10 Best Gangster-Thriller Movies, Ranked

Say what you need about crime in actual life, however when it’s depicted in a piece of fiction, it may usually be thrilling. Crime films are available many styles and sizes, however arguably probably the most outstanding sub-genre inside the broader crime genre is the gangster movie. Given these revolve round mobsters, shady people, or authority figures tasked with taking down such individuals, most gangster films are at the very least considerably thrilling only for together with gangsters as characters.

However then there are different gangster films that go one step additional on the subject of offering viewers with thrills, incorporating components of real thriller films into the proceedings. The next films all do that to some extent, being classifiable as each gangster/crime films and thrillers, with such traditional style hybrids being ranked under from nice to best.

10 ‘Get Carter’ (1971)

Director: Mike Hodges

Picture by way of MGM-EMI Distributors

Michael Caine had a mammoth acting career, discovering breakout success within the Nineteen Sixties and solely formally retiring in 2023, on the age of 90. Given the excessive variety of movies he appeared in, some of his classics are rather underrated, however fortunately, Get Carter is one which’s usually held up as one in all his finest and most iconic, particularly on the subject of his earlier roles.

Caine performs a methodical and expert legal named Jack Carter, with this gangster film taking a flip towards the realm of revenge thriller when Carter’s brother is killed, and he stops at nothing to hunt vengeance for this act. Get Carterisn’t an motion film, however it’s violent, and likewise advantages from having a usually good tempo. It’s fast sufficient to really feel like a thriller, however not overblown in a approach that dangers issues getting too foolish. It’s a slick, quietly tense, and, in some methods, timeless British gangster flick.

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9 ‘Tokyo Drifter’ (1966)

Director: Seijun Suzuki

There’s an entire world of exciting yakuza movies that don’t are inclined to get the popularity they deserve exterior Japan, with among the finest at the very least gaining cult standing, to some extent, internationally. Probably the greatest of those Japanese gangster films is Tokyo Drifter, which might additionally qualify as one of many boldest and strangest, due to how hypnotic the visuals are and the way hanging the enhancing/presentation general is.

It is extra concerning the fashion than the narrative, however there may be nonetheless a compelling story right here, following a yakuza gang member getting focused by an murderer, resulting in a cat-and-mouse chase, all of the whereas the gangster tries to work out who’s betrayed him and ordered the hit. Tokyo Drifter is quick and livid (hey, a bit of like that other movie with a similar title), and packs loads of thrills into its tight 83-minute runtime.

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8 ‘The Untouchables’ (1987)

Director: Brian De Palma

Sean Connery and Kevin Costner as Jim Malone and Eliot Ness talking in The Untouchables
Picture by way of Paramount Photos

You’d hope that combining the skills of Brian De Palma as a director with the leading man abilities of Kevin Costner, plus throwing in supporting turns from Sean Connery and Robert De Niro – would result in one thing nice. Fortunately, The Untouchables is a film that throws all these proficient individuals collectively (plus others, like David Mamet writing the screenplay and Ennio Morricone composing the rating) and emerges as one thing genuinely nice.

The Untouchables is about through the Prohibition period and is a fictionalized retelling of how the police took down Al Capone, turning the tables by combating again with aggression in opposition to his ruthless legal empire. It’s a gangster film the place the gangsters take a backseat, positive, however they nonetheless drive the battle, and the movie does discover, to some extent, what occurs when police begin to use violence nearly as liberally because the criminals they’re pursuing to attain their targets.

The Untouchables

Launch Date
June 3, 1987

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7 ‘White Warmth’ (1949)

Director: Raoul Walsh

James Cagney_White Heat - 1949 (1)
Picture by way of Warner Bros. 

White Warmth is undoubtedly one of many best gangster movies released during Hollywood’s Golden Age, and likewise among the many remaining ones, serving as a strong final hurrah for this fashion of crime movie. It follows James Cagney at his largest and most magnetic, taking part in a relentless legal who wastes no time following a jail break, reassembling his gang and planning a posh heist.

It’s not a spoiler to say that the heist doesn’t go completely to plan, with White Warmth then mining loads of pleasure and suspense from exploring the implications of issues not figuring out the best way Cagney’s character hoped they’d. It strikes extremely quick for a criminal offense film of its age, and every little thing builds as much as an unforgettable and iconic finale that elevates an already excellent gangster film into the realm of greatness.

White Warmth

Raoul Walsh

James Cagney , Virginia Mayo , Edmond O’Brien


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6 ‘The Lengthy Good Friday’ (1980)

Director: John Mackenzie

Bob Hoskins as Harold looking at Helen Mirren as Victoria while lying in bed together in The Long Good Friday
Picture by way of HandMade Movies

Saying the phrases “British gangster film” will usually conjure up pictures of the crime movies directed by Guy Ritchie, however going again a number of years earlier than he started making films does reveal some gangster classics that have been likely influential in the development of his style. Working example, The Lengthy Good Friday, which blends darkish comedy, thrills, suspense, and an exceedingly unfortunate principal character into one tense and entertaining movie.

The Lengthy Good Fridaycemented Bob Hoskins as more than just a character actor, as he largely carries the film, taking part in an bold gangster in London who needs to department out and turn out to be at the very least considerably legit, despite the fact that the universe appears to produce other plans for him. It’s a novel gangster movie and one which holds up extraordinarily properly greater than 4 many years on from its preliminary launch.

