The 50 Best Gangster Movies of All Time

The rise of the mob in America can be tied to the passing of the 18th Amendment on Jan. 16, 1919, which banned the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors" and essentially made the United States a dry country. Unsurprisingly, the amendment didn't go over well with all Americans, and the demand for illegal and bootleg spirits increased dramatically. Many gangs that had been loosely organized up to that point capitalized on this new market and began producing and distributing alcohol, in the process morphing into organized crime syndicates along the way.

As time went by, these newly formed groups began to engage in other illegal activities like money laundering, smuggling goods, and bribing police, while adhering to strict codes of conduct and discretion in an effort to avoid the hand of the law. Eventually, the mob became one of the most powerful forces in the country, holding enormous influence over American life for much of the 20th century.

While the mob doesn't really exist in America today the way it did in the '20s, '30s, and '40s, it hasn't completely vanished. Additionally, organized crime as a whole—from street gangs to drug cartels—has grown in recent years, a fact that has led to some pretty dire consequences. Still, there's something about the golden era of the mob that holds a lot of interest for many of us. Call it a twisted sense of curiosity, but we often find ourselves captivated by the power these crime families had and their leaders' authority—as well as the damage and mayhem they caused. Hollywood, it turns out, has been all too keen to mirror the public's fascination with gangsters.

There are thousands of movies out there that tell the story of various crime families, individuals, and mob capers, but they're not all created equal. Stacker compiled data on all crime movies registered on IMDb and Metacritic, sorting through them to pick out the best gangster/mob movies and ranking them according to a weighted index split evenly between IMDb user rating and Metascore (data was collected on Dec. 20, 2020). To qualify, the film had to have significant plot points that involve gangsters, the mob, the Italian American Mafia, or other similar crime organizations.

From foreign films such as Ash Is Purest White to classics like The Godfather and box-office hits like Baby Driver, here are the 50 gangster movies considered to be the best of all time.

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Ash is the Purest White
Actor Fan Liao, actress Tao Zha and director Zhangke Jia attend the photocall for "Ash Is The Purest White (Jiang Hu Er Nv)" during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 12, 2018 in Cannes, France. Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis/Getty Images

50. 'Ash Is Purest White' (2018)

- Director: Jia Zhangke
- Stacker score: 80.7
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 136 minutes

Ash Is Purest White can be seen as a Bonnie-and-Clyde type of story, but with much more glamour and discipline. The film follows the relationship between two "jianghu" members named Qiao and Bin as their love collapses under the weight of organized crime. Writer and director Jia Zhangke says that the film was loosely based on the "big brother" who ran his neighborhood, a man named Xiaodong.

49. 'Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia' (1974)

- Director: Sam Peckinpah
- Stacker score: 80.7
- Metascore: 80
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 112 minutes

Universally hated when it was released, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is a bizarre crime film about a piano player who falls desperately in love with a prostitute from the brothel where he works and sets out on a journey to bring a Mexican mob boss the head of an enemy in return for enough money to begin a new life. The film lacks flow and can seem clunky at times, according to Roger Ebert, but the story of a man who sees a task through, regardless of the challenges he faces along the way, has resonated with audiences over the years.

48. 'Mikey and Nicky' (1976)

- Director: Elaine May
- Stacker score: 80.7
- Metascore: 81
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 106 minutes

Taking place over the course of a single night, Mikey and Nicky follows lifelong friends as one sets out to save the other after a mob boss places a hit on him. Through the course of the evening, the friendship slowly begins to unravel as the two men weigh survival against loyalty. Based on people from Elaine May's own life, the movie stars John Cassavetes and Peter Falk, who were frequent collaborators in the '70s.

47. 'Casino' (1995)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 80.7
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 178 minutes

Starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci, Casino explores mob life in Las Vegas during the '70s and '80s. Two childhood friends compete for control over a gambling empire and run afoul of drugs, fellow gangsters, and eventually the law. Though Martin Scorsese's film was based on material gathered by crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi, the latter's book wasn't finished until after the movie's release.

46. 'Animal Kingdom' (2010)

- Director: David Michôd
- Stacker score: 81.3
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 113 minutes

In Animal Kingdom, the death of his mother drives Joshua Cody to make contact with his extended family, one of Melbourne's most vicious gangs, with whom he has had very little contact. As he tries to figure out how to navigate this new life and searches for his role in their clan, he begins to realize that the family itself, not their illegal activities, may pose a bigger threat to his life.

