Saturday, January 14, 2012

Top 10 gangster films

10. The Untouchables

920′s prohibition Chicago is corrupt from the judges downward. So in going up against Al Capone, Treasury agent Eliot Ness picks just two cops to help him and his accountant colleague. One is a sharp-shooting rookie, the other a seen-it-all beat man. The four of them are ready to battle Capone and his empire, but it could just be that guns are not the best way to get him.

9. The Departed

In South Boston, the state police force is waging war on Irish-American organized crime. Young undercover cop Billy Costigan is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Frank Costello. While Billy quickly gains Costello’s confidence, Colin Sullivan, a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the state police as an informer for the syndicate, is rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit. Each man becomes deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations he has penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the mob and the police that there’s a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy-and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself. But is either willing to turn on the friends and comrades they’ve made during their long stints undercover?

8. Casino

his Martin Scorsese film depicts the Janus-like quality of Las Vegas–it has a glittering, glamorous face, as well as a brutal, cruel one. Ace Rothstein and Nicky Santoro, mobsters who move to Las Vegas to make their mark, live and work in this paradoxical world. Seen through their eyes, each as a foil to the other, the details of mob involvement in the casinos of the 1970′s and ’80′s are revealed. Ace is the smooth operator of the Tangiers casino, while Nicky is his boyhood friend and tough strongman, robbing and shaking down the locals. However, they each have a tragic flaw–Ace falls in love with a hustler, Ginger, and Nicky falls into an ever-deepening spiral of drugs and violence.

7. Reservoir Dogs

They were six strangers, assembled to pull off the perfect crime: Mr. White, a professional criminal; Mr. Orange, a young newcomer; Mr. Blonde, a trigger-happy killer; Mr. Pink, a paranoid neurotic; Mr. Brown; and Mr. Blue. Hired by mob boss Joe Cabot and given fake names so no one could identify the others, they thought there was no way their heist could have failed. But after a police ambush, killing Mr. Brown and seriously injuring Mr. Orange, the criminals return to their rendezvous point (a warehouse), and realize that one of them had to have been a police informant. But who?

6. Carlito's Way

Carlito has just gotten out of prison due to technicalities with the help of his sleazy lawyer. After a life spent trafficking heroin he decides not to pursue the life of the streets. He buys into a night club and begins saving money to move to the Bahamas, but his presence as a known player makes it inevitable that he get sucked back into his violent former life.

5. Scarface

An update of the 1932 film, Scarface (1983) follows gangster Tony Montana and his close friend Manny Ray from their trip on the Cuban Boat Lift for refugees to their arrival in Miami. After killing a powerful Cuban figure, Montana and company gain the ability to leave their refugee camps and roam around the U.S. After unsuccessfully trying to make it legitamately in the country, Montana and Ray resort to selling cocaine to dealers around the world. Tony’s rise is quick, but as he becomes more powerful, his enemies and his own paranoia begin to plague his empire.

4. Once upon a time in America

Epic, episodic, tale of the lives of a small group of New York City Jewish gangsters spanning over 40 years. Told mostly in flashbacks and flash-forwards, the movie centers on small-time hood David ‘Noodles’ Aaronson and his lifelong partners in crime; Max, Cockeye and Patsy and their friends from growing up in the rough Jewish neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1920s, to the last years of Prohibition in the early 1930s, and then to the late 1960s where an elderly Noodles returns to New York after many years in hiding to look into the past.

3. Godfather Part 2

2. Good Fellas

The lowly, blue-collar side of New York’s Italian mafia is explored in this crime biopic of wiseguy Henry Hill. As he makes his way from strapping young petty criminal, to big-time thief, to middle-aged cocaine addict and dealer, the film explores in detail the rules and traditions of organized crime. Watching the rise and fall of Hill and his two counterparts, the slick jack-of-all-trades criminal Jimmy Conway and the brutish, intimidating Tommy DeVito, this true story realistically explores the core, blue-collar part of the mob.

1. The Godfather

the Godfather has to be number 1 because it is unparalleled in this genre (and virtually all others). Vito Corleone is the aging don (head) of the Corleone Mafia Family. His youngest son Michael has returned from WWII just in time to see the wedding of Connie Corleone (Michael’s sister) to Carlo Rizzi. All of Michael’s family is involved with the Mafia, but Michael just wants to live a normal life. Drug dealer Virgil Sollozzo is looking for Mafia Families to offer him protection in exchange for a profit of the drug money. He approaches Don Corleone about it, but, much against the advice of the Don’s lawyer Tom Hagen, the Don is morally against the use of drugs, and turns down the offer. This does not please Sollozzo, who has the Don shot down by some of his hit men. The Don barely survives, which leads his son Michael to begin a violent mob war against Sollozzo and tears the Corleone family apart.

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