Some of the most stirring and memorable films in cinematic history have been gangster movies. The best works in the genre feature multi-layered characters, intriguing plots, and edge-of-your-seat tension. Here are five of the very best gangster movies, sure to entertain moviegoers of all stripes:
The Untouchables – This 1987 gangster film, directed by Brian DePalma, is set in corruption-filled 1920’s prohibition Chicago. The film centers on a treasury agent who, with the help of an account friend and two ragtag cops, undertakes a mission to take down Al Capone.
The Departed – This 2006 Martin Scorsese drama, set in South Boston, explores the conflict between the state police force and Irish-American organized crime. The characters, many of them leading double-lives, become entangled in a web that tests loyalties on both sides of the conflict.
Reservoir Dogs – This 1992 Quentin Tarantino movie centers around six eccentric strangers who come together to plan and execute the perfect crime. But when the police ambush them, they are left to figure out a searing question: which one among them acted as a police informant?
The Godfather – This 1972 Francis Ford Coppola classic epitomizes the gangster film genre. The movie, which tells the story of the Corleone Mafia dynasty, unfolds as a layered family drama that explores love, loyalty, fear, and revenge. Blood ties and bloodshed abound.
Once Upon A Time in America – This 1984 Sergio Leone film explores the lives of a group of Jewish gangsters in New York City, following them as they grow up in a rough Lower East Side neighborhood in the 1920’s and come of age as gangsters during Prohibition. The timeline extends to the late 1960’s, when the main character returns to New York to reflect on his past.