There’s no doubt that Netflix is a hub of great films, some classic, some controversial, but all enjoyable. Not to be missed are the riveting gangster movies available on the platform. Often exploring the stories of organized crime, intrigue and innuendo, gangster films offer viewers a glimpse into a world of darkness and danger. From the early days of black and white classics such as The Public Enemy and Scarface, to the more recent films that flex the bounds of the genre, here’s a list of great gangster movies on Netflix.
The Godfather films
If any films have put gangster films on the map, it would be the epic trilogy of The Godfather films. Filmed between 1972 and 1990 with an abundance of Oscar winning and acclaimed performances, the films span generations of a mob family where loyalty, honour, family and revenge take precedence. From the rise of Vito Corleone to the fall of Michael’s family, these films give a glimpse of a world where the stakes are constantly high.
Martin Scorcese’s recent crime drama The Irishman, starring an all-star cast of Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, explores the life of a Mob hit man and his journey from his childhood street gang to the inner sanctums of the Mob. It has great acting, tense sequences and edge of the seat drama. It also gives a great insight into the Mafia politics of the time.
Another Scorcese masterpiece, Goodfellas, is considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time. With an incredible performance by Joe Pesci, it’s a film that vividly portrays a multi-dimensional world of the Mob, where loyalty and friendship coexist with violence and betrayal. With an explosive soundtrack and excellent cinematography, it’s a film that will stay with you for years to come.
The Departed is a gripping crime thriller that transcends the genre with a brilliant story line, razor-sharp screenplay and intense performance. Starring an all-star cast of Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg, it is a masterful exploration of the complexity of loyalty and ambition in the underworld. The level of suspense, surprise and irony makes it a must-see.
The Dark Knight
This classic caper drama is one of the few films that is an example of storytelling at its finest. While being a crime movie it is also a deep exploration of human motivation and morality. The legendary performance by Ledger as the Joker is an award winning tour de force. It is a twoand a half hour journey into a world where heroism is often mishandled and evil intentions are often justified.
This stylish noir thriller stars Kieran Culkin and Vera Farmiga as “gangsters without guns”. In Estoril Uncut, a corrupt police force will do anything to get what they want and a pair of con-artists must use their wits and morals to survive. The realism and sophistication of the characters make it a memorable, entertaining and captivating watch.
The Outsider brings together some of the best of Asia’s directing, writing and acting talent. A gripping tale of redemption and justice, it stars Jared Leto as an American gangster who is determined to take on the Japanese Mafia. Despite its grim setting, the film packs in moments of levity and pathos.
City Of God
Considered one of the great gangster films of the 2000s, City of God is a heavily stylized and hyper-real film that follows the lives of two young men born in the same favela in Brazil and how drastically different lives they lead. It features riveting, realistic performances, a powerful soundtrack and some of the most intense sequences.
Based on Roberto Saviano’s bestselling novel, Gomorrah is a film that takes an unflinching look at the world of organized crime in Naples. It is a multi-layered tale of power, loyalty and money, and the powerful performance by its cast punctuates the harrowing storyline.
No list of gangster films would be complete without the classic Scarface, directed by Brian De Palma and starring Al Pacino in a career-defining performance as Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee and small-time gangster who rises to fame and power in the drug world. It is an iconic film that will always remain a classic.