45. 'Drive' (2011)

- Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
- Stacker score: 81.3
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 100 minutes

Ryan Gosling stars as the nameless getaway driver/Hollywood stuntman in this thriller about a heist gone wrong that endangers the lives of everyone even tangentially involved, including the driver's love. Action-packed and full of nail-biting chase sequences, the movie packs a powerful but quiet message about loyalty and selfless love.

44. 'Gomorrah' (2008)

- Director: Matteo Garrone
- Stacker score: 81.8
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 137 minutes

Five disparate tales are linked in this film that is based on a bestselling expose of the Neapolitan mob (the Camorra) by Roberto Saviano. Grim, violent, and realistic, the film is set in the tenement buildings in the Scampia suburb of Naples, where rival factions of the Camorra struggle for dominance.

43. 'Rebels of the Neon God' (1992)

- Director: Tsai Ming-liang
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 106 minutes

Tsai Ming-liang's film Rebels of the Neon God didn't receive a U.S. release for 23 years after its debut in Taiwan. This could be due in large part to Hollywood bigwigs' uncertainty as to whether or not the movie, which has very little plot and is more a glimpse of criminal life in the massive city of Taipei, would land with American audiences. It turns out that viewers loved the cold, cool, "isn't life grand when you're young" film, which has developed a cult following.

42. 'A Bronx Tale' (1993)

- Director: Robert De Niro
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 80
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 121 minutes

Robert De Niro directed and starred in this '90s gangster coming-of-age film about a young boy who's torn between the glamorous life led by a local mob boss and the values of his rule-following, hardworking father. The story first existed as an autobiographical play written by co-star Chazz Palminteri, before its adaptation led to big-screen success.

41. 'BlacKkKlansman' (2018)

- Director: Spike Lee
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 135 minutes

Based on Ron Stallworth's memoir, this Spike Lee joint follows a Black police officer who manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of his Jewish co-worker. A look at a different type of organized crime, the movie reminds viewers that we are not that far removed from the sort of violence inspired by D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation and still have a long way to go before ending the scourge of racism.

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Heat
Robert DeNiro (L) and Al Pacino (R) pose with director Michael Mann as they arrive for the world premiere of the film "Heat" in Burbank, California. Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

40. 'Heat' (1995)

- Director: Michael Mann
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 76
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 170 minutes

A group of expert bank robbers feels the pressure as an obsessed Los Angeles cop closes in on them in Heat. In spite of this, the group attempts one last "retirement" job that ends up having deathly serious consequences. The smash-hit gangster film from the early '90s stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer.

39. 'The Untouchables' (1987)

- Director: Brian De Palma
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 119 minutes

In this cult classic, a team of FBI agents set out to capture notorious gangster Al Capone. Kevin Costner stars as Eliot Ness, and Robert De Niro memorably plays Capone. Legendary James Bond actor Sean Connery won his only Academy Award for his role in the film.

38. 'Sicario' (2015)

- Director: Denis Villeneuve
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 121 minutes

Nominated for three Academy Awards, Sicario stars Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin as FBI agents who are tasked with taking down a Mexican cartel lord (Benicio Del Toro). Detractors on IMDb claim that the plot is lackluster, but fans love the action, drama, and intensity of the movie. A follow-up, Sicario 2, was released in 2018, although it didn't make this list.

37. 'Eastern Promises' (2007)

- Director: David Cronenberg
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 100 minutes

In Eastern Promises, a midwife (Naomi Watts) attempts to use the diary left behind by a deceased Russian teenager to reunite her surviving baby with its extended family. She gets more than she bargained for, however, when the diary reveals that the girl was a victim of the Russian mafia, which is now focused on eliminating the midwife for knowing too much. David Cronenberg's film explores what happens when members of the mob find their mentality questioned by an outsider.

36. 'Birds of Passage' (2018)

- Directors: Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra
- Stacker score: 83.3
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 125 minutes

Set in Colombia, Birds of Passage follows a family's involvement in the drug trade over the course of several decades. Divided into five chapters, the film is an epic both in length and scope, as well as an incredibly atmospheric watch.

