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Top 10 Organized Crime Films

Organized Crime: A system or organization of people and groups engaged in criminal activities.

Organized crime can come in all different arrangements - whether it’s illegal gambling or drug trafficking it exists and will always exist. It’s a motivation of criminal acts conducted by individuals that are inspired by profit more so than anything else. Some stories are told through the eyes of the criminals, and some are told by the organizations motivated to block the increasing threat that dominates this violent criminal underworld.

The greastest organized crime films cannot be easily listed as there are so many incredible stories that have unfolded- some true and some fiction, and even though this list is of personal taste, it’s also a magnum opus of films that dwell into the lives of those involved in a balls to the wall business where the paychecks come large and early retirement comes in the shape of bullets.

Without any further ado - here are the 10 Greatest Organized Crime Films…

10. Reservoir Dogs

“If you wanna know something and he won’t tell you, cut off one of his fingers. The little one. Then tell him his thumb’s next. After that he’ll tell you if he wears ladies underwear. I’m hungry. Let’s get a taco.”

Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs is a triumphant masterpiece that has earned it’s overwhelming popularity since it’s debut in 1992. Told through flashbacks and real time, a bank heist gone wrong leaves a handfull of criminals desperate for answers, while their trust for one another is put to the test when they question their true identities. This is the movie that laid the foundation for Quentin Tarantino’s bigger films (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill) and while the film is incredibly engaging and well written, it’s in the raw ferocity that the characters exhibit that makes Reservoir Dogs such an unforgettable experience.

9. A Bronx Tale

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”

Robert DeNiro’s directorial debut is both tragically underrated and undeniably moving. The sincere tale of a young boy growing up in a part of town run by a local mafia in the 50’s and 60’s is one of the most honest and gripping films of the early 90’s. It’s as much involved in the influence the mafia has on the main character as it is with the racism so many endured at that time - and the desperation a father has in preserving his son as his own, rather than a product of the criminal society he was brought up in. Incredible performances all around and among one of my favorite films of all time.

8. American Gangster

“This is my home. My country. This is America.”

American Gangster was a surprise favorite of mine that is inspired by the true events of Frank Lucas, a low key businessman that established an up and coming drug empire in the 70’s. The film stars Denzel Washington as Lucas and Russell Crowe as the detective looking to bring the man down and discontinue the intake of illegal drugs entering the United States. Ridley Scott, while already a masterful filmmaker, has truly outdone himself with this one. American Gangster inhabits a brutal and cold harded forefront while also maintaining the dignity and honor of all the characters playing on both sides of the game in a beautifully crafted crime-epic.

7. The Godfather

“You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you or my boy to me? I forgo the vengeance of my son.”

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is arguably one of the greatest achievements in film history. It was the first of it’s kind and has been celebrated and praised beyond any other film of the genre - and while the film is a masterpiece, it’s also a monumental achievement in the works of cinematography and acting. Marlon Brando gives the performance of his career as Don Vito Corleone, and Al Pacino as his son eager to start a life of honesty and integrity far from his brothers shoehorned positions in his fathers mafia empire. The film is beautiful, tragic, gripping, and violent - but no matter what your taste in films are, it is easy to appreciate and respect The Godfather as a true classic.

6. Heat

“He knew the risks, he didn’t have to be there. It rains… you get wet.”

An incisively well crafted film by director Michael Mann - and an ambitiously character driven story that literally glides by in it’s three hour runtime. It’s as much a cop flick as it is organized crime and having two of the greatest actors of our time (Pacino and DeNiro) play the ultimate game of chess (so to speak), is a privilege to watch. While the plot itself can be more complex than algebra, Heat builds the suspense with nimble precision and some of the greatest action sequences put to film.

5. L.A Confidential

“I admire you as a policeman - particularly your adherence to violence as a necessary adjunct to the job.”