The Lengthy Good Friday

Launch Date
November 3, 1980

John Mackenzie


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5 ‘Le Samouraï’ (1967)

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville

Alain Delon as Jef Costello walking down the street in Le Samourai
Picture by way of S.N. Prodis.

Le Samouraï is one other distinctive sort of gangster film, happening in a shady legal underworld the place many criminals conceal their true intentions, and the protagonist, a doomed hitman, doesn’t know who to belief. The film follows him as he’s focused by each the regulation and rival gangsters, the previous making an attempt to seize and imprison him and the latter stopping at nothing to kill him outright.

It’s an arthouse crime movie, in a approach, with the thriller components understated, due to the slow-burn nature of the storytelling. However Le Samouraïby no means feels boring, as a result of it’s at all times exact and managed, to not point out exceptionally fashionable. And, when all else fails, the movie’s additionally bought loads of Alain Delon, given he performs the lead position, and it’s not a daring declare or something to say that he’s simple on the eyes.

Le Samouraï

Launch Date
October 25, 1967

Jean-Pierre Melville

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4 ‘Infernal Affairs’ (2002)

Administrators: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, Alan Mak

Picture by way of Media Asia Distribution

So far as gangster movies made outside the U.S. go, few are higher than Infernal Affairs. Its premise is an hermetic one, seeing not only one character go undercover, however two. First, there’s a detective who goes undercover to infiltrate a harmful group of gangsters, after which there’s a legal from that group who himself manages to infiltrate the police power.

So begins a psychologically dizzying combat between these two individuals who’re hiding their true identities, although the very first thing both must do, in fact, is uncover the id of the opposite earlier than confronting him. This all makes Infernal Affairs work as a fantastically gripping exploration of two opposing sides – the police and a legal gang – at odds with one another due to the regulation, in addition to an exhilarating/tense battle of wits between two males who’ve each positioned themselves in nice hazard.

Infernal Affairs

Launch Date
December 12, 2002

Andrew Lau , Alan Mak

Andy Lau , Tony Leung Chiu-wai , Anthony Chau-Sang Wong , Eric Tsang , Kelly Chen , Sammi Cheng , Edison Chen , Shawn Yue

101 Minutes

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3 ‘Reservoir Canine’ (1992)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

The cast of 'Reservoir Dogs' wearing black suits and walking down the street
Picture by way of Miramax Movies

Reservoir Dogs is an explosive movie, each for the content material featured and for the truth that it propelled Quentin Tarantino to fame, establishing him as a writer/director to be reckoned with. It’s a novel and admirably grounded tackle the heist style, following a bunch of gangsters who attempt to pull off a jewellery retailer theft, just for issues to spiral uncontrolled.

This results in sure members being considered suspiciously, given it appears seemingly the heist solely went unsuitable as a result of somebody within the group was really an undercover cop. Reservoir Canine performs round with chronology, and does so in a approach that makes issues extra intense and shocking, moderately than much less. It’s an lively film that’s by no means boring, even for a second, and truthfully, crime films don’t get a lot tighter or extra ferocious.

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2 ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ (2012)

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
Picture by way of Viacom 18 Movement Photos

Each elements of Gangs of Wasseypur are lengthy, exceeding 2.5 hours, so watching the duology as a single movie means having to discover a bit over 5 hours to spare. Which may sound like an enormous ask, however this epic film is well worth the time, as a result of it tells an ambitious story filled with twisted and compelling characters that’s additionally actually unpredictable, mentioned narrative spanning many years and following three totally different generations wrapped up in a violent gang conflict.

It is also laborious to categorise Gangs of Wasseypur on the subject of style, seeing because it crosses over into so many all through its prolonged runtime. It’s naturally a gangster movie, and it additionally has an excessive amount of motion, darkish comedy, and sufficient tense sequences to make it usually really feel like a thriller. It’s daring and daring to a fault, in nearly too some ways to depend, and is among the most enjoyable gangster epics ever made.

Gangs of Wasseypur

Launch Date
June 22, 2012

Anurag Kashyap

Manoj Bajpayee , Nawazuddin Siddiqui , Tigmanshu Dhulia , Richa Chadha , Reema Sen , Piyush Mishra , Huma Qureshi , Jaideep Ahlawat

321 Minutes

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1 ‘The Departed’ (2006)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello pointing his gun at a person offscreen in The Departed
Picture by way of Warner Bros. Photos

Martin Scorsese’s legacy shouldn’t be solely tied to the crime/gangster genres, as a result of his physique of labor is more diverse than many give it credit for. That being mentioned, a few of his finest and most well-known films have concerned a have a look at life within the mob, often with a dramatic and/or darkly comedic edge. Thrillers by Scorsese are a little less common, however The Departed is one in all his finest and most thrilling… to not point out, it’s additionally a gangster film.

Plot-wise, The Departed has the identical premise as Infernal Affairs, being a remake of that aforementioned 2002 movie. The pacing’s a bit of totally different, as is the ending, and there are a number of extra fleshed-out aspect characters, too, however each movies work for largely the identical causes. The Departed is equally nail-biting, functioning as each an awesome crime film and a very good thriller, and is about nearly as good as gangster-thriller films can get.

The Departed

Launch Date
October 5, 2006

Martin Scorsese

150 minutes

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