35. 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' (1988)

- Director: Robert Zemeckis
- Stacker score: 83.3
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 104 minutes

The only family-friendly movie on this list, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a part animation, part live-action tale about a cartoon rabbit who must rely on a real-life detective to clear his name after he's accused of murder. Released through Disney's Touchstone Pictures, the movie won accolades from critics thanks to its groundbreaking visual style. It was a major box-office hit, took home three Academy Awards, and was partially responsible for the animation renaissance of the early '90s.

34. 'A Clockwork Orange' (1971)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 83.3
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 136 minutes

A dystopian film based on the Anthony Burgess novel of the same name, A Clockwork Orange is a disturbing, violent psychological study, as well as a satire of society's attempts to control citizens. The story follows a young hooligan named Alex who agrees to an experimental program that will rewire his brain to detest violence, only for the program to cause unforeseen side effects and consequences.

33. 'The Child' (2005)

- Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
- Stacker score: 83.9
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 95 minutes

In this Belgian film, a young criminal sells his son to a black-market adoption agency behind his girlfriend's back, then embarks on a desperate journey to get him back. Raw and hard to watch, the harrowing movie won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005.

32. 'Reservoir Dogs' (1992)

- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Stacker score: 84.4
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 99 minutes

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Reservoir Dogs is about a band of thieves who suspect that one of their own may be a police informant after a diamond heist goes horribly wrong. Regarded as a cult classic, the incredibly violent, memorably chatty film marked Tarantino's big-screen debut.

31. 'Traffic' (2000)

- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Stacker score: 84.4
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 147 minutes

Traffic explores the illegal drug trade from a variety of perspectives, including those of users, enforcers, distributors, and opposers, through a host of characters whose stories run in parallel. Overall, the movie sends the message that addiction is more of a public health problem than a felony-level crime, an angle that isn't often taken in many popular gangster movies.

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Usual Suspects
Gramercy Pictures/ Archive Photos/Getty Images

30. 'The Usual Suspects' (1995)

- Director: Bryan Singer
- Stacker score: 84.4
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 106 minutes

Part mystery, part gangster movie, The Usual Suspects tells the mazy, convoluted story of how six criminals who met in a police lineup are connected with an explosion on a mysterious ship. Acclaimed for its famous twist ending, the movie has earned praise from audiences and critics alike.

29. 'Baby Driver' (2017)

- Director: Edgar Wright
- Stacker score: 84.4
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 113 minutes

In Baby Driver a young, hearing-impaired getaway driver attempts to buy his way out of a life of indentured servitude by participating in one last heist. As things get underway, it becomes increasingly clear that the plan is doomed to fail, and Baby may never achieve the life of freedom he so desperately wants. Fans love the action in this film, as well as its "rocking" soundtrack.

28. 'American Hustle' (2013)

- Director: David O. Russell
- Stacker score: 84.4
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 138 minutes

Inspired by the FBI sting operation ABSCAM, American Hustle follows a con man and his girlfriend who are recruited by a federal agent and tasked with breaking into the New Jersey political scene in order to bring its scandals to light. The Oscar-nominated movie stars big names like Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence.

27. 'This Is England' (2006)

- Director: Shane Meadows
- Stacker score: 84.9
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 101 minutes

Set in early 1980s England, This is England chronicles what Roger Ebert describes as "a tipping point" in the skinhead movement, marking the moment when the gang went from being a working-class group to a racist one. Told through the eyes of Shaun, a troubled young man, the film demonstrates how the group's split led to some truly devastating and long-lasting consequences.

26. 'Hands Off the Loot' (1954)

- Director: Jacques Becker
- Stacker score: 84.9
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 83 minutes

Hands Off the Loot ("Touchez Pas au Grisbi" in the French original) follows a gentleman gangster and his female partner as they prepare to pull off a major heist that will allow them to retire in style. When a rival gangster threatens their plans, it becomes an everyone-for-themselves situation as the mobsters begin an all-out race for the spoils. Time Out called the movie "a model French gangster picture."

25. 'Assault on Precinct 13' (1976)

- Director: John Carpenter
- Stacker score: 84.9
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 91 minutes

When a group of bloodthirsty gangsters launch an attack on a nearly abandoned police precinct, the police officers and criminals inside must work together to defend themselves from most certain death. Shot in only 20 days, the film came to life after an investor approached John Carpenter with the idea of creating an exploitation film for under $100,000.

