2013 was a great year for gangster movies. From Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street to David O.Russell’s American Hustle, the year offered movie buffs many great gangster dramas. For those who love the genre, here are some must-see gangster movies from 2013.
The Wolf of Wall Street was the biggest hit of the year. This Martin Scorsese film starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who made a fortune on Wall Street in the mid-90s. With a star-studded cast and an edgy, visceral approach to storytelling, The Wolf of Wall Street delivered a wild ride that highlighted the extremes of wealth and power.
American Hustle was another triumph in the gangster genre. Starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, this David O.Russell film follows con-artists Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser as they scheme their way through the criminal underworld of 1970s New York. With compelling performances, direction and a masterful script, American Hustle was one of the most entertaining gangster movies of the year.
The Great Gatsby was a lavish big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. With Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, this version of the story introduces us to Jay Gatsby and his glamorous lifestyle of bootlegging and excess. This was a visual feast that also touched on themes of love, loss, and the American Dream.
Gangster Squad was another 2013 release that impressed audiences. Starring Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone, this Joel and Ethan Coen-penned film follows the gangster Mickey Cohen and his battle with the LAPD’s special unit. Featuring stylish direction and expertly choreographed action sequences, Gangster Squad was one of the most thrilling gangster movies of the year.
The Counselor was one of the most divisive gangster movies of the year. Starring Michael Fassbender as a lawyer who gets involved in a black-market drug deal, this Ridley Scott-directed film follows the consequences of this decision and how it affects those around him. With a star-studded cast, masterful direction and a thought-provoking script, The Counselor explored the dark side of the gangster genre.
Biography Gangster Movies
For fans of the genre, this year saw some excellent biographical gangster movies. The first of these was Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, which followed the tumultuous relationship between legendary entertainer Liberace and his much-younger lover Scott Thorson. This HBO movie was beautifully shot and packed with strong performances, including a memorable turn by Michael Douglas.
The other biographical gangster movie of the year was Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Starring Idris Elba, this adaptation of Mandela’s memoirs follows his struggle to end the Apartheid in South Africa. With powerful performances and spectacular visuals, this emotionally charged biopic showed the man behind the legend.
2013 was also a great year for gangster comedies. Paul Feig’s Identity Thief starred Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in the story of a corporate accountant who is trying to restore his identity after it was stolen by a ruthless criminal. Mixing humor with clever plot twists and an engaging lead performance, Identity Thief was one of the funniest gangster comedies of the year.
The other standout gangster comedy of 2013 was Pain & Gain. Directed by Michael Bay, this darkly comic crime thriller follows three bodybuilders who get involved in a Miami kidnapping and extortion scheme. With its tongue-in-cheek approach and surprisingly effective performances, Pain & Gain proved to be a delightful surprise.
For fans of mafia movies, 2013 had something to offer as well. The first of these was Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as infamous mobster Whitey Bulger. This biopic follows the rise and fall of the notorious mob boss, and Depp’s fascinating performance is worth the price of admission alone.
The other stand-out mafia movie of the year was The Family. Directed by Luc Besson, this comedy-drama follows a mafia family who is relocated to a small town in France. With its unique mix of humor and heart, The Family was an entertaining ride that delved into some unexpected dramatic territory.
Gangster Action Movies
The year was also packed with gangster action movies. The first of these was The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as two mismatched cops who are tasked with taking down a ruthless criminal. With its fiesty leads and heaps of humor, The Heat was one of the most enjoyable gangster action movies of the year.
The other standout gangster action movie of 2013 was 2 Guns. Starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, this buddy-cop action-comedy followed two undercover agents who are unwittingly caught up in a dangerous drug-and-arms trafficking operation. Filled with outrageous action set-pieces, 2 Guns proved to be one of the most entertaining ganster films of the year.
Romantic Gangster Movies
2013 also saw a few romantic gangster movies. The first of these was Gangster Squad, which followed the tumultuous affair between a former LAPD cop and a mob moll. With its sizzling chemistry and pulse-pounding action, this was one of the most entertaining romantic crime films of the year.
The other standout romantic gangster movie of the year was The Place Beyond the Pines. Directed by Derek Cianfrance, this slow-burning drama follows a stunt motorcycle rider as he embarks on a life of crime to provide for his family. With its gorgeous cinematography and compelling performances, The Place Beyond the Pines was a stirring exploration of the consequences of a life of crime.
2013 was also a great year for crime noir films. The first of these was The Frozen Ground,which starred Nicolas Cage and John Cusack in the story of a serial killer who is being hunted by a grizzled private detective. With its intense atmosphere and gripping performances,The Frozen Ground was one of the best crime films of the year.
The other crime noir of 2013 was John Hillcoat’s Triple 9. Starring an ensemble cast including Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kate Winslet, this film follows a group of crooks who plan a daring heist while a police officer is hot on their tail. Packed with intense action sequences and a twist-filled plot,Triple 9 showed why crime noir is one of the most exciting genres of film.
Italian Gangster Movies
For those who love Italian gangster films, 2013 had a few offerings. The first of these was The Iceman, starring Michael Shannon as the notorious mob enforcer Richard Kuklinski. With its gritty atmosphere and committed performances, The Iceman proved to be one of the most thrilling Italian gangster films of the year.
The other Italian gangster movie of 2013 was The Immigrant. Directed by James Gray, this romance-drama stars Joaquin Phoenix as an aspiring magician who falls for an immigrant from Poland. With its beautiful visuals and heartbreaking plot, The Immigrant was one of the most poignant Italian gangster films in recent memory.