Mafia movies are a great way to get into the action and adventure of organized crime. They’re all about dramatic car chases, brutal violence, and gritty characters who will stop at nothing to make it big.
There’s something for everyone on this list of the best mafia movies!
Mafia movies are a staple in American film. They show the gritty, dark side of life and often depict themes like loyalty, family, honor, and betrayal.
If you’re looking for an intense movie with a ton of action scenes this is the list for you!
The mafia is a criminal organization that has been around for centuries. There are many different movies about the mob, but these 5 are the best Mafia movies to watch.
In the United States, there are many different types of crime that are illegal. One type is organized crime which includes a group of people with a particular purpose who work together to commit crimes.
This can include things such as theft or murder for money. Mafia movies have been popular in America since the 1920s and portray this type of criminal activity.
Best Mafia Movies
Let’s jump right into our list of the best mafia movies of all time.
Released in 1972, The Godfather is a classic American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name, the film follows the Corleone family, an Italian-American mafia dynasty, as they navigate the world of organized crime.
At the center of the story is Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), the youngest son of the family patriarch Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). When Vito is shot, Michael takes over as the head of the family, despite his initial reluctance to get involved in the family business.
As Michael becomes more deeply entrenched in the world of organized crime, he finds himself drawn further and further away from his former life as a civilian. The film explores themes of power, loyalty, and family, and is renowned for its complex characters and intricate plot.
With stunning performances from a cast that also includes James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton, The Godfather is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and has since become a cultural touchstone, influencing countless other films and TV shows in the years since its release.
- Marlon Brando, James Caan, Al Pacino (Actors)
- Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and a sequel to the 1972 film The Godfather. The film is both a prequel and a sequel, telling two parallel stories that explore the rise of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) and the continued saga of his son Michael Corleone (Al Pacino).
In the prequel storyline, we see Vito’s early life as an immigrant in New York City, his involvement in the Italian mafia, and his eventual rise to power. In the sequel storyline, Michael is now the head of the Corleone family and faces new challenges and threats to his empire, both from outside forces and from within his own family.
The film features a stellar cast including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and John Cazale, among others. The performances are outstanding, with De Niro delivering a particularly powerful and nuanced portrayal of Vito.
The Godfather Part II is a
Overall, The Godfather Part II is a must-see film for any fan of the crime genre, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made. Its themes and characters continue to resonate with audiences today, making it a timeless classic that will be remembered for generations to come.
- Diane Keaton, James Caan, Al Pacino (Actors)
- Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
The Big Heat (1953)
The Big Heat (1953) is a classic film noir directed by Fritz Lang and stars Glenn Ford as a police detective named Dave Bannion who becomes embroiled in a web of corruption and violence while investigating the suicide of a fellow officer.
Bannion’s investigation leads him to a powerful and ruthless mob boss named Mike Lagana, played by Alexander Scourby, who will stop at nothing to protect his interests. When Bannion refuses to back down, he becomes the target of a brutal attack that leaves him wounded and angry.
With the help of a loyal secretary, Debby Marsh, played by Gloria Grahame, Bannion sets out to take down Lagana and his criminal empire. Along the way, he uncovers a network of corrupt cops, crooked politicians, and ruthless criminals who will do anything to stay in power.
The Big Heat is a gripping and intense film that explores themes of corruption, violence, and loyalty. Lang’s direction is masterful, and he creates a tense and atmospheric world that draws the viewer in from the opening scene. The performances are excellent, with Ford delivering a standout turn as the determined and driven Bannion, and Grahame bringing a depth and complexity to her role as the conflicted and vulnerable Debby.
Overall, The Big Heat is a must-see for fans of film noir and crime dramas, and it stands as a testament to Fritz Lang’s skill as a filmmaker and storyteller.
- Glenn Ford, Sydney Boehm, Gloria Grahame (Actors)
- Fritz Lang (Director) - Richard Metzger (Producer)
- English (Subtitle)
- Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
BEST MAFIA MOVIES
What Are Mafia Movies?
Mafia movies are a subgenre of crime films, which focus on organized crime or mafias and their actions. Mafia films’ primary goal is to show how these criminal organizations operate.
These movies tend to be violent, with plots that include aggressive behavior, kidnapping, murder, and theft.
The Godfather Part III
The Godfather Part III, released in 1990, is the final film in the Godfather trilogy. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the film takes place 20 years after the events of the second film and centers on Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), who is now in his 60s and attempting to legitimize his family’s business.
The film explores themes of redemption and the consequences of past actions, as Michael attempts to make amends for the sins of his past. He tries to distance himself from the family’s criminal activities and instead focus on philanthropy and business ventures, but finds himself drawn back into the world of organized crime.
