Tag Archives: Gangster Movies

Live by Night

THE AMERICAN DREAM HAS A PRICE.  In 1926, WWI veteran Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck), who’s fallen in love with the mistress (Sienna Miller) of a gangster, becomes involved in the battle between two crime families, one Irish and one Italian. Affleck’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel, the second part in a series of books about … Continue reading Live by Night

Mean Streets

WELCOME… BUT DON’T BREAK THE RULES! Charlie Cappa (Harvey Keitel) is looking forward to a career in the Mafia with help from his uncle (Cesare Danova), but his relationships with best friend Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro), a perpetual screw-up, and an epileptic girl (Amy Robinson) stand in the way. Martin Scorsese’s breakthrough is considered … Continue reading Mean Streets

Donnie Brasco: A Made(Up) Man

IN 1978, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WAGED A WAR AGAINST ORGANIZED CRIME. ONE MAN WAS LEFT BEHIND THE LINES.  I was just listening to a political debate about Islamic terrorism. One of the participants talked about how intelligence agencies need to do more than just tap phones; they need to put ”boots on the ground” by … Continue reading Donnie Brasco: A Made(Up) Man

Black Mass

KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSE. In the late 1970s, the FBI makes a deal with up-and-coming Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp); in exchange for information on his rivals, the authorities turn a blind eye to Bulger’s activities. One of the most outrageous cases of corruption, where law enforcement ended up protecting the most dangerous … Continue reading Black Mass

Stand Up Guys

THEY DON’T MAKE ‘EM LIKE THEY USED TO. After doing time for murder, Val (Al Pacino) is released and reunited with his old friend and partner (Christopher Walken)… who has a secret, heartbreaking agenda. A film that goes all-in for old-school charm in a story about geriatric gangsters that still know how to strut their … Continue reading Stand Up Guys

Boardwalk Empire: Bringing Back the Booze

  This period gangster show was created by a man who cut his teeth as a writer and producer on the seminal HBO mafia saga, The Sopranos (1999-2007). With lots of attention preceding its premiere, and the Emmy-winning pilot episode directed by none other than Martin Scorsese, it would be easy to just kneel before … Continue reading Boardwalk Empire: Bringing Back the Booze

A Somewhat Gentle Man

After doing time for a murder, Ulrik (Stellan Skarsgård) is released and heads back to his hometown where he’s hoping to start over… even though his old gang is still there. The third film that Hans Petter Moland did with Skarsgård depicts the challenges awaiting a gangster outside the prison walls. Many other filmmakers would … Continue reading A Somewhat Gentle Man

The Iceman

LOVING HUSBAND. DEVOTED FATHER. RUTHLESS KILLER.  In the 1960s, Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) starts working for a Gambino family-connected mobster (Ray Liotta) as a hit man, earning a reputation as “The Iceman”… but his wife (Winona Ryder) remains unaware. This directing debut tells the story of Richard Kuklinski who was convicted of a few murders … Continue reading The Iceman

On the Waterfront: The End of Mob Rule

THE MAN LIVED BY THE JUNGLE LAW OF THE DOCKS! In 1949, investigative journalist Malcolm Johnson won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles he had written for the New York Sun. Titled “Crime on the Waterfront”, the series portrayed corruption and influence of organized crime in the ports of New York City. Four … Continue reading On the Waterfront: The End of Mob Rule

Road to Perdition: In Capone’s Shadow

PRAY FOR MICHAEL SULLIVAN.    There’s a deleted scene in this film where John Rooney (Paul Newman), a local Illinois mob boss, meets with the legendary Al Capone and his closest associate, Frank Nitti (Stanley Tucci). Capone is played by Anthony LaPaglia, a very capable actor. In the end, though, director Sam Mendes decided to … Continue reading Road to Perdition: In Capone’s Shadow

The Roaring Twenties

AMERICA’S MOST COLORFUL ERA!   After World War I, three veterans (James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Jeffrey Lynn) return to America only to find that job opportunities are scarce; the new Prohibition, however, offers a lucrative career in crime. One of the most popular films of that year not only takes a nostalgic look at one … Continue reading The Roaring Twenties