Film history is full of compelling crooks, and here are the best crime gangsters in movies. From classic American epic films to Hong Kong hitmen, the best crime gangsters in movies do bad things and break the law, but we love them for it, because there is a sense of honor to what they do. They are vicious killers, but the best crime gangsters in movies are often more interesting than the heroes who seek to stop them. Here they are, the best crime gangsters in movies.

  1. Don Vito Corleone in "The Godfather." Marlon Brando portrayed the iconic head of the Corleone crime family in Francis Ford Coppola's epic. The last don of the old guard, Don Vito is a ruthless man, but also smart, and a man who cares about his family and those around him. He is the man who holds the fabric of the criminal world together, and it is this that makes him one of the best crime gangsters in movies; though he breaks the law, one can't help but root for him.

  2. Mark in "A Better Tomorrow." The icon of Hong Kong cool, Chow Yun-Fat, plays the king of the best crime gangsters in movies in Hong Kong, the hitman Mark, in the star-making John Woo film "A Better Tomorrow." A trench coat wearing, cigarette smoking, two gun firing badass, Mark set the template for the characters Chow would play in the future in films like "The Killer," and changed gangsters in film with his effortless style.

  3. Tony Montana in "Scarface." Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, is the icon of 1980s gangster films, with his ruthless takeover of drug cartels in Miami, his snorting of mountains of cocaine, and his wooing of Michelle Pfeiffer at her youngest and most attractive. The best crime gangsters in movies should all have at least one memorable quote, and anyone who watches movies knows "Say hello to my little friend!"

  4. Frank Costello in "The Departed." Martin Scorcese's tale of Irish mobsters in Boston is highlighted by Jack Nicholson's scene-stealing performance as the aging gangster Frank Costello, based loosely on real-life Boston mobster Whitey Bulger. It fits that Nicholson and Scorcese should be responsible for bringing to live one of the best crime gangsters in movies with this nuanced, treacherous character.

  5. Neil McCauley in "Heat." Robert DeNiro has portrayed many of the best crime gangsters in movies, including the young Don Vito Corleone in "The Godfather Part II," but this role, as a smart bank robber who is undone by his loyalty to his friends, is possibly his most underrated. He squares off with cop Al Pacino in this Los Angeles crime film full of style and flash, Michael Mann trademarks that only add to the potentially iconic nature of DeNiro's character.