24. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)-
This movie is a classic and was on AFI’s top 30 films of all time. The movie stars Warren Beatty (Bugsy, Dick Tracy, Bulworth), Faye Dunaway (Chinatown, Little Big Man), Michael J. Pollard (Tango & Cash, Scrooged, House of 1000 Corpses), and Gene Hackman (Superman, The French Connection, The Birdcage).
What can be said of this film. If you don’t know the story of the hopeless romantics Bonnie and Clyde who engraved their name in the history books as the most well-known criminal couple of all time then you need to see this film. It shows how Bonnie and Clyde got their gang started and how it came to a tragic end.
The film had 10 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress. Bonnie and Clyde is an older film however still stands up to the test of time.Best Line: “This here’s Miss Bonnie Parker. I’m Clyde Barrow. We rob banks.”
23. History of Violence (2005)-
At first glimpse, this film doesn’t even seem like a gangster film. The film starts out with the main character named Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen). Tom lives a happy quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in a small town in Indiana. He owns a diner and is very well known in the community. One evening his diner has an attempted robbery. Why do I say attempted? Tom winds up breaking up the robbery by taking action and in the process saves all of his customers and friends by killing the two criminals in self-defense. Tom’s actions cause him to be a hero within the town and his life is changed overnight. It attracts national media which forces him into the spotlight . Tom is not very comfortable with this and you as the viewer begin asking yourself why?
As the film goes on you notice there is something shady about Tom but you can’t quite put your finger on it and then once you start to figure it out the story takes a HUGE turn. I don’t want to spoil the movie but I will tell you this film is definitely in the “Gangster Film” genre. If you have seen this movie you will know what I am talking about.
If you haven’t seen this movie, you should definitely pick it up on Netflix (especially if it's on instant... you wont' have to wait two days to see complete AWESOMENESS). The film doesn’t have a huge well known cast (only Mortensen and Ed Harris) like some of the others on this list but it still packs a lot of action and is a very powerful film.Best Line: Tom Stall: “In this family, we do not solve problems by hitting people!”
Jack Stall: “No, in this family, we shoot them!”
22. State of Grace (1990)-
When you think of gangster films set in New York City, you usually think of the Italian Mafia; Little Italy, overweight men sitting around drinking anisette, and Louis Prima blaring on the soundtrack. However, there are a couple films on this list that include the Irish Mafia; including number 24: 1990’s State of Grace.This film brings together a great cast including Sean Penn (Mystic River, Carlito’s Way), Ed Harris (The Rock, Apollo 13), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, The Professional, True Romance), Robin Wright (Jenn-ay in Forrest Gump), John Turturro (The Big Lewbowski, Miller’s Crossing) and John C Reilly in one of his first film performances(Step Brothers, Talladega Nights). The story revolves around a man named Terry Noonan (Penn) who returns home to the city’s infamous Hell’s Kitchen after a ten year absence. Working undercover in order to help the police break up his older gang, Noonan soon hooks up with his childhood friend Jackie (Oldman) who has been involved with the Irish mob alongside his older brother Frankie (Harris). While home, he hooks up with his old flame and Jackie’s sister Kathleen (Wright). As the film goes on, Terry is torn between his friends and his loyalties to others. This is a great film that shows the choices Terry must make between good and evil. The question is: Which one is evil; the law or the loyalty to his friends?
Best Line: Terry Noonan (Penn): “What the fuck you doing? You’ll blow us up!”
Jackie Flannery (Oldman): Hundred yard dash.
21. Leon: The Professional (1994)-Leon is not your average gangster. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t steal, he doesn’t care about money, and he doesn’t try to pick up tons of women. He likes his glass of milk, he loves his plants, and he leads a very simple life in a crappy apartment. However, he does know how to be a great hitman and that is why he is called The Professional.
The film starring Jean Reno (Godzilla, Ronin, The Davinci Code) as Leon, Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, True Romance, State of Grace), and a young Natalie Portman (V For Vendetta, Black Swan, The Star Wars Prequels) in her acting debut (she was 13 when the film debuted) tells the story of a hitman and his little sidekick Mathilda (Portman).
Mathilda is a little 12 year old girl who is living a life that most 12 year old girls don’t live. Her father stores drugs in her apartment for a two-faced cop Norman Stansfield (Oldman). Her next door neighbor is the very quiet Leon (Reno). One day Stansfield comes to the family’s apartment and blows away the entire family… or so he thought. Mathilda was out shopping and comes back to hear the gunfire and takes refuge in Leon’s apartment. Once she finds out what Leon’s real profession is, she seeks help in taking revenge for her family's sadistic murder. Leon who is completely oblivious to knowing how to take on a father role, tries to do his best to keep Mathilda out of trouble however is unsuccessful. Without giving the story away, Leon and his new friend Mathilda go out to find Norman Stansfield and kill him.
Oldman does an amazing job as playing the psychotic two-faced cop Norman Stansfield and shows to the audience how a cop can also be a gangster.
1. Leon (Reno)- “The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client. The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is the last thing you learn.”
2. Stansfield (Oldman)- “I haven’t got time for this Mickey Mouse bullshit!”
3. Stansfield (Oldman)- “I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It’s like when you put your head to the grass and you can hear the growin’ and you can hear the insectssssssss. Do you like Beethoven?”
Malky- “uhhh… I couldn’t really say.”
20. Road to Perdition (2002)-
Road to Perdition was directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty). If you have seen the film, you will notice the similarities in the way the cinematography is in American Beauty and in Road to Perdition. The way the movie is filmed you will know that this will be a very dark film. Almost the entire film is either set at night time or during the day with overcast or rain. This helps show the audience how it will progress.
The film stars Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, and the ultimate classic That Thing You Do!...key laugh…) , Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting), Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes, Cold Mountain, Enemy At The Gates), Tyler Hoechlin (7th Heaven, MTV’s new series Teen Wolf), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Fast Time at Ridgemont High, Backdraft, Rush), and Daniel Craig (Defiance, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Munich). The story starts out with Mike Sullivan (Hanks) at a funeral with his family. Also at the funeral is his father figure and crime boss John Rooney (Newman). Sullivan works for Rooney as a hitman. While at the funeral you see the good relationship Rooney has with Sullivan’s family including his son Michael Sullivan Jr. (Hoechlin).
After the funeral Sullivan (Hanks) goes to an abandoned warehouse with his partner and Rooney’s son Connor (Craig). On their way, Sullivan Jr. sneaks into the back of his father’s car because he is curious to see what his father does for a living. Once they get to the warehouse, he sees first-hand what his father does as Sullivan and Rooney kill a man in a chair with machine guns. The son finally gets caught by his father and Rooney and that is where the story picks up. Now Rooney and his father John (Newman) put a hit out on Sullivans family for witnessing the murder. Rooney goes out to Sullivan’s house and kills his wife (Leigh) and his children. Little does Rooney know that Sullivan Jr. was out of the house at the time. Rooney’s father pulls up and decides they are now on the run from Rooney and the Irish Mob.
Throughout the film you see the relationship between father and son build and by the end of the film their bond is stronger than oak. The filming of this movie is absolutely astounding (causing Conrad L. Hall to pick up the Oscar for Best Cinematography). Road to Perdition is extremely well done and well-acted all the way up to the final shocking moments of the film.
Famous Tagline: “Every son holds the future for his father.”