10 Best Irish Mob Movies

Monday, February 7 by Charlie Walker

Check out our contributor’s choices for the 10 Best Irish Mob Movies. Before there were Corleones and Sopranos, there were the Irish. In the early 30’s and 40’s, the Irish mob was considered a Hollywood staple. Even today, some of the most unique gangster movies harken back to the days when Irish immigrants ruled the big cities like New York and Chicago.

  1. “The Boondock Saints” While not actually Irish mob themselves, these Iris brothers live in organized crime territory, with drug pushers, mob unions, and general scum at every turn. When it comes to Irish mob movies, this movie truly has moxy.
  2. “The Boondock Saints II, All Saints Day” Normally, a sequel would not stand a chance at making a list of the best Irish mob movies. However, just like "The Godfather" sequels each stood on their own merit, so does this fantastic mob film. Guns, explosions, cool dialogue, you could almost argue this one was better than the original.
  3. “Angels with Dirty Faces” All we need to say about this one is James Cagney and Hell’s Kitchen. Those two names are synonymous with Irish mob movies. It’s the classic story of tough gangs, street kids, and guys just out of prison. It’s gritty and timeless, even today.
  4. “State of Grace” Good Irish mob movies can still be found, even if the typical Italian mob stereotypes tend to overshadow them. Such is the case with “State of Grace,” starring Sean Penn. The Irish Westies control everything west of Times Square, but the yuppies threaten to push them out, until they team up with the Italians. This one’s tough, brutal, and at times, a little unnerving.
  5.  “Southie” New York and Chicago aren’t the only settings for good Irish mob movies. “Southie” portrays Irish life in South Boston, home of some of the most powerful backroom Irish mobsters in modern history. Critics might not like it, but true Southies will tell you, this one will give you a real taste of what life for Southies is really like.
  6. “The Public Enemy” James Cagney’s big screen debut, this is a classic Irish mob movie. It’s a classic gangster vs. family values tale. One brother’s a bootlegger in the Irish mob, the other a do-gooder out to reform him. If you want classic Irish mob movies, this is the one to watch.
  7. “The Friends of Eddie Coyle" What happens when an Irish gunrunner becomes a snitch? Naturally, the mob sends his best buddy to off him. Starring Peter Boyle and Robert Mitchum, this might be a stereotypical gangster story, but it’s still one of the best Irish mob movies.
  8. “Gangs of New York” "Gritty" and "raw" barely begin to describe this movie about Irish gang rivalries in the mid-1800’s. Irish gangs run the famous Five Points area, and they don’t think twice about beating each other bloody. Imagine Leonardo DiCaprio beating Daniel Day-Lewis to a bloody pulp. Watch the movie and see for yourself.
  9. “The Departed” On a list of the ten best Irish mob movies of all time, Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" is up near the top. See if you can keep up with the plot. A Massachusetts State Trooper is really a snitch for the Irish mob. On the other hand, a mob insider turns snitch for the cops. Just try to keep up, if you can. Assuming you follow all the twists and backstabbing, it’s a very well done movie.
  10.  “The Town” Boston, heavy Irish mob influence, and a gang of Irish-American bank robbers, now doesn’t that sound like a cool new twist on an old movie theme? Check out Ben Affleck in this gritty, fast-paced action adventure. He co-wrote, directed, and starred, adapting the screenplay from the book, "Prince of Thieves."

COMMENTS

  1. February 7, 2011 9:05 pm

    Dmso

    The Boondock Saints movies #1 & 2 and The Departed only 9th? And where’s Miller’s Crossing?


  2. February 7, 2011 9:05 pm

    JP

    Check out this link to tribute project for “The Friends of Eddie Coyle”: We recreated 2 scenes, did a trailer, homage to David Grusin who wrote the music and have behind the scenes photos:
    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=8171861DD8577ACA


  3. February 7, 2011 9:05 pm

    Leopard

    Lame- Action cartoon lovers list. “The Friends of Eddie Coyle nowhere to be seen.


  4. February 7, 2011 9:05 pm

    IrishLeopardtv

    I see Eddie Coyle got at least a mention in the comments, below. And yes- no “Millers Crossing”. OMG!