Gangster movies have captivated audiences for decades, offering a thrilling glimpse into the dark and dangerous world of organised crime. These films delve into the minds of charismatic antiheroes, exploring themes of power, loyalty, betrayal, and the pursuit of the American dream. From classic masterpieces to contemporary gems, here is a comprehensive list of the top 10 best gangster movies that have left an indelible mark on the genre.

Top 10 Gangster Movies


1. The Godfather (1972)

Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, “The Godfather,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. With a stellar ensemble cast including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro, the movie tells the epic tale of the Corleone crime family, navigating power struggles, loyalty, and the intricacies of the Mafia. This iconic film is a masterclass in storytelling, character development, and cinematography.

2. Goodfellas (1990)

Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” is an adrenaline-fuelled journey through the life of Henry Hill, played brilliantly by Ray Liotta. The film offers an unflinching look at the violent and glamorous world of the Italian-American mob. With its innovative editing, gripping performances, and quotable dialogue, “Goodfellas” remains a benchmark for the genre.

3. The Departed (2006)

Directed by Martin Scorsese, “The Departed” boasts an all-star cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. Set in the gritty streets of Boston, this gripping crime thriller follows an undercover cop and a mole in the police force as they try to uncover each other’s identities. With its intricate plot twists, intense performances, and Scorsese’s masterful direction, “The Departed” keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.

4. Scarface (1983)

Brian De Palma’s “Scarface” stars Al Pacino as Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who rises from the streets of Miami to become a powerful drug lord. This iconic film is known for its memorable lines, intense violence, and Pacino’s electrifying performance. “Scarface” has achieved cult status and remains a definitive gangster film.

5. The Godfather Part II (1974)

The sequel to “The Godfather,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola, continues the saga of the Corleone family. With a narrative that spans generations, the film explores the parallel rise of a young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) and the struggles of his son, Michael (Al Pacino), to maintain the family’s empire. This epic crime drama showcases exceptional storytelling and performances, earning it critical acclaim and numerous Academy Awards.

6. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Directed by Sergio Leone, “Once Upon a Time in America” is an ambitious and sprawling gangster epic set in the early 20th century. Starring Robert De Niro and James Woods, the film follows a group of Jewish gangsters as they navigate the world of organized crime in New York City. With its nonlinear narrative, stunning visuals, and a haunting Ennio Morricone score, this film stands as a testament to Leone’s directorial brilliance.

7. The Untouchables (1987)

Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” is a thrilling and stylish portrayal of Prohibition-era Chicago. Kevin Costner leads an ensemble cast as Eliot Ness, an incorruptible federal agent determined to bring down the notorious gangster Al Capone, played brilliantly by Robert De Niro. With its superb performances, tense action sequences, and memorable score by Ennio Morricone, “The Untouchables” is an engaging and entertaining gangster classic.

8. Casino (1995)

Martin Scorsese reunites with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in “Casino,” a gripping tale of greed, deception, and the dark underbelly of Las Vegas. Based on real-life events, the film explores the rise and fall of Sam “Ace” Rothstein (De Niro), a casino owner caught between his loyalty to the mob and his love for a seductive hustler, portrayed by Sharon Stone. With its immersive storytelling, stunning visuals, and exceptional performances, “Casino” is a must-watch for gangster film enthusiasts.

9. A Bronx Tale (1993)

Directed by Robert De Niro, “A Bronx Tale” is a heartfelt coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the Bronx in the 1960s. The film follows a young Italian-American boy torn between his father (De Niro), a hardworking bus driver, and a local mob boss (Chazz Palminteri), who becomes a father figure to him. “A Bronx Tale” explores themes of morality, loyalty, and the choices that shape one’s life, making it a poignant addition to the gangster film canon.

10. City of God (2002)

This Brazilian crime drama directed by Fernando Meirelles takes us into the dangerous favelas of Rio de Janeiro. “City of God” tells the gripping story of two young boys who take different paths—one becoming a photographer and the other a ruthless drug dealer. The film expertly captures the brutal reality of life in the slums, with its gritty cinematography, powerful performances, and a narrative that explores the cycle of violence and poverty.

Top 10 Gangster Movies Conclusion:

Gangster movies have enthralled audiences with their compelling narratives, complex characters, and exploration of the criminal underworld. From the timeless elegance of “The Godfather” to the kinetic energy of “Goodfellas” and the audaciousness of “Scarface,” these top 10 gangster films have left an indelible mark on cinema history. Each film on this list offers a unique perspective on the dark side of humanity and continues to captivate audiences with their powerful storytelling, exceptional performances, and lasting cultural impact.