Make no mistake, L.A Confidential is a cop movie - but the dominate establishment of ongoing crime and the characters involved to every reach make this a departure of the average cops and robbers film and into a thrilling and remarkably brilliant crime masterpiece. A murder at a diner spirals three lawman into purusing the case on all different routes, only to meet at the center chaperoned by their honor, and dissimilar detective skills. The film is incredibly well done and is led by stellar performances on all fronts. Robbed at the fucking Oscars!

4. Casino

“In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.”

The great Martin Scorsese’s portrayal of the true story of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal (Renamed Sam Rothstein played by Robert DeNiro), an executive of a Las Vegas casino and his involvements with Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro (Renamed Nicky Santoro played by Joe Pesci), a rising mob boss eager to take a piece of the Vegas action for himself. Casino hits all the right marks and is a dizzying and incredibly intriguing film to sit through in it’s long runtime - but with it’s sleek pacing style and unforgiving brutal violence, Casino is much more of a ride than it is a movie. Scorsese’s ability to turn hardened criminals into leading men is an accomplishment of it’s own - and Casino more than lives upto it’s bold portrait of mafia life in 1970’s-80’s Las Vegas. Joe Pesci steals the show, but all of the players (Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Kevin Pollack, Frank Vincent, Alan King, Don Rickles) have their unforgettable moments in the spotlight just as well.

3. The Godfather Part II

"Those were the great old days… And we were like the Roman Empire… The Corleone family was like the Roman Empire…"

The second act of The Godfather story dwells heavily into Michael Corleone’s (Pacino) rise as the leading mafia boss of the Corleone empire, and parallels, through flashbacks, the backstory of his fathers profiled career in Little Italy. A colossal achievement on the part of Francis Ford Coppola and a film that far surpassed it’s predecessor in all categories. Traditional areas of tragedy seen in the first Godfather film are evident on a broader scale and the complexity of the characters are driven by their lust of power while still desperately grasping the thread of what they once were. There are not many films I consider better than The Godfather Part II, and there is a difference between having a favorite movie and stating what you feel to be the greatest film ever made - and to me, this is the greatest.

2. The Departed

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me.”

A gritty look at the world of modern organized crime and undercover informants in South Boston - Martin Scorsese’s best picture winner The Departed is a near perfect film that is not easily matched nor rivaled. A cast of titanic-talent including Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen - pave the way for a surprise a minute thriller with tight pacing, brilliant writing, and Martin Scorsese’s direction in all it’s glory.

  1. Goodfellas

    "I’m not mad, I’m proud of you. You took your first pinch like a man and you learned two great things in your life. Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut."

    It’s no secret that Martin Scorsese clearly has the chops to make a solid crime movie - and with Goodfellas, the stars shine bright. Narrating the true story of the slippery slope of his criminal career, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) rises in the ranks of the mafia with his two close friends Jimmy and Tommy (impeccably portrayed by Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci), spanning from the early 50’s to the late 80’s. As a crime film, it’s a showpiece for all others of the same genre, and Goodfellas will remain the single most influential and majestically powerful crime film ever made.

Excellent list thats almost exactly what I would say.

[quote=“Mr.Pink”]Excellent list thats almost exactly what I would say.[/quote]

Do you do that in school to?

Just write on all your essays: “The author said it pretty much exactly like I would.”


Do you do that in school to?

Just write on all your essays: “The author said it pretty much exactly like I would.”[/quote]

Did you purposly braid your ass hair?


Do you do that in school to?

Just write on all your essays: “The author said it pretty much exactly like I would.”[/quote]

Did you purposly braid your ass hair?[/quote]

Oh, so you’re a non-sequitur kind of guy?

And I purposely braided only because I’m half-Jamaican.

Okay you two, take it somewhere else please. When’s the wedding?! Jesus.

I don’t know if I would have made the same order but I probably would have picked the same 10 movies. They’re all good.

Actually I’m 100% positive that I would have put Reservoir Dogs number 1.

[quote=“Sidewinder”]Okay you two, take it somewhere else please. When’s the wedding?! Jesus.[/quote]

“Who the fuck are you, man?”

I’m your benefactor, nigga.