What makes a ruthless gangster? Is it a willingness to kill, and the ability to treat human life as nothing more than an a speed bump on the road to power and wealth? Yep, pretty much.
Well, that was an easy question, wasn’t it?
How “gangster” is the main character from Gangster No. 1. He’s so gangster that he doesn’t even have a name. IMDB simply lists him as “Gangster 55.” Of course, what’s in a name? I can call myself the king of Spain, but that doesn’t make it so. However, this character more than lives up to his title, dishing out one of the most brutal beat downs in cinema history, and cutting his rival’s girlfriend’s throat without a second thought.
Killing a rival gang member in a turf war is cold, but at the same time, it’s part of the game. Shooting a simple convenience store owner and his wife because he mentions your mother; that’s pretty damn ruthless. As such, O-Dog earned a place on this list.
When their friend Ricky is gunned down by gangbangers, both Doughboy and Tré vow to avenge his death. But when push comes to shove, only Doughboy has the ruthless nature necessary to carry out the act. Of course, that same willingness to kill made him a target, and two weeks later he was gunned down in a reprisal shooting, so maybe violence isn’t the answer after all. Just kidding. Kill or be killed, bitch.
Like Gangster No. 1, American Gangster has “gangster” in the title, which almost guarantees the film’s protagonist, Frank Lucas, a spot on the list. Well, even without the name, the film begins with Lucas burning and shooting a man to death, and goes down hill from there, leaving no doubt to his ruthless nature.
Hoodlum is far from the best movie on the list, but there’s no questioning Bumpy Johnson’s ruthlessness. After all, Johnson was Frank Lucas’s mentor. And if Frank Lucas learned how to be a sociopath from you, you’re definitely not afraid to get your hands dirty.
Does Marcellus Wallace look like a bitch? Well, in the picture above, he probably does, considering he’s about to get rapped by two deviant hillbillies. But Wallace manages to survive the ordeal, and ruthlessly shoots his attacker in the crotch with a shotgun. He then goes the extra mile, keeping the man alive in order to have him tortured with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch. On a list about ruthless gangsters, it takes that type of creativity to get noticed.
How ruthless is Li’l Zé? As a child, even before his rise to power in the slums of Rio, he was responsible for a mass murder at a local motel. To make matters worse, the killings served no purpose, aside from Li’l Zé’s personal amusement. If you’re killing for fun while most kids your age are out playing soccer, you’ve earned a spot on this list.
With Nino Brown, “It’s always business. Never personal.” This mantra allows him to carry out some truly ruthless acts, like killing an innocent woman as part of his gang initiation. But in the end, business becomes personal, as Brown is gunned down by an outraged member of the community who takes the law into his own hands.
Guns, chainsaws, car bombs: Tony Montana uses ever weapon available to control his drug empire. But what sets him apart from the rest is his willingness to kill his best friend and right-hand man after discovering he had been sleeping with his sister behind his back. Tony didn’t even wait around long enough to find out that the two were in love and planned to marry. Whoops!