Gangs The Best Gangster Biopics  

Ranker Film
3.6k votes 704 voters 18.4k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up the best true biographical movies about people in gangs and the mafia

The gangster holds a special place in the popular imagination, so it’s no surprise that gangster films are some of the most popular and oft-discussed movies in Hollywood history. Dating all the way back to the Pre-Code days of moviemaking, gangsters have appeared on the silver screen, pulling Tommy guns out of violin cases, terrorizing citizens, smuggling liquor, and otherwise dabbling in all manner of horribly thrilling criminal activity.


What are the best gangster biopics of all time? Many great actors have tried their hand at portraying famous gangsters. In
American Gangster, Denzel Washington portrays New York City cocaine kingpin Frank Lucas, and Russell Crowe plays the cop out to take him down. Featuring original music by Jay-Z, the film went on win numerous awards and accolades. Also on this list of the greatest gangster biopics, you will find The Untouchables. Although the film follows the exploits of Elliott Ness, the Treasury Department agent tasked with taking down organized crime in Chicago, Brian de Palma’s classic picture portrays Al Capone, played by the always great Robert DeNiro.


One of the top gangster biopics ever is Martin Scorsese’s
Goodfellas. The story of Henry Hill, a mobster involved in a 1970s airport heist, the movie stars heavyweights like Ray Liotta, Joe Peschi, and Robert DeNiro. Vote up the best gangster biopics below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 
list ordered by

1
397 36
Goodfellas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
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
29 0
The Godfather is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
EvaK added The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy from a screenplay by Mario Puzo and Coppola. Starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as ...more

3
25 0
The Godfather Part II is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
EvaK added The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American epic crime film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay co-written with Mario Puzo, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. ...more

4
193 63
The Untouchables is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
The Untouchables is a 1987 American drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by David Mamet. Based on the book The Untouchables, the film stars Kevin Costner as government agent Eliot ...more

5
211 74
American Gangster is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
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

6
198 67
Donnie Brasco is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Donnie Brasco is a 1997 American film directed by Mike Newell and starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, and Anne Heche appeared in supporting roles. The ...more

7
202 74
Blow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Blow is a 2001 American biopic about the American smuggler George Jung, directed by Ted Demme. David McKenna and Nick Cassavetes adapted Bruce Porter's 1993 book for the screenplay. It is based ...more

8
145 67
Black Mass is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics

9
167 84
Gangs of New York is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Gangs of New York is a 2002 American fictionalized historical drama film set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of Lower Manhattan in 1863. The film was directed by Martin ...more

10
148 73
Public Enemies is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Public Enemies is a 2009 American film directed by Michael Mann and written by Mann, Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman. It is an adaptation of Bryan Burrough's non-fiction book. Set during the ...more

11
130 66
Bonnie and Clyde is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 American biographical film directed by Arthur Penn and starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the title characters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The film ...more

12
88 70
The Iceman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
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

13
70 74
The Assassination of Jesse Jam... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
This film is a 2007 American western drama film written and directed by Andrew Dominik. Adaptated from Ron Hansen's 1983 novel of the same name, the film dramatizes the relationship between ...more

14
66 72
Hoodlum is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
This film is a 1997 drama film written by Chris Brancato and directed by Bill Duke.

15
8 5
White Heat is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
EvaK added White Heat is a 1949 film noir starring James Cagney, Virginia Mayo and Edmond O'Brien and featuring Margaret Wycherly and Steve Cochran. Directed by Raoul Walsh from the Ivan Goff and Ben ...more

16
61 74
Bugsy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Bugsy is a 1991 American 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 Gould, ...more

17
7 5
The Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
EvaK added The Public Enemy is a 1931 American all-talking pre-code crime film produced and distributed by Warner Brothers. The film was directed by William A. Wellman and stars James Cagney, Jean Harlow, ...more

18
6 5
Little Caesar is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
EvaK added Little Caesar is a 1931 Warner Bros. Pre-Code crime film that tells the story of a hoodlum who ascends the ranks of organized crime until he reaches its upper echelons. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy ...more

19
58 74
Legend is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Legend is a 1985 British-American fantasy adventure film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, and ...more

20
1 0
Hoffa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Mralienplayz added Hoffa is a 1992 French-American biographical film directed by Danny DeVito and written by David Mamet, based on the life of Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa. Jack Nicholson plays Hoffa, and ...more

21
53 76
Kill the Irishman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
This film is a 2011 biographical thriller film directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and starring Ray Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Christopher Walken and Val Kilmer. It was in development hell for ...more

22
40 60
Dillinger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Dillinger is a 1973 gangster film about the life and criminal exploits of notorious bank robber John Dillinger. It stars Warren Oates as Dillinger and Ben Johnson as his pursuer, FBI Agent ...more

23
26 67
Dillinger and Capone is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Dillinger and Capone is a 1995 action crime drama film directed by Jon Purdy and written by Michael B. Druxman.

24
20 67
Lansky is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Lansky is a 1999 American made-for-television crime drama film. Directed by John McNaughton, it stars Richard Dreyfuss as the famous gangster Meyer Lansky, Eric Roberts as Bugsy Siegel, and Ryan ...more

25
20 68
The Valachi Papers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
The Valachi Papers is a 1972 crime movie starring Charles Bronson and Lino Ventura and directed by Terence Young. Adapted from the book The Valachi Papers by Peter Maas, it tells the true story ...more