10 Best Irish Mob Films

Monday, March 21 by Jason Cuthbert

What does it take to be one of the 10 best Irish mob movies ever made? You need authentic acting to capture that Celtic pride, intense suspenseful situations, and believable plot details. Whether the scene is set in Irish enclaves in Boston or New York City, these are the best Irish mob movies worth seeing. 

  1. "The Departed" Internationally respected director Martin Scorsese finally won the Academy Award for Best Director for this Irish mob movie after being nominated five times previously in that category. This Boston-based crime saga follows two men with opposite allegiances infiltrating the Irish Mafia and the Massachusetts State Police. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen, this may have one of the best ensemble casts since "The Godfather: Part II".
  2. "Road to Perdition" If you could never imagine Tom Hanks as a convincing gangster, you will change your opinion with this 2002 Irish mob movie. He plays an Irish mobster whose life becomes extremely difficult after his son finds out that he is a hitman. The infamous gangster Frank Nitti is played by Stanley Tucci, who it is said smoked roughly 80 cigarettes a day during production to mimic Nitti's habit of chain smoking.
  3. "Gangs of New York" Director Martin Scorsese leaves us another potent addition to the Irish mob movie category. He pits two powerhouse actors against each other, Leonardo DiCaprio as an Irish immigrant, and Daniel-Day Lewis as a violent kingpin known as Bill 'The Butcher'. This epic historical crime drama is based on the "Five Points" district of Lower Manhattan during the 1860's.
  4. "State of Grace" Sean Penn's character Terry returns to his Hells Kitchen, NYC neighborhood and hooks back up with a childhood friend Jackie played by Gary Oldman. Jackie is now in the Irish Mob run by his brother Frankie, played with menace by Ed Harris. Loyalty is the central theme in this well-acted Irish mob movie.
  5. "The Town" The title of this film stands for Charlestown, a Boston neighborhood – notorious for mass-producing armed robbers. Ben Affleck does an amazing job directing, co-writing, and staring in this authentically flavored Irish heist film.  Affleck plays a bank robber who is ready to retire, but the Irish mobster Fergie, played by the late Pete Postlethwaite, isn't ready for him to stop earning.
  6. "Angels With Dirty Faces" The great James Cagney plays Rocky Sullivan, a well-known Irish criminal in New York City. His childhood friend becomes a priest while he was incarcerated and upon his release, his friend tries stopping him from influencing the youth in their neighborhood. Humphrey Bogart also stars as a businessman who clashes with Cagney's character.
  7. "The Boondock Saints" This Irish action crime film set in Boston, Massachusetts, stars Willem Defoe. "The Boondock Saints" is a title that refers to a pair on brothers operating as vigilantes, trying to take out their city's high level criminals. This gritty story originated from Troy Duffy, a first-time director and writer.
  8. "Miller's Crossing" The filmmaking duo known as The Coen Brothers worked their magic with this witty Prohibition-era Irish mob film. Gabriel Byrne plays Tom Reagan, a crime boss's advisor, who becomes caught between to warring mobs. The unique dialogue is filled with interesting slang such as "twist", a derogatory term for a lady and "yegg" which means a thug.
  9. "A History of Violence" Canadian director David Cronenberg features Viggo Mortensen as a small town family man who's violent past begins to unravel. Ed Harris and William Hurt play members of an Irish crime family based in Philadelphia. One interesting fact about this Irish mob movie is that it was the last significant Hollywood film to be manufactured in the VHS tape format.
  10. "Ash Wednesday" Edward Burns pulled quadruple duty in this Irish mob movie: acting, directing, writing, and producing.  Burns shares the screen with Elijah Wood, Frodo from the "Lord of the Ring's series. They play two brothers in New York City in the 1980's who get into some unfortunate trouble with the Irish Mob.