Call him Godfather Simply influential Francis Ford Coppola’s would be an understatement, the gangster epic changed cinema and mafia movie forever, and countless movies have tried to follow in its footsteps. Although few trusted the title before production, The Godfather it became one of the highest-grossing films of all time upon its release and is now widely regarded as one of the best films to hit theaters.
Gangster movies, of course, existed before Coppola made them, but few, if any, had given their mobster characters such depth and emotional complexity. Since the premiere of The Godfather, there has been a staggering number of movies starring Italian-American mobsters, averaging nine per year since 1972.
10 A Tale from the Bronx Offers a Different Look at De Niro in a Gangster Movie
Robert De Niro has been a true powerhouse in Hollywood for more than 40 years, and his reputation for playing irresistible gangsters that audiences can’t help but support is only rivaled by his co-star from The Godfather: Part II, Al Pacino. De Niro is known for playing bad men, so when it was released A tale from the Bronx Back in 1993, it was a pleasant surprise to see De Niro bring such a neutrally good character to life in a mobster movie.
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De Niro plays Lorenzo, a hard-working bus driver whose son falls into the temptations of mob life. De Niro also directs this mature drama, and while it contains many of the expected ingredients of a gangster movie, it is an unusually poignant movie.
9 Pacino might have his own gangster character mount Rushmore and Scarface is one of them
Brian De Palma brilliantly used Al Pacino, from The Godfather, for his own gangster movie, Scarface, in 1983, causing Pacino to go from being a soft-spoken and cold person, to being a loudmouth and a hardhead.
Michael Corleone’s decline in morality served to inspire a wide range of characters from both the gangster genre and the cinema in general. Despite the fact that Tony Montana stands in stark contrast to Corleone in terms of personality and temperament, both men shed their morality as they rise through the world of crime. Both roles are often referred to as the best of Pacino’s career, and Scarface it deservedly ranks alongside Coppola’s classic as examples of the greatness of gangster cinema.
8 New Jack City is a ruthless and fascinating criminal thriller
New Jack City, starring Wesley Snipes, is inspired by The Godfather when it comes to dealing with family betrayals, intense violence and the struggle to get away from the life of crime when you have grown up in it. Mario Van Peebles directs and also stars in the thriller alongside Snipes, and with the support of the talents of Chris Rock and Ice-T, craft a surprisingly grounded, yet gritty and absorbing story.
The film also avoids glamorizing the lifestyle of drug lords, leaving its strong anti-drug message to be praised by many critics. New Jack City It’s one of the best gangster movies of the 90s and it’s still hugely influential.
7 Road to Perdition is a throwback to classic gangster movies
Although many actors are synonymous with the gangster genre and spend much of their careers playing mobsters on screen, the prolific and immensely talented Tom Hanks is not one of them. Given Hanks’s reputation as one of Hollywood’s greats, it should come as no surprise that his entry into the gangster movie catalog more than lives up to expectations.
At times, Road to Perdition seems like a throwback to the gangster movies of yore, particularly those of The Godfather. Of course, the presence of Tinseltown legend Paul Newman contributes to this, but the film also features the talents of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law and James Bond himself, Daniel Craig.
6 There’s more of Al Pacino’s greatness in Donnie Brasco
Organized crime has received many representations over the years in film, but few are as nuanced and rich as Donnie Brasco’s. The 1997 film puts Johnny Depp in the cowboy boots of an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates the Bonanno crime family. His friend and mentor in the movie is Lefty, played by the great gangster Al Pacino.
DonnieBrasco is loosely based on a true story and, like The Godfather, offers a lot of twists and turns and surprises. Backstabbing is a constant in gangster movies, but those of Donnie Brasco are among the most exciting of the genre.
5 Infernal Affairs makes double betrayal seem like an art
Although the American remake of Infiltrated it may be the most famous movie in western world, Hong Kong gangster cinema masterpiece, Infernal Affairs, is preferred by many. The movie is much heavier in action than El Godfather, but Infernal Affairs evens out emotional depth in a way that has rarely been seen in the genre since Coppola’s 1972 film.
Tony Leung and Andy Lau shine as protagonists, and the film’s unpredictable plot is full of twists and turns that will delight any fan of gangster movies, or the action thriller in general.
4 We Own The Night winks at the greats in all the right places
A look at Robert Duvall in We Own The Night will likely conjure up nostalgic images of his iconic character Tom Hagen from the movies. The Godfather, and backtracking is welcome, since We Own The Night is an intense, captivating and tragic film with many similarities to Coppola’s.
Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg and Eva Mendes lead the cast. One particular death scene in the film is simply jaw-dropping in execution, and it might as well be in the running for the best death scene in gangster film history.
3 Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels is the genius of British baddies
Considered by many to be the best British crime film, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels took a page from the book by The Godfather by hiring ex-criminals from real life to appear in the film. Although he wasn’t one of them, the film also introduced the ever-charismatic Jason Statham to the world.
Guy Ritchie’s classic could be described as The Godfather mixed with Pulp Fiction, but it is more than capable of supporting itself. Lock, Stock is unique, exciting, and offers a surprising amount of fun for a gangster movie.
2 South Korean stars team up in glorious New World gangster drama
Korean cinema has gained momentum around the world in recent years thanks to Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning film, ParasiteBut South Korea has been blessing movie theaters with fantastic movies for decades, and one of its best entries into the gangster genre is New World, the Park Hoon Jung.
The movie is replete with references to The Godfather and it is more suggestive than many of its counterparts. New World It also features some of the best actors in South Korea, such as Choi Min-sik from Oldboy and I Saw The Devil.
1 Goodfellas might be the only mobster movie that can compete with Coppola’s classic
Martin Scorsese’s mob classic is essentially a guarantee on any “best gangster movies” list, Goodfellas takes many of the themes and ideas explored in Coppolla’s masterpiece and gives the subgenre its biggest update.
The Godfather: Part IIRobert De Niro delivers his typical brilliance alongside protagonist Ray Liotta, but it’s Joe Pesci who takes the cake. Goodfellas he won numerous awards, including the Oscar for best supporting actor for Pesci. It may not be as stylish as The GodfatherBut Scorsese’s story about Henry Hill and his companions is just as iconic.
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10 movies clearly inspired by The Godfather