The Best '50s Gangster Movies  

Ranker Film
272 votes 124 voters 6.5k views 22 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite gangster films that were released in the 1950s.

By the 1950s, the gangster genre had begun to blend with the incredibly popular film noir. Some of the best '50s gangster movies could also classify as being part of the film noir genre. Films like The Killing (directed by Stanely Kubrick), Asphalt Jungle (directed by John Huston, and starring Marilyn Monroe in a small role) and Bob le flameur (which started the French New Wave), were all timeless noir films that doubled as 50's gangster movies. 

Other great 1950s gangster movies are three bio-pictures that tell the life stories of select gangsters, such as Machine-Gun Kelly, Baby Face Nelson, and Al Capone. Machine Gun Kelly was a gangster from Memphis, Tennessee during the Prohibition Era. He and his gang stole over $200,000 worth of liquor, and were eventually convicted of armed robbery and grand theft. Baby Face Nelson was partners with John Dillinger, and has killed the most FBI agents on record to this day. Al Capone was probably the most famous gangster of his day. He became the crime boss of The Chicago Outfit, and was able to retire by age 33.  

Be sure not to miss Guys and Dolls, the musical story of a gangster who falls for an officer in the Salvation Army! Vote up the best '50s gangster movies, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

list ordered by
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Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards
This film is a 1956 film noir produced by James B. Harris and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was written by Kubrick and Jim Thompson and based on the novel Clean Break by Lionel White. The ...more
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Charles Bronson, Morey Amsterdam, Susan Cabot
Machine-Gun Kelly is a film directed by Roger Corman, chronicling the criminal activities of the real-life George "Machine Gun" Kelly. The film was considered low budget, but received ...more
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Rod Steiger, Martin Balsam
Al Capone is a 1959 film directed by Richard Wilson.
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Mickey Rooney, Jack Elam, Carolyn Jones
Baby Face Nelson is a 1957 crime film noir based on the real-life 1930s gangster, directed by Don Siegel, co-written by Daniel Mainwaring—who also wrote the screenplay for Siegel's 1956 sci-fi ...more
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Marilyn Monroe, Jack Warden, James Whitmore
The Asphalt Jungle is a 1950 film noir directed by John Huston. The caper film is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by W. R. Burnett and stars an ensemble cast including Sterling Hayden, ...more
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Never Steal Anything Small James Cagney, Cara Williams
Never Steal Anything Small is a musical comedy film starring James Cagney, Shirley Jones, Roger Smith, Cara Williams, Nehemiah Persoff, Royal Dano, and Horace McMahon. The film was based on The ...more
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Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons
Guys and Dolls is a 1955 musical film starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine. The film was made by Samuel Goldwyn Productions and distributed by MGM. It was ...more
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Humphrey Bogart, Zero Mostel, Everett Sloane
The Enforcer is an American 1951 black-and-white film noir co-directed by Bretaigne Windust and an uncredited Raoul Walsh, who shot most of the film's suspenseful moments, including the ending. ...more
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Love That Brute Cesar Romero, Keenan Wynn, Jean Peters
Love That Brute is a 1950 film directed by Alexander Hall.
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Jean-Pierre Melville, Howard Vernon, Gérard Buhr
Bob le flambeur is a 1956 French gangster film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. The film stars Roger Duchesne as Bob. It is often considered a film noir and precursor to the French New Wave ...more
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Sean Connery, David McCallum, William Hartnell
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Hell Drivers is a British film directed by Cy Endfield and starring Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins, Patrick McGoohan and Sean Connery. The film was produced by the Rank Organisation ...more
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Edmond O'Brien, Otto Kruger, Joanne Dru
711 Ocean Drive is a 1950 American crime film noir directed by Joseph M. Newman. The drama features Edmond O'Brien, Joanne Dru and Otto Kruger.
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Charles Bronson, Sterling Hayden, James Bell
Crime Wave is a 1954 film noir, directed by André De Toth. It was adapted from a short story which originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post - Criminal Mark by John and Ward
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James Cagney, Ward Bond, Barbara Payton
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a 1950 film noir starring James Cagney, directed by Gordon Douglas, produced by William Cagney and based on the novel by Horace McCoy. The film was banned in Ohio as ...more
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Jules Dassin, Robert Hossein, Carl Möhner
Rififi is a 1955 French crime film adaptation of Auguste Le Breton's novel of the same name. Directed by American filmmaker Jules Dassin, the film stars Jean Servais as the aging gangster Tony ...more
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Lee Van Cleef, Brian Donlevy, Earl Holliman
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Big Combo is a 1955 American film noir directed by Joseph H. Lewis and photographed by cinematographer John Alton, with music by David Raksin.
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Cameron Mitchell, Edward Platt, Ted de Corsia
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Inside the Mafia is a 1959 crime film based on a true incident.
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Jayne Mansfield, Fats Domino, Julie London
The Girl Can't Help It is a 1956 musical comedy starring Jayne Mansfield in the titular role, Tom Ewell, Edmond O'Brien, Henry Jones, and Julie London. The picture was produced and directed by ...more
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Virginia Grey, Robert Webber, Steve Cochran
Highway 301 is an American 1950 crime drama film noir written and directed by Andrew L. Stone, and starring Steve Cochran, Virginia Grey, Gaby André and Edmon Ryan.
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James Darren, Lamont Johnson, Richard Conte
The Brothers Rico is a 1957 American crime film noir directed by Phil Karlson and written by Lewis Meltzer, Ben Perry, and Dalton Trumbo. The film is based on a story written by Georges Simenon, ...more
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Douglas Fowley, Adele Jergens, Charles McGraw
Armored Car Robbery is a 1950 American film noir directed by Richard Fleischer, and starring Charles McGraw. The movie was filmed on location in Los Angeles, California. Armored Car Robbery is a ...more