Must Watch British Gangster Movies

Sexy Beast (2000)

The 2000 movie Sexy Beast is an iconic British gangster crime drama. It follows the story of retired ex-gangster Gary Dove, an ageing yet fit, strong and charismatic figure. He is living a peaceful life in Spain until some mobsters attempt to drag him back into the criminal underworld. Ray Winstone’s character realism is a convincing performance that brings the notion of being vulnerable with being tough alive.

The movie has strong cinematography and a witty story line. It uses dark humor to tackle dark sensitive topics. Director of the movie Jonathan Glazer’s artistic style is evident in the backdrop of Spain and its spiritual intensity.

The movie’s writers,Louis Mellis and David Scinto, pack the movie with plenty of complex and dangerous characters that always keeps the audience guessing.

The scene in which Ben Kingsley’s character, Don Logan, is talking to Himself in the car is one of the finest performances in British Drama. It is an extremely powerful display of emotional roller coaster, excellently placed humor and, of course, Kingsley’s delivery is incredible.

Another notable aspect is the excellent soundtrack that complements the intense scenes.

Overall, Sexy Beast is an intense, violent and deeply disturbing drama that explores the criminal underworld in a British setting. It’s a must watch movie for any fans of British gangster films.

Snatch (2000)

Snatch, released in 2000, is one of the most beloved and well known British Gangster flicks. Written and directed by the iconic Guy Ritchie, it follows the story of a group of criminals fighting against each other to gain possession of a priceless diamond. It packs oodles of dark humour and witty scripting, something that Ritchie is so well known for.

The movie has one of the most star-studded casts of any British gangster film, with names such as Brad Pitt, Jason Statham and Dennis Farina lending their talents. Pitt’s character is especially noteworthy thanks to his comic timing and delivery.

The movie makes sure to take the concept of dark humour and turns it into something truly enjoyable. It packs enough of an intense storyline to keep the audience engaged, but also lightens it enough to make the overall experience enjoyable.

Ritchie also takes ample time to build a believable backdrop of illegal underworld dealings, as he shines light onto the shadier parts of London and its rural areas.

Snatch is a movie full of gratifying entertainment, impressive performances and a well written story. It stands as one of the most beloved pieces of British gangster cinema and any fan of the genre must watch it.

Layer Cake (2004)

2004’s Layer Cake is director Matthew Vaughn’s love letter to the British gangster genre. It follows the story of a drug baron in the high-rolling London underworld, who is trying to make a lucrative drug deal without getting caught up in the crossfire of a gang turf war.

Besides being a well told story, Layer Cake is one of the most stylish entries in the genre, as Vaughn’s visual style is reminiscent of the work of classic film noir directors. The film is shot in stunning clarity, as Vaughn goes for a slick, highly saturated look. The colors jump off the screen and add to the energy of the film.

The real standout performance of Layer Cake belongs to Daniel Craig as the main character, who manages to be effortlessly cool and intimidating. He delivers an incredibly nuanced performance which adds an extra layer to the character. Craig’s performance is the highlight of the film and one of the reasons why it’s a must watch.

The soundtrack of the movie also adds to the energy and intensity of the proceedings, as it perfectly complements the visuals.

Layer Cake is a well written and executed Britsh Gangster movie that any fan should watch. It stands out due to its visual style and Craig’s enigmatic performance.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is one of the most influential British gangster comedies ever made. Released in 1998, it was Guy Ritchie’s directorial debut and was an instant success. It follows the story of four middle-class guys from London’s East End who get ripped off by an underworld crime boss, and consequently have to pull off a complex heist to repay their debts.

Ritchie has managed to capture the chaos of his own criminal landscape and has crafted a gripping story from it. He also takes the opportunity to simultaneously lampoon the very subjects that he is satirizing. From this combination, emerges a highly effective narrative about a group of individual struggling to better their lives and keep one step ahead of the criminal world.

The movie is fully loaded with outrageous characters that shout and cuss in East-End slang. There are plenty of scenes that will stay with you even after the movie is finished. One such standout moment is when Vinnie Jones belts out an unforgettable monologue while challenging an increasingly disgruntled mobster.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is an influential, cult classic of the British gangster genre. It’s a lighthearted and chaotic piece of entertainment that should not be missed by any fan of the genre.

Essex Boys (2000)

Essex Boys, released in 2000, is one of the grittiest, most hard-hitting British gangster movies. The movie focuses on the story of three criminals, who are also best friends, and the violent and bloody events that follow a botched drug deal.

The movie is most notable for its intense and depressing atmosphere. There is an overall sense of despair that follows the characters throughout the movie, something that director Ronny Yu captures perfectly. His steady direction keeps the movie moving and allows the audience to experience the full emotional range of the characters.

The performances of Sean Bean and Sean Pertwee are top-notch and their characters are incredibly believable. The script and their portrayals make them feel like real, tangible people, and it is easy to empathise with their plight.

Essex Boys has a slow build to an explosive climax, and the final showdown is one of the most intense scenes in modern British cinema. The payoff is well worth it, and the audience will leave the movie feeling drained and exhausted.

Essex Boys is a powerful and intense British gangster flick that any fan should watch. The performances, the direction and the story will leave a lasting impact on the audience.

The Long Good Friday (1980)

The Long Good Friday, released in the year 1980, is one of the most iconic British gangster movies of all time. It follows the story of Harold Shand, a powerful crime mob boss in London who faces a mysterious circumstances that threaten his empire.

The movie is most interesting in its exploration of the inner workings of the British criminal underworld. It has many memorable characters and an engaging story, something that director John Mackenzie captures in an artistic and emotionally charged way.

The performances of Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren are outstanding and contribute to why the movie’s characters feel so believable and alive. There is a sense of camaraderie and despair in the characters that is incredibly engaging.

The movie is also famous for its soundtrack. Composed by the great Chas Jankel, it manages to capture the intense energy of the movie in a beautiful way. It adds an extra element of tension to the proceedings, something that the audience will no doubt appreciate.

The Long Good Friday stands as one of the greatest British gangster movies of all times and any fan of the genre should watch it. It is remembered for its performances, its soundtrack and its exploration of the criminal world.

The Business (2005)

The Business, released in the year 2005, is a fierce and raw piece of British gangster cinema. It follows the story of a small time criminal who is quickly rising up the ladder of the criminal underworld.

The movie is directed by British cult classic director, Nick Love, and it is easy to see why he was attracted to the project. His great storytelling skill is clearly evident in the movie and he captures the criminal lifestyle with great accuracy.

The movie is also great for a number of other reasons. Danny Dyer’s performance is great and his character is both intimidating and emotionally complex. This is further elevated by the excellent performances of James McGrath and Tamer Hassan.

The movie contains plenty of exciting and thrilling scenes, as well as moments of tenderness. It also contains numerous stomach-churning moments as the audience watches helplessly as our protagonist descends further and further into a life of crime.

The Business is an exciting, raw and intense piece of cinema. The performances, direction and story all come together in a powerful and timeless package that is a must watch for any British gangster fans.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

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