Mafia and gangster movies have always been a big part of Hollywood’s culture and have been around for as much as the industry itself. Most movie lovers have seen classic mafia masterpieces such as GoodFellas, The Godfather or Scarface. But, there are many other movie gems you most likely didn’t get a chance to see. Here are the best mafia movies you’ve probably missed out on.
The Musketeers of Pig Alley
Today, you can gamble from the comfort of your own home and browse the best legal NJ online casinos to look up and compare casinos and find the one that suits you the most. But, in the past, gambling wasn’t as widely accepted in the US as it is nowadays. Set in pre-depression New York, The Musketeers of Pig Alley is one of the first mafia movies ever made. It is loosely based on the events surrounding the fate of gambler Herman Rosenthal and is inspired by themes such as gambling, street hoods and gangsters.
Director D.W. Griffith actually used local gangsters, known gamblers and gang members as film extras to make his movie feel more authentic. Filmed and released in 1912, this American gangster classic is just 17 minutes long, but is one of the most influential movies of the early US cinematography. In 2016, The Musketeers of Pig Alley was added in the US National Film Registry due to its cultural and historical significance.
Even after nearly five decades after it came out, Get Carter is still one of the best crime thriller movies ever created. What makes this movie so unique and immersive is that at times, you will feel like it’s a real-life scene, even though the world has changed so much since 1971, when this movie was made. The sets, the background and the extras in the betting shops and pubs all perfectly depict the everyday struggle of the impoverished lower class.
Taking the centre spot of Get Carter is Michael Caine, who brilliantly managed to carry out every brutal and chilly scene his iconic character goes through during the movie. Get Carter is considered one of the great British masterpieces and has garnered a massive cult following and helped propel Michael Caine into superstardom.
The Long Good Friday
The Long Good Friday is another British cult classic set in roughly the same period as Get Carter. Although fictionalized, the main storyline of the movie is a direct metaphor to the events and concerns that occurred in Great Britain during the late 1970s, weaving together topics that concern political and police corruption, the free-market economy in the UK and all of the social problems that Britain was facing at the time.
You could argue that this movie is anything but unknown, as it’s voted at number 21 on the list of BFI top 100 British films and provided Bob Hoskins with his breakout role, but this movie is criminally underrated and not that familiar among casual movie fans, especially outside of the UK.
Gambling has always been a big and very important business for the mafia, and it’s a well-known fact that some of the biggest mafia families in the US were involved in some type of gambling or betting. No movie illustrates this connection better than the 1995 three-hour epic Casino. Set in Las Vegas, the main storyline of the movie is inherently fascinating on its own. With the main cast consisting of Sharon Stone, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, Casino is a dazzling display of the rise and collapse of a gambling empire.
This Scorsese movie was also one of our top picks for best casino movies you can watch if you’re looking for some great casino mafia movies and is definitely one of Hollywood’s best mafia movies, worth rewatching several times.
After collaborating with Viggo Mortensen on A History of Violence in 2005, David Cronenberg signed up the experienced actor for another gripping gangster film two years later, called Eastern Promises. To many critics surprise, this was one of Mortensen’s best performances, as he perfectly pulled off his role as Nikolai Luzhin, a tatted-out driver of the Russian mafia boss, who also serves as the family ‘cleaner’.
The movie is known for its plot twist, which puts a whole other perspective on the London underground. Despite winning several awards and garnering an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination for Mortensen, the movie has passed relatively unnoticed among the general public, grossing just slightly over $56 million on a $50 million budget.