The film also introduces new characters, including Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia), Michael’s nephew and protégé, who becomes embroiled in a power struggle within the Corleone family. The film also stars Diane Keaton as Michael’s former wife, Kay, and Talia Shire as Michael’s sister, Connie.
While The Godfather Part III was not as well-received critically as its predecessors, it still features strong performances and a compelling story that further develops the themes of the previous films. Al Pacino delivers another nuanced performance as Michael Corleone, and the film’s exploration of the consequences of past actions adds a new layer of complexity to the character. The film’s ending is also notable, as it provides a satisfying conclusion to the story of the Corleone family.
Overall, The Godfather Part III may not reach the heights of the first two films, but it still stands as a solid conclusion to the trilogy and a must-see for fans of the series.
- Al Pacino, Talia Shire, Diane Keaton (Actors)
- Francis Ford Coppola (Director)
- French, English, Portuguese, Spanish (Subtitles)
- Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
The Long Good Friday (1980)
“The Long Good Friday” is a British crime film directed by John Mackenzie and starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. The film is set in London and follows Harold Shand, a powerful and charismatic gangster who has ambitious plans to turn the city’s docklands into a playground for the rich and powerful.
Harold’s plans are derailed when a series of bombings and assassinations threaten his empire and the lives of those closest to him. As he tries to uncover who is behind the attacks and protect his interests, Harold’s world starts to unravel, and he is forced to confront the consequences of his violent past.
The film is a masterful exploration of the British criminal underworld, filled with intense performances, sharp dialogue, and a gritty, realistic tone. Hoskins gives a career-defining performance as Harold Shand, bringing a nuanced mix of charm and menace to the role, while Mirren shines as his fiercely loyal girlfriend.
“The Long Good Friday” is a classic of the British gangster genre, and a must-watch for fans of crime cinema. It’s a gripping, suspenseful ride that explores the complex motivations and relationships of a powerful criminal figure, and the high stakes world he inhabits.
- Long Good Friday (1980)
- Long Good Friday (1980)
- Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Bryan Marshall (Actors)
- John Mackenzie (Director) - Long Good Friday (1980) (Producer)
- English (Subtitle)
Scarface is a crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone. It tells the story of Tony Montana (Al Pacino), a Cuban refugee who arrives in Miami during the 1980s and rises to become the powerful drug kingpin of the city. As he builds his empire, he becomes increasingly paranoid, violent, and power-hungry, leading to his eventual downfall.
Scarface is a classic film that has become a cultural touchstone for its portrayal of the rise and fall of an ambitious criminal. The movie is known for its violence, profanity, and gritty depiction of the drug trade, and has influenced numerous films and TV shows in the years since its release.
At the center of the movie is Al Pacino’s iconic performance as Tony Montana, who starts out as a small-time crook and eventually becomes a ruthless and wealthy drug lord. Pacino’s performance is both magnetic and terrifying, capturing the character’s contradictions and inner turmoil as he becomes more and more consumed by his own power and greed.
The film’s direction by Brian De Palma is stylish and visually striking, with his signature use of split-screen and slow-motion shots. The score by Giorgio Moroder is also a standout, providing an iconic synth-heavy soundtrack that has become synonymous with the film.
However, Scarface is not without its flaws. Some have criticized the film’s portrayal of Cuban immigrants and its use of racial slurs. Additionally, the film’s excessive violence and profanity may not be for everyone.
Overall, Scarface is a powerful and unforgettable film that is well worth watching for its performances, direction, and cultural impact.
- Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer (Actors)
- Brian De Palma (Director)
- Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Once Upon A Time In America (1984)
“Once Upon A Time In America” is a sprawling gangster epic directed by Sergio Leone and released in 1984. The film follows the lives of a group of Jewish gangsters in New York City over the course of several decades, from their youth in the 1920s to their eventual downfall in the 1960s.
The film stars Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson, the former leader of the gang who returns to New York City after a self-imposed exile in order to confront his past. Throughout the film, the audience is taken on a journey through Noodles’ memories, which are often fragmented and nonlinear, revealing the complex relationships he had with his fellow gang members, including Max (James Woods), Cockeye (William Forsythe), and Patsy (James Hayden).
Leone’s direction is masterful, as he weaves a complex tapestry of themes and motifs that are both deeply personal and universal. The film explores themes of memory, regret, and the corrosive effects of violence and corruption, as well as the changing landscape of America itself.
The film is also notable for its stunning cinematography and score. Ennio Morricone’s haunting, melancholic score perfectly captures the film’s themes of loss and nostalgia, while the cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli is lush and evocative, capturing the grit and glamour of 1920s and 1930s New York.
