In Honor Of ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Arrest, 11 Classic Depictions Of Gangsters In Cinema

Thursday, June 23 by

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill

Aside from Casino, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci both shared the screen in the Martin Scorsese classic, Goodfellas. But the most memorable gangster depicted in that film was Henry Hill, and thanks to the film, he’s now better known as an FBI informant.

Stanley Tucci as Frank Nitti

Frank Nitti’s role as Al Capone’s number-two man catapulted this mobster to a larger than life status, and Hollywood’s fascination with gangsters cemented the image. But in actuality, once Capone was out of the picture, Nitti was little more than a figurehead for The Chicago Outfit, rather than the man pulling the strings. Of course, that’s not a very compelling story. Luckily, Stanley Tucci‘s portrayal of Frank Nitti in The Road to Perdition is more in line with the myth.

Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas

Last but not least, we have Frank Lucas. In American Gangster, Lucas is played by Oscar winner Denzel Washington. This Ridley Scott film follows the gangsters rise and fall in his quest to control the Harlem heroin trade.

Who did I leave off? Let me know in the comment section below. And while we’re on the subject of Boston-area gangsters, check out our Great Fahkin’ Boston Movie Moments mash-up.

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  1. June 23, 2011 2:26 pm

    Alberto Martinez

    This is a great list, don’t think you left anyone out. Maybe, George Jung/Johnny Depp, but that was not a great movie, role and Jung was more of a trafficker then a Gangster.

  2. June 23, 2011 2:26 pm



  3. June 23, 2011 2:26 pm


    What you say about Nitti is completely wrong as has been explained in detail in the only two biographies on him, one by Mars Eghigian and the other by Ronald D. Humble.  You are just perpetuating this figurehead thing because that is what it says on some websites.  Read the biographies – Nitti did a lot of stuff, made a lot of money and was the boss pretty well to the end, but for the last couple of years of his life Paul Ricca, his underboss, took on more repsonsibility due to Nitti’s poor health…  

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