5 Great Movies about American Gangsters

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29 Apr 21

5 Great Movies about American Gangsters

Gangster cinema needs no introduction: millions of viewers around the world love this genre. Just look at the lists of the most highly-rated films in history. More than one generation of moviegoers has grown up with movies about the mafia, and many images of gangsters have become cult. These include, for example, Vito and Michael Corleone, Tony Montana, Tommy DeVito, and others.


In the early 90s, after the tremendous success of The Nice Guys, Martin Scorsese made two more films – a remake of the thriller Cape Fear and the historical melodrama The Age of Innocence. Both received accolades from audiences and critics alike, but they were eager to see the director’s new gangster film. For the Casino, Scorsese re-assembled the old team – screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi and the duo of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.

If Nice Guys told the success story of a young gangster, Casino was the story of the Las Vegas gambling business and the drama between friends. It is really interesting to see how everything changed: the atmosphere, the rules, and the technology. Formerly everything was so simple and now you can play slots with a feature buy option and numerous bonuses.

The film also differs from its predecessor in tempo, it was longer in duration. But Scorsese’s style has been preserved in its original form: dynamic editing, branded showdowns, and a bright acting game are in place.

Donnie Brasco

In the decades since Prohibition, US law enforcement has tried to fight the mafia in a variety of ways. One of the possible paths – the undercover agents. It is to this method that Donnie Brasco is dedicated, based on real events. FBI agent Joe Pistone, played by Johnny Depp, is tasked with infiltrating the Italian-American mafia under the pseudonym Donnie Brasco.

The Public Enemy

Hollywood has always been able to adapt to topics that are relevant to society, and the Great Depression is no exception. The film is about two friends, Tom and Matt, who dream of breaking out of poverty. In search of easy money, they engage in petty robberies, and with Prohibition to come into force, they contact gangsters and become bootleggers.

Once Upon a Time in America

Over the years, the gangster genre took the place of Westerns that were losing popularity. Viewers were reluctant to watch films about lawlessness in the Wild West, preferring more relevant stories about the mafia. It is an epic four-hour film with multiple timelines, detailing the uneasy fate of Robert De Niro’s character, the Jewish mafioso David Aaronson, nicknamed “Noodles.”

Road to Perdition

In 2002, one of the most unusual and beautiful gangster films in history was released. Director Sam Mendes decided to move away from the canons of the genre and combined the story of revenge, road movie, and a philosophical parable in one film.

Road to Perdition is based on a familiar setting but turns the concept inside out. The story is told from the perspective of the son who spends three weeks on the road with his father. Most of the plot is devoted to their relationship, and only then, the war with the gangsters.