Overall, “Once Upon A Time In America” is a truly epic film that rewards multiple viewings. Its sprawling scope, complex characters, and profound themes make it a must-see for fans of gangster cinema and film lovers in general.
- Actors Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Burt Young, Tuesday Weld, Treat...
- Director Sergio Leone
- Certificate 18 years and over
- Year 1984
- Screen Widescreen
A Bronx Tale (1993)
A Bronx Tale is a coming-of-age crime drama film directed by Robert De Niro and released in 1993. The film is set in the Bronx, New York in the 1960s and follows the story of a young Italian-American boy named Calogero, who becomes involved with a local mafia boss named Sonny.
The film explores themes of loyalty, family, and morality as Calogero navigates the complexities of growing up in a neighborhood controlled by organized crime. The film features a strong cast, including Robert De Niro as Calogero’s father, Chazz Palminteri as Sonny, and Lillo Brancato Jr. as the teenage Calogero.
At the heart of the film is the relationship between Calogero and Sonny. Sonny takes a liking to Calogero and becomes something of a mentor to him, teaching him valuable lessons about life and the criminal underworld. Calogero, meanwhile, is torn between his loyalty to his own father, who is a hard-working bus driver, and his fascination with Sonny’s lifestyle.
As Calogero grows up, he finds himself increasingly drawn into Sonny’s world, and his loyalties are tested when he is forced to make a difficult decision that could have serious consequences for both him and his loved ones.
A Bronx Tale is a well-crafted film with strong performances, particularly from Palminteri, who also wrote the screenplay based on his own experiences growing up in the Bronx. De Niro’s direction is understated and effective, allowing the story and characters to take center stage. The film is a powerful and poignant exploration of the complexities of family, loyalty, and the American Dream.
- A Bronx Tale ( 1993 )
- A Bronx Tale ( 1993 )
- Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato Jr. (Actors)
- Robert De Niro (Director)
- English (Subtitle)
Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci, Casino is a crime drama set in 1970s Las Vegas. The film follows Sam “Ace” Rothstein (De Niro), a professional gambler and handicapper who is hired by the Mafia to run the Tangiers Casino.
As Rothstein becomes more successful, he catches the eye of Ginger McKenna (Stone), a former prostitute who becomes his wife. However, their relationship is complicated by her drug addiction and his own affairs. Meanwhile, Nicky Santoro (Pesci), a violent and unpredictable enforcer, comes to town to protect the Mafia’s interests and quickly becomes a liability for Rothstein.
The film is notable for its intense violence and realistic portrayal of the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas. Scorsese’s direction is masterful, with fast-paced editing and a pounding soundtrack that keeps the tension high throughout. De Niro gives a nuanced performance as Rothstein, balancing his cool professionalism with his growing paranoia and obsession with control.
Stone’s performance as Ginger is also noteworthy, as she captures both the vulnerability and the ruthless ambition of her character. Pesci is a force to be reckoned with as the hot-headed Santoro, who becomes increasingly unhinged as the film progresses.
Overall, Casino is a gripping and intense crime drama that showcases Scorsese’s skill as a director and the talent of its all-star cast. It is a must-see for fans of the genre.
- Casino - Blu-ray + Digital + Ultraviolet Used Like New
- Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent (Actors)
- Swedish, Norwegian, Mandarin Chinese, Finnish, Danish (Subtitles)
- English (Publication Language)
- Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
The Departed (2006)
The Departed is a gripping crime drama directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. The film is set in Boston and tells the story of two men on opposite sides of the law. Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is an undercover cop who infiltrates the inner circle of a ruthless gangster named Frank Costello (Nicholson). At the same time, Colin Sullivan (Damon) is a member of Costello’s crew who is working as a mole within the police department.
As the two men work to maintain their cover, tensions rise and the stakes get higher. Costello and his gang are being pursued by the police, led by Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Sergeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg). Meanwhile, Costigan struggles to keep his true identity hidden from Costello and his henchmen, all while trying to gather the evidence needed to bring them down.
The Departed is a fast-paced and intense crime thriller that is elevated by its excellent performances, tight script, and expert direction. Scorsese expertly weaves together the complex plotlines, creating a tense and suspenseful atmosphere that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. The film is also notable for its exploration of themes such as loyalty, identity, and the corrupting influence of power.
DiCaprio and Damon are both outstanding in their respective roles, delivering nuanced and layered performances that add depth to the characters. Nicholson is also memorable as the scene-stealing Costello, bringing a sense of danger and unpredictability to the role.
Overall, The Departed is a masterful crime drama that ranks among Scorsese’s best works. Its expertly crafted plot, superb performances, and exploration of complex themes make it a must-see for fans of the genre.
