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!
“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.
"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.