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The best gangster movies on Netflix

There are lots of different mob movies to check out from different time periods and locations.
By
September 28, 2022
Netflix Originals next to popcorn stock photo 6 gangster movies on netflix

Are you looking to watch a movie with big crimes, lots of guns, and an unhealthy dose of profanity? Fuhgeddaboutit! We’re here to tell you about the best gangster movies on Netflix right now.

Read more: What’s new on Netflix

Netflix’s selection of gangster movies is robust, but many of the heavy hitters are missing. For example, the series of Godfather films and Goodfellas are nowhere to be found on the service. However, there are some bonafide classics available, as well as a few off-the-beaten-path gems you should check out. Don’t have Netflix? You can sign up at the link below.

Netflix icon
Netflix
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

Best gangster movies on Netflix

Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list of the best gangster movies on Netflix as films come and go from the service.

Scarface

IMDb score — 8.3

Al Pacino has played more than one gangster or crime lord in his long career, but none of those roles were as over the top as his character in this 1983 classic gangster movie. His performance as Tony Montana, the Cuba-born criminal that rose up to become the crime lord of Miami, has been parodied tons of times for his many one-liners and his actions, particularly in the film’s final scenes. It’s truly among the most entertaining gangster films of all time.

The Irishman

IMDb score — 7.8

Nearly 20 years after Goodfellas, Scorsese and De Niro teamed up again for this 2019 Netflix original movie. It’s over three hours long, but it’s still very watchable. It’s based loosely on the real-life story of Frank Sheeran (De Niro), who served in World War II and later became a truck driver. In the end, he became a hitman for the mob and was involved with the late head of the Teamsters Union, Jimmy Hoffa.

When this movie was first released, many reviewers wrote about how advanced technology was used to “de-age” De Niro and other cast members as we watch their lives from World War II to nearly the present day. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about visual effects overshadowing the story. The Irishman still works as an examination of the life of a mob hitman.

Blow

IMDb score — 7.5

Johnny Depp plays real-life criminal George Jung in this 2001 movie.  As Jung, Depp shows how this character rose up in the 1970s as a typical drug smuggler to become Pablo Escobar’s top importer of cocaine from Columbia to the US. Penélope Cruz is also terrific playing George’s drugged-up wife Mirtha. It’s one of the best true crime gangster movies on Netflix.

Gun City

IMDb score — 6.3

Gun City is a Spanish gangster film set in Barcelona in 1921. It’s best experienced in its native language, and it follows detectives as they try to track down anarchists who hijacked a military train. The detectives turn to increasingly brutal methods to get their information, including murder. Once the detectives get to the heart of the situation, they have precious little time to work out a solution or risk further bloodshed.

The Ruthless

IMDb score — 6.2

This Netflix original movie from 2019 comes from Italy. It shows how a young man in Milan, Santo Russo, started out in small-time crime while he was a teenager. He eventually became a major figure in organized crime in Milan during the 1980s. If you don’t mind subtitles, it’s one of the best gangster movies on Netflix.

The Gentlemen

the gentlemen
A24

IMDb score — 7.8

This 2019 drama was written and directed by Guy Ritchie, who is the master of British crime drama. In this film, an American gangster, played by Matthew McConaughey, is trying to sell off his cannabis business, and lots of Brits want in on the action. The movie also stars Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, and Michelle Dockery, among many others. It’s definitely one of the best gangster movies on Netflix.

Donnie Brasco

donnie brasco
Warner Bros

IMDb score — 7.7

This 1997 movie is based on true events. Set in the 1970s, it stars Johnny Depp (he’s back) as an FBI agent who goes undercover and inside the New York City mafia. The movie shows how his character got way too deep into his role and even developed a friendship with one of the mobsters, played by Al Pacino (he’s back too). This movie should be a must for all crime film fans and one of the best gangster movies on Netflix.

The Shadow of Violence

IMDb score — 6.8

Set in rural Ireland, this 2020 gangster movie on Netflix (also called Calm With Horses in other parts of the world) is all about a mob enforcer who wants to get back in touch with his ex-wife and son. However, his gangster bosses now want him to kill a person for them. He has to figure out what’s more important: staying in good graces with the mob family or his real family.

Imperial Dreams

IMDb score — 6.7

Netflix Original films are starting to grow in popularity and prestige. Imperial Dreams won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Festival and has been a hit for the streaming company. It is no surprise Imperial Dreams had such success, as it follows popular themes such as mass incarceration, police racism, education, and gang life. Reformed gangster Bambi leaves prison and returns to Watts, Los Angeles. Plenty of obstacles get in his way to rehabilitation.

Legend

IMDb score — 6.9

This 2015 movie brings us Tom Hardy, playing dual roles as both Ronnie and Reggie Kray. The real-life identical twin brothers were much-feared mobsters in London during the 1950s and 1960s. We witness their rise and fall as gangsters until they finally get arrested and sentenced to life in prison in 1969. It’s an overlooked movie but still one of the best gangster movies on Netflix.

Honorable mentions

Here are a few more great gangster movies on Netflix that didn’t quite make the main list:

  • The Debt Collector — A martial artist who is down on his luck is recruited to be the mob’s debt collector.
  • How I Fell In Love With A Gangster — A woman gets involved with a major Poland-based gangster in this Netflix original movie based on true events.
  • Savages — A crime cartel decides to muscle in on some California weed “businessmen” by kidnapping their girlfriends.
  • Riot — A cop robs a bank, but it’s all a setup so he can be sent to the same prison as the Russian mob boss who ordered the death of the cop’s wife.
  • Menace II Society — A teenager gets caught in between several gangs in 1990s Los Angeles in this movie.

That’s our collection of the best gangster movies on Netflix right now! We will update this list as new movies arrive — or, unfortunately, some of the films on this list leave the streaming service.

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