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.
Netflix’s selection of gangster movies is robust, but a lot of the heavy hitters are missing. Goodfellas, the series of Godfather films, and The Departed 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 definitely check out.
Best gangster movies on Netflix:
Editor’s note: We will update this list of the best gangster movies on Netflix regularly as films come and go from the service.
1. Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction may not be a “mob movie” in the strictest sense of the term, since it doesn’t really involve the clichés of Italian mobsters in amazing suits. However, the film does focus primarily on two gangsters and their mob boss’ business endeavors, so it’s as much a gangster movie on Netflix as you can get.
The second film from acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction tells three somewhat-related stories about California crime told in non-sequential order. Each story has a beginning, middle, and end, but how they all intertwine isn’t really clear until the final scenes. Even then, one story — The Gold Watch — seems a bit less connected to the other two.
If you haven’t seen Pulp Fiction, you are truly missing out. This is easily one of the best films of its decade and there are so many references and memes related to the movie that you’re doing yourself a disservice by skipping it.
2. Mean Streets
If one were to make a list of the greatest gangster movies of all time, chances are at least three of them would be from director Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed). Some lists would also include Mean Streets, which is not only the first gangster movie from Scorsese, but also his first proper feature.
Based somewhat on Scorsese’s own life, Mean Streets tells the story of two Italian-Americans living in New York City. Each man has some sort of connection to organized crime with one reveling in it and one feeling conflicted by the unethical aspects of the job.
As usual with Scorsese, Catholicism — specifically Catholic guilt — plays a major part in the story. You’ll also see the beginnings of many of Scorsese’s trademark camera moves and dialog deliveries in Mean Streets.
If you’re a Scorsese fan, it’s worth taking a trip back in time to see how he got started. If you’re just looking for a good gangster movie on Netflix, you can’t go wrong with this, either.
3. Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels
In Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels, a young card shark runs afoul of a powerful crime lord in Britain. Since he now owes the mob boss £500,000, he and his friends decide to rob a gang who happen to live right next door. As you might expect, things don’t go as planned.
Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels features the same style of direction, similar themes, and even a similar cast to Snatch. It’s almost like director Guy Ritchie remade his own film when he set out to make Snatch.
Be on the lookout for musician Sting in a small role and also dig the awesome 90s-era soundtrack!
4. Layer Cake
Layer Cake stars Daniel Craig, the man who would eventually take up the James Bond mantle from Pierce Brosnan. The first Bond film with Craig as the lead came out in 2006, but in 2004 when Layer Cake saw its release, he was relatively unknown.
Watching Layer Cake now, it’s easy to see how Craig’s acting in this film was probably a big reason why he was chosen to play Bond. He comes across as smart, intuitive, dangerous, and alluring in this role — everything you need from a good Bond.
Layer Cake is directed by Matthew Vaughan, who would go on to direct the series of Kingsman movies. He also produced both Snatch and Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels, making all these films kind of like an interesting little trilogy.
5. In Order Of Disappearance
Have you seen the Liam Neeson film Cold Pursuit? Well, that film is actually an American remake of this Norwegian crime thriller. Both films are even helmed by the same director!
As with Cold Pursuit, the story of In Order Of Disappearance (or Kraftidioten in Norwegian) centers on a snowplow driver who lives a happy, carefree life. That happiness is shattered by the death of his son in an apparent drug-related suicide.
The snowplow driver doesn’t believe his son killed himself nor that he was doing drugs, and it turns out he’s right. This starts a chain of events where the snowplow driver goes on a revenge spree through the underground world of Norwegian drug dealers.
Interestingly, this movie is actually a comedy. The comedy is very dark but it still has some incredibly funny moments.
6. Cardboard Gangsters
This Irish film — set and filmed in Ireland and even funded by an Irish government agency — was the most-viewed Irish film of 2017. It received numerous award nominations. Chances are good, though, that you’ve never heard of it. Now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about!
Cardboard Gangsters tells the sometimes-funny, sometimes-horrifying story of young Irish drug dealers looking to dominate their neck of the woods. The film follows as these young, hot-headed upstarts get involved in matters way over their heads — with tragic consequences.
This film is in English but the Irish accents are thick and some slang terms are used that might be confusing. It is easily one of the best gangster movies on Netflix right now, but it still might be helpful to put the subtitles on for this one!
7. Gangs of New York
Martin Scorsese is back in the game with a great gangster movie he planned for decades. Gangs of New York tells the story of New York’s birth and the arousal of gangs within the city. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Amsterdam, an Irish immigrant following his father’s murder. Also starring are Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz. The story sidetracks into a a rebellion against the elite, making for a multifaceted plot you are sure to enjoy.
8. A Most Violent Year
A couple tries to reach the American dream by building an oil company. Securing the needs of a business requires an exorbitant sum of money. The family soon finds itself involved in a world of violence and corruption. This J.C. Chandor film drags you into a complex era in New York City’s history.
9. Imperial Dreams
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 the gang life. Reformed gangster Bambi leaves prison and returns to Watts, Los Angeles. Plenty of obstacles get in his way to rehabilitation.
Drugs and violence rule the streets in a poor suburban town. Teens are lured to work for a local drug lord, Beaver being one of them. He meets new girl Kat Carter, who carries a dark secret from her past. Soon their relationship and the town are threatened.
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.