Three of the Best Gangster Movies

The so-called mob flick has become one of the most respected subgenres of crime films. With legends like Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese in the director’s chair, and big name actors like Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino being the posterboys for it, it is no surprise that these films have become a sensation.

While gangster films reached the peak of their popularity in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, they are still being made today, and are widely viewed and enjoyed by critics and audiences alike, as the success of The Irishman proved. In this article, we will take a look at the countless gangster movies made through the decades, and pick the cream of the crop of this enduring subgenre.

Casino (1995)

Casino tells the story of Sam Rothstein, played by Robert DeNiro, nicknamed “Ace”, a gambling expert working for the Chicago crime syndicated as a casino and hotel manager in Las Vegas. Rothstein starts out at the top of the world, as he becomes one of the richest men in Vegas, marries the beautiful dancer Ginger, played by the magnificent Sharon Stone, and builds relationship with the most powerful people in the criminal underworld. Everything goes wrong when the criminal syndicates begin to devour themselves from the inside, and Ace’s life begins to crumble at the seams.

Casino is a story about the “old casinos” before the land-based casinos became corporate-run, mega casinos. It is steeped with the “old-school” atmosphere which most people have come to associate with land-based casinos. The film is absolutely dripping with high-class, opulence. As online casinos sites like are becoming more and more prominent, they begin to replace the land-based casinos, that many believe are going out of style. This film, works a perfect send-off to the old-school, land-based casinos, which are now becoming passé.

The Godfather Trilogy

While technically three movies, the Godfather Trilogy functions as a single story, relating the tragic tale of Michael Corleone, and more broadly the Corleone family. Masterfully directed by one of the greatest directors of all time, Francis Ford Coppola, the Godfather trilogy has gone down in history as one of the greatest stories ever told.

The first movie starred acting giant Marlon Brando, as the aging patriarch of the Corleone crime family, Don Vito Corleone, who in his old age falls ill. After being shot by a rival crime family, Don Corleone transfers the responsibility of taking care of the ins and outs of the crime family to his son Michael Corleone, played by another acting superstar, Al Pacino. Though reluctant at first, Michael eventually becomes enthralled by the world of underground crimes, and rises to the top as the new kingpin.

The later films go on to tell the story of the rise and fall of the Corleone family, featuring actors who would go on to become big names, like Robert DeNiro, and Diane Keaton. The Godfather films completely changed the way people viewed cinema at the time, having villain protagonists, incorporating unique and new filming methods, in order to create a grim, dark, and gritty atmosphere.

Donnie Brasco (1997)

The last film we will discuss is the incredible true story of Joe Pistone, who in the 70s infiltrated the Bonanno and Colombo crime families, as an undercover agent for the FBI. Donnie Brasco stars Johnny Depp in the starring role, and Al Pacino as the grizzled Lefty, who becomes Donny’s mentor, and eventual friend.

The film explores the effects on the mind of a person who is forced to work with, and befriend members of the underground crime syndicates, and the changing psychological state as he discovers that he has a lot more in common with the criminals than with the people from his daily life.

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