Beloved by moviegoers for decades, the mafia film genre usually revolves around key players who make up the world of organized crime in various settings, locations and cultures, with a dash of family life and a generous dose of violence. included in the plots. The genre dates back to the early days of cinema, but was popularized by directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese in the 1970s and beyond.

Over the years, the mafia genre has continued to challenge stereotypes and include elements from different film genres, such as suspense or comedy. The latest mafia-related movie, “Mafia Mamma,” which hit theaters on April 14, features a traditional look at the Italian mafia, with a refreshingly comedic tone delivered by Toni Collette and Monica Bellucci. In the film, Colette’s character, Kristin, unexpectedly inherits her estranged grandfather’s mob empire in Calabria, Italy, and must take on the role of mob boss without having any experience or knowledge of the mode. of life.

Ahead, refresh yourself with some of the best mafia movies.

1 & 2. “The Godfather” and “The Godfather: Part 2”

Francis Ford Coppola’s epic follows the Corleone family through several generations as they balance family life with the brutality of being in the mob. When patriarch Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) passes the torch to his reluctant son, Michael (Al Pacino), he quickly becomes the head of the family and must carry on the Corleone legacy in the world of organized crime. (“The Godfather Part III” was not included with its predecessors, as it was arguably considered by viewers and critics to be the least popular of the three films in the trilogy.)

3. “The Goodfellas”

No doubt one of Martin ScorseseGoodfellas’ best-loved works are based on the 1985 non-fiction book “Wiseguy,” by Nicholas Pileggi. The film centers on Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), who is introduced to the inner workings of the Mafia as a young adult and rises through the ranks to work under capo Paulie Cicero (Paul Sorvino), along with fellow associates James Conway (robert deniro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci).

THE GOODFREE, Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, 1990Image source: Everett Collection

4. “The Untouchables”

Based on the 1957 book of the same name, “The Untouchables” tells the story of the rise of Chicago-based gangster Al Capone (De Niro) during the prohibition era of the 1920s. , Capone is essentially untouchable, but Prohibition agent Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) is determined to put an end to the gangster’s empire and forms a team of officers to help him in his task.

5. “Donnie Brasco”

“Donnie Brasco” is based on the 1988 book “Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia” by former FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone. In the late 1970s, FBI agent Joseph Pistone (Johnny Depp) works undercover under the alias Donnie Brasco to investigate the Bonanno Crime Family in New York City. After forming a friendship with Bonanno enforcer Lefty Ruggiero (Pacino), Pistone successfully infiltrates the mob, but slowly finds himself too comfortable with the lifestyle at the expense of his family and his job. .

DONNIE BRASCO, from left: Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, 1997. Sony Pictures/courtesy Everett CollectionImage source: Everett Collection

6. “Once Upon a Time in America”

Based on the novel “The Woods” by Harry Gray, “Once Upon a Time in America” ​​centers on David “Noodles” Aaronson (De Niro), who rose from poverty on the Lower East Side in the 1910s to becoming a mob boss during the prohibition era of the 1920s and 1930s. Like many mob films, “Once Upon a Time in America” ​​examines themes of family, Italian-American culture, betrayal and greed.

7. “The Deceased”

‘The Departed’ earned Martin Scorsese his first Oscar for directing and for good reason. In Boston, policeman Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is hired to go undercover and gather information on Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), a local Irish mob boss. While infiltrating Costello’s crew, Costigan learns that there is a mole in the Massachusetts State Police Department keeping Costello from getting caught for his crimes. In a fight against time, Costigan and the mole work against each other to discover each other’s identities before facing the consequences in their respective groups.

THE DEPARTURE, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, 2006, Warner Bros./courtesy Everett CollectionImage source: Everett Collection

8. “A Bronx Tale”

In robert deniroThe first film of “A Bronx Tale” follows Calogero (Lillo Brancato Jr.), a boy growing up in the Bronx in the 1960s. Throughout his childhood into his young adult years, the neighborhood of Calogero is frequented by mob members, and he is constantly torn between joining the life of organized crime or listening to his hardworking father who strongly disapproves of the lifestyle. In addition to these internal conflicts, Calogero faces racial tensions in his neighborhood, which proves even more difficult when he falls in love with a black girl named Jane.

9. “Casino”

Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci join forces again in the 1995 film, “Casino”, which is based on the non-fiction book “Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas”, by Nicholas Pileggi. In the 1970s and 1980s, Sam “Ace” Rothstein (De Niro) was a low-level mobster who took over the supervision of the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. Pressured by his hot-tempered friend, Tommy (Pesci), his wife Ginger, and Las Vegas politicians and law enforcement, Ace works hard to keep his business afloat and stay under the radar or face the consequences. .

CASINO, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, 1995, in the casinoImage source: Everett Collection

10. “The Eastern Promises”

When the midwife Anna (Naomi Watts) grappling with the loss of a 14-year-old mother who dies in childbirth, she discovers a diary that links her pregnancy to the Russian mob in London. With the diary as her only source of information, Anna sets out to find the father and is soon introduced to Vory v Zakone member Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen), who advises him to stay away from the violent criminal underworld.

11. “The Irishman”

Based on the 2004 nonfiction book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” centers on Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a union truck driver who became a hitman for the family. of the Bufalino crime, part of the mafia based in Pennsylvania. Over the course of two decades, Sheeran worked with family boss Russell Bufalino (Pesci) and Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) from the 1950s through the 1970s.

THE IRISH MAN, from left: Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, Robert De Niro, 2019. Netflix/courtesy Everett CollectionImage source: Everett Collection