criminals The Best Criminal Biopics  

Ranker Film
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List Rules Vote up the best biographical movies about any type of criminal, white collar to violent.

Plenty of big names appear on this list of the best criminal biopics. We have famous actors playing famous criminals, and famous directors lurking behind the scenes, bringing the gritty lives of these crime legends to the silver screen.

Any discussion of criminal biopics has to start with Martin Scorsese and Goodfellas. The story of real-life mobster Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta, tells the story of an epic heist for which one of the participants was just put on trial in 2015.


Leonardo Dicaprio appears on this list as real-life con man Frank Abagnale in the film
Catch Me If You Can. The film was a hit with fans and critics, and not least, with Frank Abagnale himself. Other notable actor-criminal pairings on this list of the top criminal biopics include Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies, Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas in American Gangster, and Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass. Vote up the best criminal biopics below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 
list ordered by

1
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Goodfellas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Goodfellas Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Joe Pesci Goodfellas is a 1990 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film adaptation of the 1986 non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese. ...more

2
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Public Enemies is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Public Enemies Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Channing Tatum Public Enemies is a 2009 American biographical crime drama film directed by Michael Mann and written by Mann, Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman. It is an adaptation of Bryan Burrough's non-fiction ...more

3
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Monster is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Monster Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Rose Byrne Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Monster is a 2003 crime drama film about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who was executed in Florida in 2002 for killing six men in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wuornos was ...more

4
103 32
Blow is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Blow Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Emma Roberts Blow is a 2001 American biopic about the American cocaine smuggler George Jung, directed by Ted Demme. David McKenna and Nick Cassavetes adapted Bruce Porter's 1993 book Blow: How a Small Town ...more

5
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Catch Me If You Can is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Catch Me If You Can Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 American biographical crime drama film based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by ...more

6
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The Wolf of Wall Street is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
The Wolf of Wall Street Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Margot Robbie The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay by Terence Winter is adapted from the eponymous memoir by Jordan Belfort and ...more

7
97 33
American Gangster is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
American Gangster Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Idris Elba American Gangster is a 2007 American biographical crime film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by Steven Zaillian. The film is based on the criminal career of Frank Lucas, a ...more

8
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Bonnie and Clyde is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Bonnie and Clyde Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Gene Wilder Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 American biographical crime film directed by Arthur Penn and starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the title characters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The film ...more

9
61 36
Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Zodiac Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book of the same name. The Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. joint ...more

10
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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Cloris Leachman Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a 1969 American Western film directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman. Based loosely on fact, the film tells the story of Wild West ...more

11
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Serpico is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
-6 added Serpico Al Pacino, Judd Hirsch, Abraham Murphy Serpico is a 1973 American crime drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino. Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler wrote the screenplay, adapting Peter Maas's biography of NYPD officer ...more

12
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Black Mass is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Black Mass Kevin Bacon, Joel Edgerton, Jesse Plemons

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13
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Alpha Dog is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Alpha Dog Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Amber Heard Alpha Dog is a 2006 American crime drama film written and directed by Nick Cassavetes, first screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2006, with a wide release the following year on ...more

14
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In Cold Blood is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
In Cold Blood Robert Blake, John Forsythe, Will Geer In Cold Blood is a 1967 film based on Truman Capote's book of the same name. Richard Brooks prepared the adaptation and directed the film. It stars Robert Blake as Perry Smith, Scott Wilson as ...more

15
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The Iceman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
The Iceman James Franco, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans The Iceman is an American crime thriller film based on the true story of longtime notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski. Released in 2013 at the Venice Film Festival, the film was directed by Ariel ...more

16
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Summer of Sam is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Summer of Sam Mira Sorvino, Jennifer Esposito, Adrien Brody Summer of Sam is a 1999 American crime thriller film that recounts the Son of Sam serial murders. It was directed and produced by Spike Lee and stars John Leguizamo, Adrien Brody, Mira Sorvino, ...more

17
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The Assassination of Jesse Jam... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Brad Pitt, Zooey Deschanel, Jeremy Renner The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a 2007 American western drama film written and directed by Andrew Dominik. Adaptated from Ron Hansen's 1983 novel of the same name, ...more

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Bronson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Bronson Tom Hardy, Amanda Burton, James Lance Bronson is a 2008 British fictionalised biographical psychological drama film co-written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Tom Hardy. The film follows the life of notorious ...more

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The Boston Strangler is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
The Boston Strangler Henry Fonda, Tony Curtis, George Kennedy Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Boston Strangler is a 1968 American film based on the true story of the Boston Strangler and the book by Gerold Frank. It was directed by Richard Fleischer, and stars Tony Curtis as Albert ...more

20
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Kill the Irishman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Kill the Irishman Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Linda Cardellini Kill the Irishman is a 2011 biographical crime thriller film directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and starring Ray Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Christopher Walken and Val Kilmer. The film is based on ...more

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Ranker Video
bigcraig added Tom Hardy

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Chopper is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Chopper Eric Bana, Daniel Wyllie, Vince Colosimo Chopper is a 2000 Australian crime film written and directed by Andrew Dominik and based on the autobiographical books by Mark "Chopper" Read. The film stars Eric Bana as the title ...more

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Bugsy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Bugsy Annette Bening, Ben Kingsley, Warren Beatty Bugsy is a 1991 American crime-drama film directed by Barry Levinson which tells the story of mobster Bugsy Siegel. It stars Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott ...more

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Ned Kelly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
Ned Kelly Naomi Watts, Orlando Bloom, Heath Ledger Ned Kelly is a 2003 Australian historical drama film directed by Gregor Jordan from a screenplay by John Michael McDonagh. The film portrays the life of Ned Kelly — a legendary bushranger in ...more

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The Assassination of Richard N... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
The Assassination of Richard Nixon Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Don Cheadle The Assassination of Richard Nixon is a 2004 American film, directed by Niels Mueller. It stars Sean Penn, Don Cheadle and Naomi Watts, and is based on the story of would-be assassin Samuel ...more

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Mr. Nice is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
bigcraig added Mr. Nice Chloë Sevigny, Crispin Glover, Elsa Pataky Mr. Nice is a 2010 film directed by Bernard Rose. "The true story of Howard Marks. He was Britain's most wanted man. He spent seven years in America's toughest penitentiary. You'll like ...more

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Buster is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
bigcraig added Buster Phil Collins, Julie Walters, Anthony Quayle Buster is a 1988 British romantic comedy-drama crime film based on characters and events from the Great Train Robbery. It stars musician Phil Collins, Julie Walters, Larry Lamb and Sheila ...more

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The Wee Man is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Criminal Biopics
bigcraig added The Wee Man John Hannah, Patrick Bergin, Martin Compston The Wee Man is a 2013 Scottish gangster film directed by Ray Burdis which depicts the true life story of Scottish criminal Paul Ferris. It stars Martin Compston and John Hannah. The film was ...more