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15 Glorious Gangster Movies ...

By Neecey

The Gangster genre is one of the most longstanding and popular in the movies these days. Some of the best directors have made outstanding Gangster movies. The Internet Database for Movies has ranked the Godfather as number one of this category. There are many films spanning the decades, though, which makes it difficult to come up with a definitive but the following are 15 of the most Glorious Gangster Movies of all time.

1 The Untouchables

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Set in 1920s Prohibition-era Chicago, The Untouchables is the story of Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and his pursuit of gangster Al Capone. The movie is noted for its sharp Armani suits and a strong supporting cast, including Sean Connery and Robert DeNiro.

2 Public Enemies

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Public Enemies is another glorious gangster movie starring Johnny Depp as notorious Depression-era bankrobber John Dillinger. Michael Mann directs this adaptation of Bryan Burrough’s book of the same name. The film shows Dillinger’s battles with the Bureau in his final years.

3 The Godfather II

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Godfather II is the first film sequel ever to win an Oscar. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, like the original Godfather, and released in 1974, the film shows Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone as he rises to power and in flashback sequences, his father Vito’s early years in Sicily and New York. It received 11 Oscar nominations and won six, including for Best Supporting Actor for Robert De Niro and Best Picture.

4 Bonnie and Clyde

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Bonnie and Clyde is an American based crime movie that was released in year 1967 and was directed by Arthur Penn. The film features Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the title characters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Robert Benton and David Newman wrote the screenplay for this glorious gangster movie which features a particularly strong role for Dunaway’s female lead at a time when they were rare.

5 Bugsy Malone

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This is a gangster movie musical in which all the gangsters are kids. Instead of using bullets, they shoot each other with ‘splurge guns’ which cover the victim in cream. This story shows the rise of Bugsy Malone and the battle for power that takes place between Dandy Dan and Fat Sam. Jodie Foster makes an early big screen appearance and steals the show with a breathless song.

6 Goodfellas

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A Martin Scorsese movie about the New York’s Mafia showing the rise and fall of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and featuring a guest appearance by Scorsese favorite Robert DeNiro. Nominated for six Oscars, it won only one – Joe Pesci for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

7 Internal Affairs

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Made in Hong Kong, Internal Affairs involves a complex plot in which a young undercover officer (Tony Leung) has been sent as a mole into the local Triad gang and a Triad member infiltrates the police force. This and the two sequels were remade by Martin Scorsese as The Departed.

8 Pulp Fiction

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Pulp Fiction is Quentin Tarantino’ 1994 gangster movie and his most iconic. Famous for its ironic mix of violence and humor, as well as the many references to cinema and pop culture throughout the screenplay, but it’s perhaps best known for John Travolta’s so-called ‘bat dance’ with Uma Thurman.

9 Carlito’s Way

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Al Pacino and Sean Penn star in this Brian De Palma film from 1993. It is based on the Carlito's Way and After Hours novel by Judge Edwin Torres, and follows Pacino’s Carlito when he comes out of jail after a five-year prison sentence. Carlito’s intention is to give up his former criminal activities but events draw him back into his old, violent life.

10 The Big Heat

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This glorious 1953 gangster movie directed by Fritz Lang and starring Lee Marvin and Glenn Ford is the story of a cop who takes on the local crime syndicate after his wife is murdered.

11 The Public Enemy

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The Public Enemy features the first great star of the crime genre, James Cagney, in the story of a young man’s rise in the criminal underworld in Prohibition-era America. William Wellman directs and Jean Harlow co-stars.

12 Once upon a Time in America

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Robert DeNiro, again, and James Woods star in this 1984 stunning gangster movie by Sergio Leone, the Italian director well known for the Spaghetti Westerns he made in Spain with Clint Eastwood in the Sixties. This film is about the rise of Jewish ghetto youths in New York’s world of organized crime.

13 Scarface

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Based on Howard Hawk’s 1932 film, Scarface is the story of Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who becomes a drug kingpin in America during the cocaine boom of the 1980s. Montana’s catchphrase “say hello to my little friend” is still loved by gangster movie fans.

14 Road to Perdition

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Sam Mendes’ 2002 version of a graphic novel of the same name stars Tom Hanks and movie legend Paul Newman in his final screen performance. Hanks is a mob enforcer seeking revenge against the men who murdered his family.

15 The French Connection

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‘Popeye’ Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider) battle drug smuggling between Marseilles and New York in this hardboiled 1971 movie, which won the Best Picture Oscar for that year. The real-life characters the two cops were based upon appear in the film.

I hope you enjoy watching some of these as not only are they glorious Gangster movies but some of them rank in the roll of best films ever. As much as I love JD in Public Enemies and admire The Godfather series, I have to say The Untouchables is my favorite, what’s yours?

Top Photo Credit: JohnnyZito

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