20 unforgettable mob movies: A gritty look into organized crime on film


Organized crime has always been a compelling subject in cinema, giving rise to some of the most iconic and unforgettable films in cinematic history. From power struggles and loyalty dilemmas to intricate plots and unforgettable characters, mob movies have captivated audiences for decades.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In this article, we explore twenty great mob movies, showcasing the brilliance of storytelling and the exploration of human nature in the midst of criminal enterprises. This is a genre that I’ve always loved, some of these movies show the romantic side of the mob, while others unveil its reality.

20 Unforgettable Mob Movies

20 unforgettable mob movies: A gritty look into organized crime on film
  • The Godfather (1972): Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece set the standard for mob films. With its captivating storytelling and powerful performances, it’s an undisputed classic that remains a pinnacle of cinematic achievement.
  • Goodfellas (1990): Martin Scorsese’s gritty portrayal of the life of a mobster remains a benchmark for authenticity and intensity. Its dynamic storytelling and compelling characters make it a must-watch.
  • The Godfather Part II (1974): Continuing the saga, this sequel deepens the exploration of the Corleone family’s dynamics while introducing a parallel story of their rise to power.
  • Scarface (1983): Brian De Palma’s take on the rise and fall of a Cuban immigrant turned drug lord in Miami is legendary for its larger-than-life portrayal of criminal excess.
  • Casino (1995): Scorsese’s exploration of the Las Vegas underworld presents a riveting account of how greed and corruption can bring down even the most powerful figures.
  • Once Upon a Time in America (1984): Sergio Leone’s epic chronicle of a group of Jewish gangsters in New York City spans decades, offering a sweeping portrayal of loyalty and betrayal.
  • The Departed (2006): Scorsese’s modern-day mob thriller is a rollercoaster of deception, with an all-star cast delivering unforgettable performances in a gripping story of cops and criminals.
  • A Bronx Tale (1993): Robert De Niro’s directorial debut offers a poignant coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of organized crime in the 1960s Bronx.
  • Donnie Brasco (1997): Based on a true story, this film explores the relationship between an undercover FBI agent and a mobster, delving into the psychological toll of living a double life.
  • The Irishman (2019): A reunion of Scorsese, De Niro, and Joe Pesci, this film utilizes cutting-edge technology to tell the story of a hitman’s involvement with the Bufalino crime family.
  • Miller’s Crossing (1990): The Coen Brothers’ take on the mob genre offers a unique blend of dark humor, intricate plotting, and complex characters.
  • Road to Perdition (2002): A visually stunning film that explores the father-son relationship amidst a backdrop of revenge and redemption within the world of organized crime.
  • Gomorrah (2008): An Italian film that provides a raw and unflinching look at the Camorra crime syndicate’s stranglehold on Naples, showcasing the brutal reality of mob life.
  • Eastern Promises (2007): David Cronenberg’s exploration of the Russian mob in London offers a visceral experience, combining intense action with thought-provoking themes.
  • Public Enemies (2009): Michael Mann’s film delves into the life of notorious bank robber John Dillinger, shedding light on the rise of the FBI’s efforts to combat organized crime.
  • American Gangster (2007): This film follows the true story of drug lord Frank Lucas and the detective determined to bring him down, offering a gripping portrayal of power and corruption.
  • Carlito’s Way (1993): Brian De Palma’s collaboration with Al Pacino takes viewers on a journey of a former criminal’s attempt to escape his past, only to find that leaving the mob isn’t so simple.
  • Black Mass (2015): Johnny Depp’s portrayal of notorious mobster Whitey Bulger is chilling in this film that examines the unholy alliance between crime and law enforcement.
  • Roadkill (2011): An Indian film that takes a unique perspective on mob life, focusing on the struggles of an ordinary man caught up in the criminal underworld.
  • The Untouchables (1987): Brian De Palma’s stylized film chronicles the efforts of federal agent Eliot Ness to bring down Al Capone, highlighting the battle between law enforcement and organized crime.


From the gritty streets of New York City to the sprawling criminal networks in Europe, mob movies have offered a window into the often brutal and morally complex world of organized crime. These twenty films, each unique in its approach and storytelling, stand as a testament to the enduring fascination audiences have with the shadows cast by the criminal underworld. Whether exploring loyalty, power dynamics, or the human psyche’s darker corners, these films have left an indelible mark on cinematic history, ensuring their place as some of the best mob movies of all time.

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Last Updated on August 29, 2023.


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