Saturday, April 28, 2007

Top 10 Mob-Related Movies

1. The Godfather (Widescreen Edition) / The Godfather, Part II (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)
Francis Ford Coppola, 1972; 1974
Coppola's masterpieces are not only the greatest film and sequel of the genre, but perhaps two of the best films ever made. Boasting casts featuring huge stars (Brando, Pacino, De Niro) they focus on the Corleone family, a mafia dynasty in New York from the 1920s to the late '50s. Slickly made, beautifully shot and featuring some of the finest screen performances on record.

2. Goodfellas (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Martin Scorsese, 1990
"As far back as I can remember I've always wanted to be a gangster." Focusing on the dirty end of the mafia, this film charts the rise and fall of Henry Hill, a man of Sicilian-Irish descent who works his way up the tree of organized crime in New York during the '60s and '70s. Powerful and violent, this is one of Scorsese's finest moments. Joe Pesci earnt an Oscar playing an unpredictable and terrifying gangster: just don't call him funny.

3. Mou gaan dou (Infernal Affairs)
Wai Keung Lau & Siu Fai Mak, 2002
The basis for this year's Best Picture Oscar "The Departed," this is a tense and exciting thriller which hints at the strength and depth of Asian gangster movies. Steeped in nervy and fast-paced tracking shots around the underworld of Hong Kong, and embellished with two extraordinary performances from the two lead actors, Scorsese didn't need to change much to make it an Oscar-worthy picture.

4. White Heat
Raoul Walsh, 1949
"Made it Ma! Top of the world!" A true classic of the genre, starring one of the best known and loved gangster actors, James Cagney. A dangerously deranged criminal, who is obsessed with his mother and gives little thought to killing anyone who crosses him, breaks out of prison to avenge his mother's death and secure control of his gang -- but he unwittingly takes a rat into the organization. The blueprint for modern crime thrillers.

5. Once Upon a Time in America (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Sergio Leone, 1984
An epic feast of sumptuous sets, beautiful tracking shots and outstanding performances, especially from Robert DeNiro and James Woods. A gang of children progress from small scale crimes to become embroiled in the mafia during prohibition in the U.S. with shocking and violent results. The framework that holds the story together is a dream-like wander through New York of 1968, where DeNiro relives his past. A beautiful and sedate shell to an elaborate and fascinating gangster movie.

6. Scarface (Platinum Edition)
Brian De Palma, 1983
The archetypal and truly iconic sleazy '80s gangster movie, this is the American dream gone bad. Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, arrives in Florida as a refugee from Communist Cuba, and sets out to make his fortune as a cocaine dealer, but becomes consumed with possessive greed. The movie has two of the most striking and memorable scenes in film history: one a torture scene with a chainsaw, piling on the tension with the screaming soundtrack; the other, of course, "Say hello to my leettle friend!"

7. Angels With Dirty Faces
Michael Curtiz, 1938
Another influential Cagney movie, and perhaps the first classic of the genre. The friendship of two boys from Hell's Kitchen is rekindled as one gets out of prison to find the other is a priest. Uncovering corruption throughout the city, this is a story of sacrifice and honor that proves gangsters are people too.

8. Get Carter
Mike Hodges, 1971
Michael Caine's finest hour, as he gets tough with the '70s gangsters of northern England. Relentlessly brutal, Caine works his way through the seedy underworld, and at every unpleasant turn gives a dry quip, seduces a femme fatale or wreaks bloody violence on the murderers of his brother. An unstoppable revenge movie.

9. Sexy Beast">Sexy Beast
Jonathan Glazer, 2000
One of the most extraordinary gangster films of recent times. Oscar-nominated Ben Kingsley gives one of his most remarkable turns, as a character that's the polar opposite of his most famous role, Ghandi. A misanthropic, bitter and aggressive gangster, with a penchant for colorful language, he makes this a truly unforgettable movie.

10. Cidade de Deus (City of God)
Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund, 2002
This Brazilian film shockingly paints a gangster world populated by children as brutal and heartless as any character in "Goodfellas." At once a beautiful and traumatic carnival, the movie flits between the gritty realism of life in the favelas of Rio and the dream-like existence of a child attempting to escape a world of crime.

Thanks to The Screening Room

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