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.

The Godfather

The Godfather is a classic among the classics of cinema. Written by Mario Puzo, it tells the story of one man’s rise to power and his desire to keep the family together.

The Godfather is a 1972 American drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy from a screenplay written by Mario Puzo and Coppola.

The Godfather is one of the most iconic movies of all time. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire, it tells the story of a New York City Mafia family that has to deal with organized crime problems as they try to expand their criminal empire.

The film was released on March 15th 1972 in theaters across America and quickly became a blockbuster hit.

This story of an Italian-American crime family and their struggles to stay ahead of the law has captivated audiences for decades.

Sale
The Godfather [50th Anniversary ] [Blu-ray]
  • Marlon Brando, James Caan, Al Pacino (Actors)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

The Godfather Part II

The Godfather Part II is one of the most popular sequels ever made.

The Godfather Part II is a film that was released in 1974 and is the sequel to the original Godfather. The story takes place ten years after the events of the first film and stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton among others.

The Godfather Part II is a 1990 American crime film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It was the second part of The Godfather film series and was released on March 15, 1990, to mixed reviews from critics.

The movie, which is the second installment in The Godfather series, picks up where the first film left off following the story of Michael Corleone.

He wants to move away from organized crime but realizes that he will need help to do so.

Sale
The Godfather Part II [Blu-ray]
  • Diane Keaton, James Caan, Al Pacino (Actors)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

The Big Heat (1953)

The Big Heat (1953) is an American film noir directed by Fritz Lang. The movie follows a police detective, played by Glenn Ford, who is trying to find out the identity of a murderer who has taken the life of his wife.

In the 1940s, a new genre emerged in Hollywood: film noir. This dark style of filmmaking was characterized by crime dramas with cynical and fatalistic themes.

The Big Heat is one example of this genre. It follows Detective Lieutenant Dave Bannion as he tries to track down the killer of his close friend’s wife while simultaneously dealing with his own personal struggles.

The movie’s star is Glenn Ford, who portrays an honest cop in a corrupt city that has been taken over by gangsters.

The Big Heat
  • 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

In 1990, Francis Ford Coppola directed the third and final installment of The Godfather series. This film is a sequel to his own 1972 film, where Al Pacino plays Michael Corleone.

In this last part of the trilogy, we see how Michael has become the head of the family business in New York City.

He’s trying to keep away from violence but finds himself drawn into it once again as he tries to protect his wife Kay (Diane Keaton) and two children from being killed by a rival gangster named Don Fanucci (Gianni Russo).

Sale
The Godfather Part III
  • Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire (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 1980 British crime thriller film directed by John Mackenzie. The movie stars Bob Hoskins as Harold Shand, the leader of London’s East End gangsters.

As with many other crime films, there are several scenes that depict violence and brutality to show how dangerous these people really are.

In one scene, for example, Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) and his associates shoot up an entire pub full of rival gang members in order to kill their target without any witnesses.

A gritty, realistic portrayal of London gangland violence in the 1970s, this award-winning movie is one that will make you wriggle in your seat!

The Long Good Friday [Blu-ray]
  • 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 (1983)

Scarface is a 1983 American gangster film directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone, starring Al Pacino as Cuban refugee Tony Montana.

Tony Montana is a Cuban immigrant who takes on the Miami drug cartel. He starts off small until he kills his boss and becomes the new head of the cartel.

The story follows him as he rises through the ranks, eventually becoming one of America’s most powerful crime lords before being killed in a shootout with agents at sea.

The movie was released in theaters on December 9th, 1983 to mixed reviews from critics but received praise for its acting performances and realistic portrayal of violence. It has since been nominated for 1 Oscar award (Best Actor) which it won (Al Pacino).

The film explores themes such as the violence and decadence of the cocaine trade, capital punishment, ethnic relations, sexism, and greed.

   
Scarface 1983 - 35th Anniversary [4K UHD + Blu-ray]
  • Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer (Actors)
  • Brian De Palma (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

The film, Once Upon a Time in America (1984) is set during the prohibition era and tells the story of a Jewish gangster who becomes a Hollywood movie producer. The film is directed by Sergio Leone, an Italian director known for his westerns.

