5 Amazing American Gangster Films

American Gangster movies are known the world over; in fact, the #1 rated film on IMDB is a gangster flick (The Godfather).  Perhaps it’s the violence and tight, winding storylines, maybe it’s the atmosphere or dramatization of power; whatever the reason, people really seem to love gangster films.  If you’re wondering what a list of the top 5 American gangster flicks movies might look like, let’s have a look, shall we?


“Casino” tells the story of how Las Vegas got started through the eyes of the Mafioso’s.  Directed by Martin Scorsese, this movie provides us with a glimpse into the underworld of Vegas in 70’s and 80’s, a very different reality compared with what we generally accept as reality.  This film features standout performances from Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.

Reservoir Dogs

This is one of the movies that put director and visionary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino on the map.  It centers on the aftermath of a messy job and the violence, finger-pointing, regret and betrayal that follows.  While most of the movie takes place in a run-down warehouse, specific bits of action are covered in flashbacks which punctuate the storyline at key points.

The Departed

Since “The Departed” was released in 2006 it has become something of an instant classic, especially among fans of gangster films.  The movie itself deals with the topic of Irish-American organized crime in and around the Boston area.  What’s interesting about this film is that it features a dual plot where both the police dept. and the mob are planting their own moles directly under the opposition’s noses.  All in all, this is a gritty picture that explores some extremely dark themes.  Both Jack Nicholson and Leonardo Di Caprio are beyond excellent in this fine film.


If you’re looking for a better example of an American gangster film, Fuhgedaboudit (forget about it)!  Goodfellas follows the story of a gangster named Henry Hill who is introduced into a prominent New York crime family’s ranks at a young age.  What makes this film so intriguing is that it is (more-or-less) based on a true story, unlike many others on this list.  Goodfellas perfectly captures the essence of the “working-class” mobster experience.

The Godfather

When it comes to gangster films, you can’t put together a “best of” list without including this one.  “The Godfather” is easily the most recognizable and iconic film of all-time for its genre.  Even people who dislike gangster movies in general can find something to like and enjoy about this wonderful film.  This is easily one of the best movies ever made and certainly worth being included in a list such as this.  If you’ve never seen this one before, you really owe it to yourself to check it out.

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