Top 8 Best Gangster Movies Of All Time

Top 8 Best Gangster Movies Of All Time

Are you someone who loves crime movies? Are you a gangster movie lover? Then this article might interest you. Here we have listed the best gangster movies of all time that people have loved throughout the ages and still now can watch it numerable times. These movies are classic a created a new genre of movies that people became a fan of in the late 1920s. 

Then you must read this article where we have listed the top 8 best gangster movies of all time. In this article you will find lists of gangster movies spanning across different time periods from the “Pre-Code” era to the 21st century. These movies are works of art that remain equally fascinating for present movie lovers, especially crime genre lovers. 

The Pre-Code era was during the late 1920s when the movie Underworld came out creating an environment where everyone wanted to interact with criminals. With the Underworld becoming a hit movie among the masses, it was eminent that a new crime genre was becoming popular in the urban scene. 

These Pre-code era movies was full of violence, drug trade, profanity and illicit sex. People became fans of these crime genre films and fantasized about living a life outside of the law. Urban population especially want to live a lifestyle shown in these era movies. 

The bad boy and gangster fantasies that the present generation goes gaga about all stems from the Pre-code era gangster movies. These movies are timeless and will remain so. Here are some of the best gangster movies of all time that people have loved through the decades. 

Origins Of Gangster Movies: A Little About Pre-Code Movies

Origins Of Gangster Movies: A Little About Pre-Code Movies 

During the 1930s, Hollywood saw a new wave of crime genre movies that glorified violence, illicit sex, drug trade and gangsters. During the pre-code era two major types of crime movies were mostly released, prison films and gangster movies. 

Among the gangster movies was the Underworld (1927), the first movie whose success led to a series of gangster movies made from the same movie template. The movie Little Caesar (1931), Scarface (1932), and The Public Enemy (1931) all followed Underworld with same genre of movie and became hit in an instance. 

All these movies highlighted the rise and fall of organized criminals that gave birth to modern day Hollywood gangster movie genre. What was more fascinating was the pre-code era movies’ stories revolved around real life gangsters. 

Al Capone or “Scarface”, an American businessman and gangster and leader of Chicago Outfit from 1925 to 1931. John Dillinger an American gangster during the Great depression who was known to rob several banks and police stations and arrested several times but escaped.  

Now that you are somewhat caught up on the origins of gangster movies that shaped the present view about gangsters among the masses. Let’s now talk about the top 20 best gangster movies of all time through the years. 

Top 8 Gangster Movies Of All Time

Origins Of Gangster Movies: A Little About Pre-Code Movies 

Here are the top 20 best gangster movies of all time that have a separate fan base who can watch the film numerable times. These are the best gangster movies ever that remain timeless today, tomorrow and forever. 

Scarface (1932) 

If we are talking about the best gangster movies of all time and not starting with Scarface which is a movie loosely based on the real-life American gangster, Al Capone. Scarface is a movie based on the 1929 novel, Armitage Trail, based on gangster Al Capone.  

The movie was directed by Howard Hawks and stars Paul Muni as “Tony” Camonte, an Italian immigrant gangster. Scarface was an extremely violent movie and drew heavy criticism for its explicit scenes. The movie was banned in numerous countries post the remake of the movie in 1983. 

The movie’s popularity led to a remake in 1983 with Scarface, staring Al Pacino as the “Tony Montana.” Scarface remake of 1983 was directed by Brian De Palma and collected 66 million dollars at the box office. 

Modern day games like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City take inspiration from this movie while constructing the Miami crime scene in their games. Similarly, several TV shows like Miami Vice also draw its inspiration from Scarface and so many more movies and shows. 

The Public Enemy (1931) 

If you want to know what is the best gangster movie of all time? Then it will be The Public Enemy. The Public Enemy is another top gangster movie that opened the road for more gangster movies in the 1930s.  

The Public Enemy with its powerful story of the rise and fall of two organized crime gangsters, Tom and Matt. James Cagney played ‘Tom’ while Edward Woods played ‘Matt’ phenomenally under the direction of Willian A. Wellman. 

