Ten Great Gangster Movies

Next week, gangster game Mafia II goes on sale. You might be looking for a primer — something to get you into the mood. You might want to revisit some old favorites. Here are ten classic gangster flicks.

These are not the ten best gangster flicks, but they are ten great ones.

(Note: The list does not contain heist flicks like Rififi or Reservoir Dogs as heist movies deserve a top ten list of their own. Also, Pulp Fiction wasn't mentioned because like early Godard movies, it may have hoods or gangsters, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a gangster movie.)

The Godfather I

Interesting to note that the word "mafia" does not appear in the film.

GoodFellas

Based on the book Wiseguy, the title was changed to GoodFellas because Brian DePalma had made a movie (a bad movie) called Wise Guys in 1986. The real Henry Hill was arrested in last December for disorderly conduct.

King Of New York

Christopher Walken at his best.

Little Caesar

This picture made Edward G. Robinson a superstar. In the early 1970s, Paramount Pictures wanted Robinson to star in The Godfather, but Coppola ultimately gave the role to Marlon Brando.

Le Samourai

Jean Pierre Melville was the king of French crime films. Le Samourai shows why.

Miller's Crossing

Is the Coen brothers' best film? Perhaps.

Once Upon A Time In America

Sergio Leone's final film, Once Upon A Time In America follows Jewish-American gangsters over the course of several decades. For the original American release, the movie was butchered in the editing room. Restored versions are now available.

Scarface: The Shame of a Nation

Produced by Howard Hughes and directed by Howard Hawks, Scarface was one of the most violent films of its day. It later served the basis for the 1983 remake, starring Al Pacino.

White Heat

James Cagney, star of The Public Enemy, turns in a stellar (and bat-shit insane) performance in White Heat. "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" is one of the most famous movie lines ever.

The Untouchables

Sporting an all-star cast, The Untouchables was directed by Brian DePalma, written by David Mamet and scored by Ennio Morricone.