Old Boy is a particularly brutal Korean mobster movie about a father who wants to find his son. It is based on the Japanese manga of the same name. In this movie, vengeance is a central theme in Gang-Soo’s life

Carlito’s Way (1993)

13

Carlito’s Way is a 1993 crime drama film based on the novel of the same name by Edwin Torres. The movie was directed by Brian De Palma and starred Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, Luis Guzman, and Viggo Mortensen.

City of God (2004)

14

City of God is one of the most powerful films ever made. It is a documentary-style account of life in Rio’s biggest slum, the titular City of God. It shows how, for many young people there, violence has become the only way to survive. 

Casino (1995)

15

Casino is arguably the most definitive mobster film from Martin Scorsese. This movie tells the story of Ace Rothstein and Nicky Santoro as they try to make their way through the Las Vegas world of shady deals and ever-shifting alliances.