Top Ten Gangster Movies

There will also be a special place in my heart for the Gangster genre because it was films like Goodfellas and The Godfather (among other movies on this list, but I don’t want to give the whole thing away) that in all honesty got me into the art of film in general. When done right a good gangster movie is filled with rich and vibrant characters, stories and pieces of dialogue. This is my list of the best Gangster movies I’ve ever had the honor to watch.

Before getting into this, I’d like to clarify what I mean by Gangster movie. I considered any movie that involves gangsters driving the central drama of the film. That means I could use movies that didn’t necessarily star gangsters as the protagonists. For the list, I could use movies like The Untouchables and The Usual Suspects because even though the main characters weren’t mobsters, there would be no drama with out them. I could however not use a movie like The Dark Knight because even though gangsters play a part, they most certainly do not propel the plot of the film. Well, here we go…

10. The Untouchables

There were a lot of movies battling for this tenth spot; Miller’s Crossing almost made it, as did Gangs of New York and if I had an eleventh slot on this list it would be the complex drug drama, Layer Cake. It ended up being The Untouchables if only for how gratifyingly fun the movie can be from beginning to end. Robert De Niro is fantastic as the antagonist, but what makes this one of my favorite gangster movies is Sean Connery as Malone.

9. True Romance

True Romance is a beautiful love story as only Quentin Tarantino could write it. It’s filled with violence, course language, drugs, tense scenes (particularly one of my favorites in film including Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken), but at it’s heart it is a full fledged love story. It was unfortunately not directed by the man himself, but his brilliant writing is all there making True Romance undoubtedly one of the most incredible stories of crime ever told.

8. RockNRolla

Other than the sequel to Sherlock Holmes, I’ve loved every movie Guy Ritchie has ever made. It goes without saying that Snatch is just an awesome movie, while Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is even better, but for  me my favorite will always be RockNRolla. It has all the fast-paced direction and zest of any other Guy Ritchie movie, but with the added bonus of the greatest and most compelling characters Guy Ritchie has ever created.

7. A Prophet

A Prophet is simply a magnificent film that never fails to captivate. What sets A Prophet above most other crime dramas is a sense of brutality and realism. A Prophet is unbelievably epic and from beginning to end, it never fails to leave you speechless from scene to scene. And it’s not just the tense violence the director never fears or fails to utilize, but also the tense and dramatic scenes that propels the beautiful plot of a man raising through the ranks in a crime-driven French prison.

6. The Usual Suspects

I don’t think much needs to be said about The Usual Suspects and that right there is a testament to how truly spectacular of film it is. The writing is unbelievably intelligent and never spoon feeds you. While The Usual Suspects is an enjoyable and fascinating tale of thieves and criminal masterminds, it is also an enthralling mystery. It’s the kind of film you have to pay attention to. You have to take the time to examine every detail and by the end, what you find is simply an incredible film.

5. Goodfellas

Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest directors who ever lived and Goodfellas is just one of the many films that showcase his prowess. Goodfellas is a masterpiece through and through and while never failing to be completely entertaining, it tells a tremendous tale that envelops everything you’d ever want to know about a life of crime. Ray Liotta is fantastic, Robert De Niro is just as amazing as ever and Joe Pesci gives an Oscar-worthy performance. It’s Scorsese that deserves the most praise for directing such an amazing movie.

4. The Godfather (Part I+II)

I’ve always had a constant argument with myself as to what I loved more the first two Godfather films or Goodfellas. It wasn’t until just recently when I realized that I have to give it to The Godfather (Part I+II) if only  for its beautifully epic tale of not only crime, but also family, loyalty and change. Francis Ford Coppola, with the first two Godfathers, creates one of the greatest movies of all time. It would be an absolute sin not to put The Godfather (Part I+II) on a list of my favorite gangster movies in existence. I mean, it’s The Godfather!

3. Drive

There was a dilemma for me on whether or not I should put Drive on this list. Yes, Drive is so much more than a gangster movie, but without the involvement of organized crime the film would have nothing to drive the plot or our protagonist to do the things he does. Drive is, to put it as plainly as possible, extraordinary.It’s the retro feel, it’s the tremendous music, it’s the stylized violence, it’s the minimized dialogue, it’s the spellbinding direction that takes its time  to tell its story, and it’s the way that regardless of how much tension, action and blood is in the movie, it never fails to have a pleasant moment of realistic affection. Drive is a profound film in its flawless creation and its relentless entertainment.

2. The Departed

It’s practically unbelievable that Martin Scorsese has made as many masterpieces as he has. He made the raw and rugged Raging Bull, he made the grotesque and hellish Taxi Driver and he even made another entry on this list, Goodfellas, but The Departed is Scorsese’s magnum opus. There are a lot of different opinions as to what Scorsese’s best movies are and that’s understandable, but for me it’s The Departed and I seriously doubt that will ever change. Scorsese holds nothing back, he pulls all the punches and the result is something miraculous. The Departed tells a fantastic intertwining tale of cops, criminals and grit. It is and forever will be a masterpiece.

1. Pulp Fiction

Take what may be the greatest writing in cinematic history, a handful of characters that individually could have their own movies centered around them, the direction of a mastermind, some of the stories that inspired said mastermind to make movies in general and then throw in that magical twist that Tarantino adds to all of his films and what you get is the greatest gangster film in existence. Pulp Fiction is and will always be one of my favorite movies that will ever be created.

What Pulp Fiction offers isn’t just beautiful, but refreshingly original. And this originality isn’t in the case of the stories that are being intertwined, the film is original in the way that the stories are told and the characters that are being followed. In Pulp Fiction, what you get are days in the lives of the kind of low-lives you wouldn’t expect to see as protagonists whether they be a pair of talky hit men, the wife of a crime boss, a low-rent boxer or even a couple whose hobby is robbing restaurants and liquor stores.

With Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino taps into a the vein that is the gangster genre to make something truly extraordinary. Pulp Fiction offers an experience that is nothing short of breathtaking from start to finish. Every single aspect of Tarantino’s crime masterpiece is not only a gorgeous piece of art, but it’s also a consistently entertaining piece of pulp. It is one of the greatest movies ever made and nothing short of the greatest gangster movie of all time.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QEHPQ0/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002QEHPQ0&linkCode=as2&tag=movies01e1-20&linkId=IUSHKRN7PR5ECIUG

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000P0J09M/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000P0J09M&linkCode=as2&tag=movies01e1-20&linkId=BZRSNX7HHJF5YT7K

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0762441542/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0762441542&linkCode=as2&tag=movies01e1-20&linkId=KXBJBYX6RNKD4CUN

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008RH3L/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00008RH3L&linkCode=as2&tag=movies01e1-20&linkId=GXHWOLTRALYHIGPX

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YWMRJ2/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B004YWMRJ2&linkCode=as2&tag=movies01e1-20&linkId=AWPS7WIS7RJR4T5R

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EEDNR9A/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00EEDNR9A&linkCode=as2&tag=movies01e1-20&linkId=QB45IUFOXIDM7EJH

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H96FYN6/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00H96FYN6&linkCode=as2&tag=movies01e1-20&linkId=73T5OWJKRRBPVPXB

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EEDNA4M/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00EEDNA4M&linkCode=as2&tag=movies01e1-20&linkId=ZG3MMRZLGG3JE4D4

Advertisements

Top Ten Martin Scorsese Movies

If you know anything about film, you know the name of Martin Scorsese. He’s god’s gift to cinema and one of my favorite directors of all time. Scorsese has literally been making masterpieces since the 60s and hasn’t stopped since. When looking at his illustrious works, everyone has certain films they latch onto and they’re often very different and that’s because he has so much versatility.

He loves what he was born to do and that is making movies. Here is a list that celebrates his magnificent works of art. Here is a look at my favorite films of one of the most marvelous filmmakers of our time.

10. Bringing Out the Dead

Martin Scorsese’s character study of an ambulance driver driven to near insanity is nothing short of breath-taking. It’s incredibly fast-paced and filled with a adrenaline. From a surprsingly great performance from Nicholas Cage to his outrageous partners, rarely are you not entertained.

9. The Color of Money

I’m not a Tom Cruise fan in the least bit, but I can say with out a doubt that this is his best role. He is over shadowed by the great Paul Newman though, but that goeas without saying. The Color of Money is a highly engrossing look into the lives of pool hustlers. I’m not going to lie. I actually enjoy this sequel better than the classic original (“The Hustler”).

8. Casino

If Martin Scorsese could be considered to have a forte, it would with out a doubt be the Gangster genre. No one makes them better than he does. The first one you’ll find on my list would be the fantastic tale he weaves of crime in the city of Las Vegas. It’s one you won’ be able to take your eyes of, but it pales in comparison to some of his other excursions into crime.

7. The Aviator

The Aviator is a down right fantastic biopic about the life and times of Howard Hughes. The movie can be considered long, but every moment is meaningful and a film about someone’s life deserves a good length. I think Leonardo DiCaprio is a fantastic actor and this is the performance of is career. I doubt he will be able to top it.

6. Gangs of New York

Gangs of New York is a fantastically woven tale of vengeance set in a criminal-run New York city in the 1800s. Leonardo DiCaprio is great as the leading man, but the real praise belongs to Daniel Day-Lewis as the sadistic Bill “The Butcher” Cutting. Its a story told on an epic scale ands its truly impossible not to get enjoyment out of it.

5. Shutter Island

Shutter Island from start to finish is a dark and emotional roller coaster ride that never lets up even after the credits role. From the second the movie begins, the mood sets in and you both love and are a bit scared at what you’ve gotten yourself into. It’s a film that’s almost draining because of how intense it is. This is Martin Scorsese’s take on a psychological thriller and its the kind that every film lover has dreamed of being able to see.

4. Raging Bull

Raging Bull is a work of true art showing the raw and emotional life of the boxer Jake LaMotta. Its a poetic look into a life of brutality and pride. Scorsese holds no puches (pun intended) and Robert DeNiro gives the greatest performance he’s ever given. Raging Bull is truly a masterpiece for the way that it tells the tale of man whose not a hero or a villain, but just a man, no more, no less.

3. Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver is an unconventional tale told and acted to perfection. Its a character study of a sociopath dealing with the decay of the world around him. Taxi Driver unprecedented in the way that it tells a horrific tale through the eyes of a terrible person. We get a full examination of a mind that is unlike our own in almost every possible way. What is found is disturbing, cruel and above all, interesting. Robert DeNiro gives an amazing performance. I stand by my comment about the performance of his career would be found in Raging Bull, but I believe Taxi Driver surpasses Raging Bull as a film.

2. Goodfellas

Goodfellas is a movie that can best be described as a crash-course in absolutely everything you’d ever want to know about mobsters. You learn of every in and out of the mob through the telling of the tale of Henry Hill, a young man who had one wish, “to be a gangster”. Most would consider The Godfather to be the mobster movie, but I believe Goodfellas even surpasses that work of genius. Goodfellas is one of those films you can watch over and over and still get enjoyment. It truly is an unforgettable achievement in film and I’ve only seen one other movie Scorsese made that was able to top it.

1. The Departed

The Departed is nothing short of a flawless film. Its work of pure and incredible entertainment. A gritty piece of art that I consider to be one of the greatest films of all time. Each quote, character and scene is another brush stroke in an epic masterpiece of cops and robbers. Every single aspect is well thought out The Departed is the movie that got Scorsese his Oscars for both Best Picture and Best Director. Some would argue that the awards were given to him in recognition for his entire career and maybe that’s true, who knows? All I know is that The Departed is one of the greatest movies of all time and Martin Scorsese’s best work.