This movie is iconic with its explicit scenes, profanity and violence that highlighted the intense time during The Great Depression. The movie throws light on complex moral decisions which man takes in face of survival. As American wealth in 1920s that exhausted itself in the later decades was being captured in these pre-code era movies. 

Little Caesar (1931) 

Little Caesar is another best gangster movies of all time based on the real-life American gangster, Al Capone. Little Caesar was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and stars Edward G. Robinson as Little Caesar along with Glenda Farrel and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. 

The Godfather (1972) 

When discussing the best gangster movies of all time, this 1972 gem of a movie cannot be forgotten. A timeless piece of art ‘The Godfather’ which stars Al Pacino as Micheal Corleone, youngest son of Don Vito Corleone played by Marlon Brando.  

The Godfather is directed by Francis Ford Coppola and it’s a trilogy with two other parts which are also timeless. The movie is about Micheal, who is given the Corleone family business by his father, Don Corleone the mafia family head. 

And it’s with Micheal’s decision that led to grave trouble for his loved ones. To know more about what happens in the movie you can binge watch the movie online. 

The Killing (1956) 

The Killing is one of the best gangster films ever to be directed by Stanley Kubrick. The Killing stars Sterling Hayden and Coleen Gray in the leading role of Johnny Clay and Fay.  

The Killing is a noir film that is based on a complex race-trach heist masterminded by Johnny Clay before marries his girlfriend, Fay. Put all hell breaks loose when his plan gets spoiled because of a lady and her boyfriend. 

To learn who this lady and her boyfriend is and what happens next you will have to watch the movie here-

Touch Of Evil (1958) 

When asked what is the best gangster movie of all time? Some would say it’s the movie Touch of Evil by Orson Welles. The movie was initially partly re-written and re-shot before Orson Welles was removed from directing this piece of art. But he was later reinstated as the director of the film.  

The movie stars Charlton and Janet Leigh. The movie throws light on drugs trades at the U.S. – Mexico border, murders and police corruption. Welles’ also plays his role as corrupt bent cop Quinlan and made the character memorable as one of the most memorable villains of all time.  

This movie is said to be the last of the crime thrillers in film noir genre in 1950s.  

Once Upon A Time In America (1984)  

Once Upon A Time In America is one of the best gangster movies of all time which was directed by Sergio Leone, a legendary Italian filmmaker. Robert De Niro, a celebrated American actor and producer who gave his film career’s best performance as an opium sick and conflicted gangster in this movie. 

This movie also stars James Wood as ‘Max.’ This movie is based on the novel, The Hoods by Harry Grey about two friends David Aaronson or Noodles and Maximilian Bercovicz or Max played by Wood. These two friends lead the Jewish ghetto youths to rise as prominent gangsters in the New York City.  

If these in one film which Americans think deserves to be in the top five greatest gangster movies of all time it will be Once Upon a Time in America.  

The Godfather Part II (1974) 

The Godfather Part II is the second installation from The Godfather Trilogy. The movie is directed by Francis Ford Coppola and stars celebrated actors Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro.  

Robert De Niro plays the role of mafia head Vito Corleone and Pacino as his youngest son, Michael Corleone in the movie. The movie shows the events after Micheal was given the responsibility to head the family business but fails to succeed.  

While his father’s popularity is still on the rise in the Underworld, Michael ponders the decision he made that led to his moral descent. But Michael must fight his enemies even if it means getting help of his brother, Sonny Corleone played by James Caan.  

The film is a flawless movie among gangster theme films with unforgettable music that intensifies the scenes throughout. If there is one movie or three, we would suggest you start with when watching gangster crime movies?  

It would be The Godfather Trilogy. 


According to you, what is the best gangster movie of all time from your list of gangster movies. Let us know which are your best gangster movies of all time that you feel should be on this list. Are any of these listed gangster movies among them? If so, which one?

Read More…

Livin’ In A Gangsta’s Paradise: The Era Of Gangster Movies
100 Crore Club Movies: Bollywood Box Office Collection
The Ultimate Guide to the Top 49 New Hindi Movies on Netflix

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *