gangs The Best Gangster Biopics  

Ranker Film
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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. 

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Goodfellas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Goodfellas 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

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Donnie Brasco is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Donnie Brasco Donnie Brasco is a 1997 American crime 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. ...more

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American Gangster is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
American Gangster 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

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Blow is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Blow 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

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The Untouchables is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
The Untouchables The Untouchables is a 1987 American crime 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 ...more

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Black Mass is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics

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Gangs of New York is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Gangs of New York 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

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Public Enemies is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Public Enemies 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

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Bonnie and Clyde is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Bonnie and Clyde 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

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The Iceman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
The Iceman 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

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Hoodlum is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Hoodlum Hoodlum is a 1997 crime drama film written by Chris Brancato and directed by Bill Duke.

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Legend is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Legend 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

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Kill the Irishman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Kill the Irishman 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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Bugsy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Bugsy 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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The Assassination of Jesse Jam... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford 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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Dillinger and Capone is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Dillinger and Capone Dillinger and Capone is a 1995 action crime drama film directed by Jon Purdy and written by Michael B. Druxman.

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Dillinger is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Dillinger 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

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Lansky is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
Lansky 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

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The Valachi Papers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Gangster Biopics
The Valachi Papers 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