We all have our own list of our favorite motion pictures and genres that we could watch over and over again. Are you primarily a fan of comedies? Action flicks? Sci Fi? Once in a while though, we want to see something different. Just like with food: A person with a sweet tooth may all of a sudden feel like having something salty and a vegetarian even might one day wake up with a craving for bacon (they might not admit it but everybody wants bacon once in a while)! When this happens, we may want to use somebody else’s list.
If your “film crave” for tonight is a mobster movie, here is our list of the top 10 mafia movies of all time:
1) The Godfather – no list could be made without including The Godfather, the film that set the stage for all the mobster movies to come. A great performance by Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, and a long list of other great actors. Aside from being a great movie about the mafia, The Godfather is widely regarded as one of the best movies of all time!
2) The Godfather Part 2 – the second installment in the legendary trilogy. Marlon Brando has been replaced by Robert De Niro who plays the young Vito Corleone in flashbacks to the early days following his escape from Sicily and his life in New York City during the Ellis Island times.
3) Goodfellas – Featuring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci as partners in crime, this time as a trio with Ray Liotta. The film tells the story of three wise guys who grow up together as untouchables but ultimately end badly, because of drugs and out-of-control behavior.
4) Casino – Based on real events, Casino tells the story of a Jewish mobster played by Robert De Niro who leaves Chicago to take over the family-run casino in Las Vegas. Arguably the best performance of Joe Pesci’s career!
5) Donnie Brasco – Once again, Al Pacino plays a member of the Cosa Nostra. This time a small-time soldier in one of the Five Families of New York, who introduces Joseph Pistone, an undercover FBI agent under the pseudonym Donnie Brasco, to the criminal underworld and almost manages to get him to become a made man before the FBI pulls the plug on the operation – based on real events. Donnie Brasco is one of those movies that never get boring. Great performance by Johnny Depp, whom many doubted the ability to play in such a role.
6) The Departed – This movie centers around the Irish crime syndicate and the story of an undercover officer in the mob, and an undercover mobster in the police force. Aside from its refreshing take on the mobster movie scene and great music (especially the theme song “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys), this film wows with its well-known cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg.
7) Scarface – Another classic of not only the mobster genre but world cinema in general – once again with Al Pacino playing the protagonist, this time a Cuban refugee who sets up his little empire fueled by the illicit trade in cocaine and lives by his motto – “the World is yours!”
8) The Untouchables – The Untouchables see the return of Robert De Niro to the mafia movie scene, this time as the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. The film revolves around an IRS agent bent on bringing Al Capone down for breaking the Prohibition and tax evasion – obviously, based on a true story.
9) Boardwalk Empire – Ok, technically not a movie but a TV series produced by HBO. The outstanding performance by Steve Buscemi – who plays an Atlantic City gangster, Nucky Thompson – combined with not-so well known story makes it a must see for all fans of the mob movies. Similarly to The Untouchables, the movie takes place in the Prohibition era (and features the character of Al Capone himself), centers around the Irish mob again, their connections with politicians, and (often very brutal) interactions with other mobs from around the country.
10) The Godfather Part 3 – True, the final installment in the trilogy is hated by many Godfather fans. And it’s the only Godfather movie that did not receive an Academy Award. But it’s got interesting performances by Andy Garcia and Sofia Coppola, and a lot more going for it. The final film in the trilogy centers around the fall of Don Corleone, played again by Al Pacino – the face of American gangster movies. Our feeling: This movie is damned by the legacy of the first 2 in the series. But if judged on its own, it’s a highly entertaining flick in its own right and well worth viewing.
There are of course many more great movies based on the Cosa Nostra and other mobs but we believe that the ten listed above are by far the greatest ones to date – highly recommended!