The movie chronicles the lives and adventures of four Jewish gangsters who grew up in New York during Prohibition.

The story begins with an eight-year old David “Noodles” Aaronson (played by Robert De Niro) as he runs through the streets of Manhattan to escape police officers.

Sale
Once Upon a Time in America [Blu-ray] [1984] [Region Free]
  • 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)

Martin Scorsese’s A Bronx Tale is a semi-autobiographical film about the life of an Italian boy, Calogero, growing up in New York. The story starts with his father Sonny being released from prison and quickly gets into trouble again.

It follows him through school while he deals with bullies and his home life with his mother and grandmother who don’t want him to hang around mobsters.

Sale
A Bronx Tale
  • A Bronx Tale ( 1993 )
  • A Bronx Tale ( 1993 )
  • Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato Jr. (Actors)
  • Robert De Niro (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)

Casino (1995)

Casino is a 1995 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It tells the story of the lives and crimes of two gambling addicts who work in Las Vegas for an organized crime syndicate led by Sam “Ace” Rothstein, played by Robert De Niro.

The movie has been ranked among the greatest mafia movies ever made, with some publications stating that it is one of the best movies ever made.

The film takes place mostly in 1973, with flashbacks to 1967 and 1975 that provide background information about Rothstein’s upbringing and his father’s death.

The violent world of organized crime that he inhabits costs him almost everything – family, friends, money, as well as his self-respect – before transforming him into an unrepentant criminal.

Casino is a 1995 film directed by Martin Scorsese starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Based on the non-fiction book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, written by Nicholas Pileggi.

The plot of Casino focuses on how organized crime took over casinos after Prohibition was repealed in 1933.

Sale
Casino [Blu-ray]
  • 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 crime-drama film that was written by William Monahan and directed Martin Scorsese.

It was released in 2006. The movie’s plot was based on the Hong Kong action film Infernal Affairs (2002), which was also remade in 2003 as The Departed, a film that won an Academy Award for best screenplay.

The movie tells the story of two young men, who are set to take over the positions of their superiors in the Irish mob in Boston.

One of them is among those superiors, Colin Sullivan, who has to go undercover with the Massachusetts state police force. The other young man is Frank Costello, who is actually an agent with the state police.

The movie’s story centers around the fact that both men know each other’s true identities and work to uncover each other’s true identities while keeping their own real identities secret from everyone else.

It also follows the state police officers’ attempts to control the crime gangs by going after Costello’s crew, while at the same time trying to keep their own undercover agent safe from detection.

The Departed - Il Bene E Il Male [Italian Edition]
  • leonardo di caprio, matt damon (Actors)
  • martin scorsese (Director)
  • Italian (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: G (General Audience)

Eastern Promises (2007)

Eastern Promises is a film directed by David Cronenberg and released in 2007. The story follows Anna, a midwife who takes an interest in the son of Russian mob boss Kirill after he was born prematurely and without complications at her clinic.

Eastern Promises is a 2007 thriller film directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

The movie follows the story of a mid-level Russian gangster who learns that his organization has been infiltrated by an undercover Canadian intelligence officer working for Interpol.

Sale
Eastern Promises
  • Mortensen, Viggo, Watts, Naomi, Cassel, Vincent (Actors)
  • Cronenberg, David (Director)

Gomorrah (2008)

Gomorrah is a 2008 Italian film directed by Matteo Garrone. The film follows the lives of various people living in Southern Italy, from those involved in organized crime to the law enforcement agencies that attempt to combat them.

The movie received an 8 out of 10 rating on IMDb and was nominated for multiple awards including Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards as well as Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.

The film is an account of the Camorra, a powerful Neapolitan crime syndicate. It takes place in the poor and violent Naples suburb of Scampia, which is run by gangs that are controlled by the Camorra.

The film depicts both sides of life for those living in this area: the brutal violence committed by gangsters against each other and against members of their own families; and family loyalties to other gangsters who are related through blood or marriage.

Sale
Gomorrah
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

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.
 

Ready to learn about more Film History & Film Movements?