24. 'Bonnie and Clyde' (1967)

- Director: Arthur Penn
- Stacker score: 85.4
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 111 minutes

Roger Ebert called Bonnie and Clyde "a milestone in the history of American movies," praising the way that it encapsulates the entirety of human life. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as the infamous real-life criminal couple who robbed and murdered their way across the country in Depression-era America.

23. 'Uncut Gems' (2019)

- Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
- Stacker score: 85.9
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 135 minutes

A more recent addition to the genre, Uncut Gems is about an NYC jeweler who finds himself attempting to evade collectors and gangster relatives in the face of his mounting gambling debts, all the while addicted to the thrill of living dangerously. The movie, starring Adam Sandler, is chaotic and bizarre, maintaining constant suspense with its anxiety-inducing pace.

22. 'Mafioso' (1962)

- Director: Alberto Lattuada
- Stacker score: 85.9
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 105 minutes

The black-and-white dark comedy Mafioso is credited as being "one of the first Italian movies to look frankly" at the Sicilian Mafia. The story follows a factory foreman who takes his wife and daughters to his Sicilian hometown, only to fall in over his head with the local crime boss.

Scarface
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

21. 'Scarface' (1932)

- Directors: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson
- Stacker score: 85.9
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 93 minutes

In this first version of Scarface, we have the classic story of an ambitious gangster who quickly climbs the ladder of success, only to let his weaknesses cause his downfall. Paul Muni stars in the role of Tony, which Al Pacino would claim as his own some 50 years later. It is rumored that real-life mob boss Al Capone liked the movie so much that he owned his own copy of it (an expensive possession in the 1930s).

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20. 'City of God' (2002)

- Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
- Stacker score: 85.9
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 130 minutes

Loosely based on real events, City of God follows two teenagers in the notorious slum Cidade de Deus, located just a handful of miles outside Rio de Janeiro. One of the main protagonists hopes to succeed one of the slum's powerful and revered kingpins, while the other wants only to photograph the beauty in slum life. When their paths converge, the slum's fate is changed forever.

19. 'Band of Outsiders' (1964)

- Director: Jean-Luc Godard
- Stacker score: 85.9
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 95 minutes

A gem of French New Wave cinema, Band of Outsiders follows two young gangsters who coerce the mutual object of their affection (Anna Karina) into helping them rob her own home. The movie inspired Quentin Tarantino and is considered one of the famously cerebral Godard's more accessible movies.

18. 'The Sting' (1973)

- Director: George Roy Hill
- Stacker score: 86.5
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 129 minutes

Supposedly based on the real-life adventures of brothers Fred and Charley Gondorff, The Sting sees two con men team up to pull off the ultimate caper in a complicated scheme. The Oscar-winning flick stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford and is almost universally agreed to be better than its sequel, which only managed to gross $6 million before disappearing from the scene.

17. 'Mean Streets' (1973)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 87.5
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 112 minutes

Robert De Niro had his breakthrough role in Mean Streets as Johnny Boy, a loose cannon watched over by Charlie (Harvey Keitel), a young man conflicted between his Catholic upbringing and the local mob in New York City's Little Italy. Roger Ebert considered the movie among the best in film history, calling it "a source point of modern movies."

16. 'A Prophet' (2009)

- Director: Jacques Audiard
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 155 minutes

A dark and disturbing thriller, A Prophet follows a Franco-Arab teen and petty criminal who is imprisoned in France and quickly climbs the inmate ranks, eventually becoming one of the jail's top dogs. With an intriguing story and beautiful camera work, this Cannes prizewinner is a must-watch.

15. 'The Departed' (2006)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 151 minutes

In Martin Scorsese's The Departed, tensions between the police and an Irish-American street gang come to a head when members of both groups get caught infiltrating the other. The 2006 film has a truly all-star cast including names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Whalberg, and Martin Sheen.

14. 'The Killing' (1956)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 84 minutes

Based on a novel called Clean Break, The Killing sees convicted criminal Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) organize an elaborate heist at a racetrack with the help of five amateurs who only know bits and pieces of the entire plan. The film was the first professional offering from legendary director Stanley Kubrick.

13. 'Gangs of Wasseypur' (2012)

- Director: Anurag Kashyap
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 321 minutes

The first Indian entry on our list, Gangs of Wasseypur is a two-part epic that traces the feuds between three leading crime families that last for generations. In 2015, Netflix rereleased the movie as a series.