- leonardo di caprio, matt damon (Actors)
- martin scorsese (Director)
- Italian (Subtitle)
- Audience Rating: G (General Audience)
Eastern Promises (2007)
Eastern Promises is a 2007 crime drama film directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, and Vincent Cassel. The story takes place in London’s criminal underworld and follows the life of Anna, a midwife who becomes entangled with the Russian mafia after delivering the baby of a young girl who dies during childbirth.
Mortensen plays Nikolai Luzhin, a driver for one of the bosses of the Vory v Zakone, the Russian mafia in London. When the girl dies, Anna finds a diary in her bag that leads her to the criminal underworld and eventually to Nikolai. As Anna becomes more involved in the world of the Vory, she becomes increasingly drawn to Nikolai, who is both protective of her and enigmatic.
The film is a tense and atmospheric thriller that explores themes of loyalty, honor, and morality in the criminal underworld. Mortensen’s performance as Nikolai is particularly impressive, as he delivers a nuanced portrayal of a man struggling to balance his loyalty to his criminal organization with his own moral code.
The film is also visually striking, with Cronenberg’s direction and the cinematography by Peter Suschitzky creating a bleak and gritty atmosphere that perfectly captures the seedy underbelly of London’s criminal world. The film’s climactic scene, set in a bathhouse, is especially memorable for its brutal and intense violence.
Overall, Eastern Promises is a must-see for fans of crime dramas and fans of Cronenberg’s work. It’s a gripping and well-crafted film with strong performances and a compelling story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
- Visionary filmmaker David Cronenberg (Scanners, The Fly) and muse Viggo Mortensen (The Indian...
- Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel (Actors)
- David Cronenberg (Director)
- Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Gomorrah is a crime drama directed by Matteo Garrone, based on the book by Roberto Saviano, which provides an unflinching look at the criminal underworld in Naples, Italy. The film is a gritty portrayal of the Camorra crime syndicate, which dominates the city and is involved in various criminal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and arms dealing.
The film is divided into five interconnected stories, each offering a different perspective on the Camorra’s operations. We follow the life of a young boy who idolizes a local gangster, a tailor who becomes embroiled in the Camorra’s world of counterfeit fashion, a pair of teenage thugs trying to make a name for themselves in the organization, an aging boss struggling to maintain his power, and a toxic waste management consultant caught up in a web of corruption.
Gomorrah is a brutal and unflinching look at the inner workings of organized crime. The film offers a stark contrast to the glamorous portrayals of mafia life seen in many Hollywood films, opting instead for a more realistic portrayal that shows the ugly side of criminal activity. The violence is often sudden and shocking, leaving little room for glorification or romanticization of the characters’ actions.
The film is shot in a style that feels almost documentary-like, with handheld cameras capturing the action from a visceral, in-the-moment perspective. The cast is made up of mostly non-professional actors, adding to the film’s gritty realism. The score, composed by Italian musician Teho Teardo, is haunting and evocative, perfectly capturing the film’s bleak tone.
Overall, Gomorrah is a powerful and unflinching crime drama that offers a stark, unromanticized look at the criminal underworld. It’s a well-crafted and thought-provoking film that is sure to stay with you long after the credits roll.
Mafia Movie Characteristics
Mafia movies are often associated with violence, guns, and lots of blood. This is largely due to the fact that much of the first mobster films were based on stories from real-life gangsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano.
If you’re looking for a mafia movie that does not have any violence or gunplay, then these five are your best bets.
Mafia movies have been around for decades, and their popularity is still going strong. There’s something about these films that makes them so attractive to the masses.
Many people are drawn in by the gritty realism of Mafia life, which includes violence, crime, and murder. Others find it intriguing how these films include themes of family loyalty and betrayal.
The term “Mafia” refers to organized crime groups that originated in the Italian communities of Sicily and Calabria.
These gangs were known for their strict codes of conduct, called omerta, which dictated silence about criminal activities.
The Italian word mafioso (plural: mafiosi) means “man who lives by his own rules” or “outlaw” and was first used in reference to Sicilian criminals at the end of the 19th century.
Today, we use it to refer to any member of an organized crime group such as La Cosa Nostra or ‘Ndrangheta.
Famous New York Gangster Movies
When thinking of New York City, the first things that come to mind are probably tall buildings and busy streets.
The city is often associated with crime and gangsters, thanks to movies like “Scarface,” “Goodfellas” and “A Bronx Tale.”
While these movies might not be entirely accurate portrayals of what life in NYC was like during those decades, they do give a glimpse into what it was like for some people living there at the time.
The 1920s saw an explosion of gangster movies, with many being released in 1927. This is the year that Scarface was released, and this would go on to be one of the most famous gangster movies ever made.
Some other notable films from this era included The Public Enemy starring James Cagney and Little Caesar starring Edward G. Robinson.