From Prohibition bootleggers to modern urban legends, these films shed light on the life of organized crime.

The Godfather- 1972

Most likely, the debate about which part of the trilogy “The Godfather” is the best will last forever. But if you’re starting with the genre, we recommend meeting Don in Francis Ford Coppola’s original version. The action takes place in New York in the 1940s, and the film itself tells about the head of the Italian mafia Vito Corleone, his family, and his business. Starring the brilliant Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Talia Shire, and Diane Keaton.

Goodfellas- 1990

Many consider “Goodfellas” the best film by Martin Scorsese, and this already says something. The film is based on Nicholas Pileggi’s book Wiseguys about the life of gangster Henry Hill. Half Irish, half Sicilian, he joins the ranks of the Brooklyn mafia, quickly getting to the top. However, Hill spoils relations with both local police and partners. It stars Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Paul Sorvino.

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City of God- 2002

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Paulo Lins about how organized crime was born in one of the districts of Rio de Janeiro – Cidade de Deus. We see the story through the eyes of two young men: a photographer who documents the growing activity of gangs and the distribution of drugs in the area and an influential drug dealer working in this environment.

The Departed- 2005

Few films have received such love as The Departed. Loyal fans even raised funds for the reshoot of the finale. Martin Scorsese’s film was a remake of the Hong Kong thriller Double Castling, set in South Boston. Law enforcement is investigating the Irish Mafia — and that’s all you need to know about the plot. In fact, this is a film about endless rat races: two rats were on opposite sides of the barricades, and the task of each is to find and neutralize the other.

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Menace II Society- 1993

The directorial debut of Allen and Albert Hughes. The film tells the story of an 18-year-old black resident of Los Angeles who dreams of escaping from the criminal situation of his native district. A strong cast (Tyrene Turner, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Lorenz Tate, and Charles Dutton) helps uncover the drama of the protagonist.

Miller’s Crossing- 1990

Of course, the Coen brothers did not ignore the criminal genre. The plot of “Miller’s Crossroads” revolves around the confrontation between the Italian and Irish mafia, focusing on the accomplice of one of the parties and his attempts to remain loyal to his clan.

American Gangster- 2007

The film by Ridley Scott tells about the life of the famous Harlem gangster Francis Lucas, who organized heroin to the United States by aircraft of the Vietnam War. Lucas’ fast-growing empire attracts the attention of the local police.

Once Upon a Time in America- 1984

The king of spaghetti westerns, Sergio Leone, steps into new territory for himself – a crime drama. The film tells the story of David Aronson (Robert De Niro) and his life on the Lower East Side of New York. We see Aronson and his gang from childhood to mature organized crime – the director turns the genre upside down with his thoughtful and multifaceted story of a life of crime.

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Reservoir Dogs- 1992

In fact, with this film began the career of Quentin Tarantino in the big cinema. The story of the failed robbery of a jewelry store absorbed everything that years later can be called Tarantino’s calling card: hyperbolic violence, liters of blood, and truly eccentric characters.


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