12. 'The French Connection' (1971)

- Director: William Friedkin
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 104 minutes

Taking home the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1971, The French Connection is based on the true story of one of the biggest drug busts in American history. Inspired by a book by Robin Moore, the film cast the two NYPD detectives who were responsible for leading the real-life case (Eddie Egan, Sonny Grosso) in supporting roles and relied heavily on them to ensure factual accuracy.

11. 'Le Cercle Rouge' (1970)

- Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 140 minutes

Atmospheric cinematography and incredibly suspenseful sequences really set Le Cercle Rouge apart. The film is about a recently released convict, a prison escapee, and an alcoholic ex-cop who work together to plan and execute a massive robbery against impossible odds.

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On the Waterfront
John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

10. 'On the Waterfront' (1954)

- Director: Elia Kazan
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 108 minutes

Marlon Brando gives what's arguably his best performance ever in On the Waterfront as an ex-prizefighter longshoreman who struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses. The gangster movie took home eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay.

9. 'L.A. Confidential' (1997)

- Director: Curtis Hanson
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 138 minutes

One of Russell Crowe's first American roles saw him as rage-filled cop Bud White in L.A. Confidential. The box-office hit follows a team of three wildly different policemen (besides White, there's a morally upright rule-follower and a smarmy corner-cutter) as they investigate a series of murders in 1950s Los Angeles.

8. 'The Irishman' (2019)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 209 minutes

Starring three of gangster films' biggest names—Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci—The Irishman is one of the best crime films to come out of Hollywood in recent years. Based on the nonfiction book by Charles Brandt titled I Heard You Paint Houses, the film follows Frank Sheeran, a former labor union leader, mob hitman, and friend of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, as he reflects on his life and the chaos he inflicted on those around him.

7. 'A Brighter Summer Day' (1991)

- Director: Edward Yang
- Stacker score: 90.6
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 237 minutes

Based on a true story that rocked Taiwan in the 1960s, A Brighter Summer Day follows a teenage boy, his young girlfriend, and the conflict that exists between two youth gangs. A slow-paced drama, the story is both intimate and epic, a balance that is the hallmark of Edward Yang's work.

6. 'Pépé le Moko' (1937)

- Director: Julien Duvivier
- Stacker score: 91.1
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 94 minutes

Experimental for its time, French crime drama Pépé le Moko is about a wanted gangster who's on the lam and protected from capture in Algiers' Casbah. When a beautiful femme fatale appears in his life, the pull to return to Paris could prove too much, resulting in his capture.

5. 'Goodfellas' (1990)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 146 minutes

The rise and fall of mob boss Henry Hill is chronicled in Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, Goodfellas. Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci star in this epic of small-time gangsters based on Nicholas Pileggi's nonfiction book Wiseguy, which tells Hill's true story.

4. 'Rififi' (1955)

- Director: Jules Dassin
- Stacker score: 93.2
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 118 minutes

The godfather of many modern-day gangster movies, Rififi was the first—and remains the ultimate—heist film. In the flick, four ex-criminals unite to pull off one final, epic robbery in Paris. According to Roger Ebert, the movie was so realistic and paid such great attention to detail that it was temporarily banned in Paris, as police worried it could be viewed as an instructional guide rather than a work of fiction.

3. 'The Godfather: Part II' (1974)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Runtime: 202 minutes

In this Godfather sequel/prequel, two storylines run in parallel, one following the criminal and legal problems of new godfather Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), while the other follows the orphaned Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) from Sicily to New York City, charting his rise to power. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, The Godfather: Part II became the first sequel to take home a trophy for "Best Picture."

2. 'Pulp Fiction' (1994)

- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Stacker score: 95.3
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Runtime: 154 minutes

The lives of two hitmen, a mob boss' wife, and an aging boxer collide in the classic Pulp Fiction. A Palme d'Or winner at Cannes and a Best Picture Oscar nominee, the movie was graphically violent and narratively experimental, telling its three main stories out of linear order. It is often considered a hallmark of postmodern film and a cultural watershed.

The Godfather
Bettmann/Getty Images

1. 'The Godfather' (1972)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Runtime: 175 minutes

Finally, the best gangster movie of all time according to Stacker's calculations is the original entry in the Godfather series. The movie stars Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone, the aging leader of the Corleone crime family, who is forced to transfer control to his son Michael (Al Pacino), a hesitant but ultimately ruthless leader. A Best Picture Oscar winner, the film was the highest-grossing movie of 1972.

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