From timeless classics to modern thrillers – I can never get enough of a good mob flick. Some might argue the list when it comes to the top 3. However, it’s my top 20 list and it could very easily rank in different a order. But, nonetheless, still my top 20 no matter how it’s ranked.
20 | Knockaround Guys (2001)
(6.1/10 on IMDb)
Some found it tacky but I found it quite entertaining. In fact, I think they found the perfect four “wise guys” to play their roles in this one. Sons of mobsters, these wannabes end up in Wibaux, Montana – a small remote town in the Midwest. What starts off as a routine money transaction, turns out to be a messy disaster. The four men get into more trouble than anyone could have ever imagined.
19 | Boyz n the Hood (1991)
(7.8/10 on IMDb)
This hit takes place in the streets of Los Angeles; where three childhood friends, Darrin, Tre, and Ricky, struggle to grow up. Surrounded by the dangers of growing up in a ghetto LA suburb, they face racism and profiling by local authorities. The three friends fight through the adversity in hopes of becoming somebodies. Doughboy (played by Ice Cube) and Ricky Baker (played by Morris Chestnut) are step-brothers. Ricky is the “All-American” athlete, looking for a football scholarship to USC. Doughboy, succumbs to the violence, alcohol, and crime surrounding him in his environment; while maintaining a strong sense of pride and code of honor. Their friend, Tre Styles (played by Cuba Gooding, Jr.), is taught by his father (Lawrence Fishburne) to have the strength of character; to do what is right and to always take responsibility for his actions.
18 | Gomorrah (2008)
(8.7/10 on IMDb)
Noted as the best mob movie in 3 years when it was released, Scorsese’s Gomorrah, is a Mob drama that takes place in Napoli. It exposes Italy’s crime syndicate through the eyes of five individuals who each have their own dealings with the Camorra, the mafia from Campania, Napoli. The movie starts off with a graphic murder that leaves you breathless as it takes you through the twisted world of one of the prominent Italian Mafias.
17 | City of God (2002)
(8.6/10 on IMDb)
I’m normally not a fan of sub-titles, but this movie had me on the edge of my seat from the very start. This Brazillian-based movie visits the Cidade de Deus (City of God) in Rio de Janeiro. It tells the story of Li’l Zé (a large drug dealer) and Knockout Ned who is a former criminal, turned good guy. This Portuguese-spoken movie takes you through the streets of Brazil on a violent journey as you witness the early recruiting of children into the criminal underworld.
16 | Eastern Promises (2007)
(7.6/10 on IMDb)
This thriller tells the story of sex trafficking and violence throughout London, England that is run by the Russian Mafia. Viggo Mortensen plays an incredible roll in this action-packed film that will leave you in some shock and disbelief surrounding this largely profitable cruel business. Women are promised a better future and a wealthy life as models, until they’re suddenly faced with the tragic end of their innocence.
15 | Once Upon A Time In America (1984)
(8.4/10 on IMDb)
This 3-hour and 49-minute classic takes place in New York circa 1918 that shows two best friends who lead a group of Jewish kids who eventually become leaders in New York’s organized crime world. The original script was for 4-hours and 29-minutes but after distributors suggested it was too long, the Ladd Company shortened it. However, if you’ve got the time – I strongly recommend the original “European cut” as it tells the full story as originally intended.
14 | Black Mass (2015)
(6.9/10 on IMDb)
Johnny Depp stars as James “Whitey” Bulger in this American mob thriller. This one tells the daring true story of the alliance between the Irish Mob and the FBI in 1975. It involves the most violent criminal in the history of South Boston who becomes an FBI informant in an attempt to bring down a rival Mafia family.
13 | Public Enemies (2009)
(7.0/10 on IMDb)
This drama tells the story of John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Pretty Boy Floyd in the 1930s. The FBI look to take down the American gangsters after Dillinger (played by Johnny Depp) infiltrates the Indiana State Penitentiary to break his crew out so they can return to their criminal ways on the streets.
12 | The Iceman (2012)
(6.8/10 on IMDb)
Richard Kuklinski, a notorious hitman, begins his life as a porn film lab tech in the 1960s. His bosses convince him to become a contract killer. He battles between the life of a killer and a life of a family man – while keeping his family in the dark about his new found career.
11 | American History “X” (1998)
(8.5/10 on IMDb)
This dramatic thriller tells the story of a former neo-nazi skinhead who tries to prevent his younger brother from following his footsteps. After serving three years in prison for voluntary manslaughter, Derek (played by Edward Norton), comes out a changed man looking to find peace in life and hoping to steer his younger brother Danny (played by Edward Furlong) away from the troubled life of white supremacists.
10 | Blow (2001)
(7.6/10 on IMDb)
This biographical crime movie tells the story about American cocaine smuggler, George Jung and his business dealings with Pablo Escobar, Carlos Rivas, and the Medellin Cartel. George Jung (played by Johnny Depp) begins to deal drugs as suggested by his good friend Tuna after he sees his father Fred (played by Ray Liotta) fail to make a living; leading his family to poverty. However, after being imprisoned for dealing marijuana, George learns about the wealth of cocaine and the power it can bring him. He takes control of the American cocaine market in the 1970s living on top of the world. But of course as always, all good things must come to an end.
9 | American Gangster (2007)
(7.8/10 on IMDb)
Based on the criminal career of Frank Lucas (played by Denzel Washington), this crime drama is about an outcast New York City cop Richie Roberts (played by Russell Crowe) who has been given the task to bring down Lucas. Frank Lucas establishes himself as the lead importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan in this epic thriller.
8 | The Departed (2006)
(8.5/10 on IMDb)
Martin Scorsese hit it out of the ballpark with this incredible star-studded film. DiCaprio, Damon, Nicholson, Wahlberg, Sheen, Baldwin – to name a few. This movie is about a mole named William “Billy” Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and an undercover cop named Colin Sullivan (played by Matt Damon). Both men try to identify one another while attempting to infiltrate an Irish gang in South Boston.
7 | The Godfather Triology (1972, 1974, 1990)
(9.2/10 | 9.0/10 | 7.6/10 on IMDb)
Francis Ford Coppola created this famous Mafia series based on the novel by Mario Puzo. This series of hits follows the trials of the Italo-American mafia through the eyes of the Corleone family. Vito Corleone (played by the late Marlon Brando), rises to the top before his youngest son, Michael (played by Al Pacino) becomes his successor. There were rumblings of a fourth film in the series, however, Mario Puzo passed away in July of 1999 before writing could begin. But the idea has not been completely abolished as the intention to make it a prequel and a sequel is still a possibility!
6 | Snatch (2000)
(8.3/10 on IMDb)
This action-packed British thriller has it all. Boxing promoters, violent bookies, a Russian mobster, amateur robbers, and Jewish jewelers all looking to track down a stolen diamond. Guy Ritchie created an absolute gem with this movie as it follows a typical British-humor with all the trimmings of a beautiful crime movie.
5 | Scarface (1983)
(8.3/10 on IMDb)
The infamous, Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino), finds his way to America in 1980. While making a life for himself in Miami, Tony Montana looks to take over the drug cartel and he’s not looking to let anybody get in his way to achieve the American Dream.
4 | A Bronx Tale (1993)
(7.8/10 on IMDb)
This is the story of big time local gangster, Sonny (played by Chazz Palminteri), who befriends Calogero “C” (mainly played by Lillo Brancato) the son of a hard-working model citizen bus driver Lorenzo (played by Robert De Niro). It takes place in the Bronx in the early 1960s. One of my favorites that I’ll watch any day, any time – without thinking twice.
3 | The Irishman (2019)
(7.9/10 on IMDb)
Martin Scorsese did it again with the most anticipated release of 2019 through Netflix. This 3.5-hour movie brings us through the story of Jimmy Hoffa (played by Al Pacino). This was the reunion for Pacino, De Niro (who plays Frank Sheeran), and Pesci (who plays Russell Buffalino) in this modern-age movie set in between the 1950s and 1970s.
2 | Donnie Brasco (1997)
(7.7/10 on IMDb)
This is the true story of FBI agent Joe Pistone who infiltrated the mob as Donnie Brasco (played by Johnny Depp). Brasco finds himself relating more with the mob-life, rather than his real one. Eventually the lifestyle becomes unbearable for Donnie and he has some big choices to make between his real family and his inherited family.
1 | Goodfellas (1990)
(8.7/10 on IMDb)
My favorite piece of work by none other than Martin Scorsese himself. This is the story of Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta) entering the mob with his partners Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). The high-paced movie has you glued to your seat as you try to keep up with who’s getting made, who’s getting had, and who’s getting hit.
So there you have it! That’s my top 20 all-time mob movies in the best possible order I could rank them in based on my personal preference. I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it!