10 Best Movie Gangsters

Tuesday, January 25 by Shawn Lealos

The 10 best movie gangsters have been appearing in movies since the start of cinema. The movie gangsters lead great mafia families, work as tireless servants in organized crime as well as work to move up the ranks to hopefully one day surpass their predecessors.

  1. Michael Corleone – Al Pacino stars as Michael Corleone, the star of "The Godfather" trilogy and one of the best movie gangsters. Michael begins as a war hero and honest man but, after his father is gunned down and his brother is murdered, he finds himself the don of the most powerful mafia family.
  2. Tony Montana – Tony Montana is the lead character in the 1983 remake of "Scarface" and remains one of the best movie gangsters in cinema history. Montana is a popular character, portrayed in the movie by Al Pacino, and is an iconic figure in the world of hip hop music as well as influential on all gangsters since.
  3. Vito Corleone – Before Michael took over the family, his father Vito was the most powerful man in the mafia and one of the best movie gangsters. Marlon Brando plays Vito with a compassion and family values that is unusual in gangster movies. He led his family to greatness and Michael simply followed his father’s footsteps.
  4. Tommy DeVitoJoe Pesci won an Oscar for his role as Tommy DeVito in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” one of the best movie gangsters in cinema history. Tommy DeVito was an aggressive gangster with a short temper and provided much of the tension and drama in the amazing gangster movie.
  5. Tom Powers – James Cagney stars as Tom Powers in “The Public Enemy,” the 1931 gangster film that helped start the genre. Tom Powers is one of the best movie gangsters, an arrogant and violent man who rose to power and then fell just as hard. His death is one of the greatest in gangster cinema history.
  6. Frank Costello – Jack Nicholson plays Frank Costello in “The Departed,” one of the best movie gangsters of all time. The Martin Scorsese movie is a remake of the Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs” but Nicholson takes the gangster with an affinity for both the heroes main characters and turns him into a compelling and intriguing part of the story.
  7. Sonny Corleone – While he never had the chance to take over his father’s empire like his younger brother, James Caan’s Sonny remains a great character and one of the best movie gangsters of all time. Sonny died in a hail of gunfire in the first “Godfather” movie but his short time in the world makes him a memorable addition.
  8. Michael Sullivan, Sr. – Tom Hanks plays Michael Sullivan, Sr., in Sam Mendes graphic novel adaptation “Road to Perdition.” Sullivan is a father and a loyal confidant and enforcer for John Rooney, played be Paul Newman. Sullivan finds himself on the wrong end of a hit and goes on the run to protect his son.
  9. Jef Costello – Alain Delon plays Jef Costello in "Le Samourai", a hired killer who rarely makes mistakes. When he finally makes a mistake, he is betrayed by his employers and left for dead. One of the best movie gangsters, Costello makes it his life’s ambition to find the men who set him up to settle the score.
  10. Mr. Blonde – Michael Madsen plays Mr. Blonde, one of the gangsters hired to carry out an armed robbery in Quentin Tarantino’s debut film, “Reservoir Dogs.” Mr. Blonde is the most memorable character in the movie, and one of the best movie gangsters, thanks in large part to the ear cutting scene in the warehouse.
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