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.
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Netflix’s selection of gangster movies is robust, but a lot of the heavy hitters are missing. The series of Godfather films and The Departed are nowhere to be found on the service, for example. 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. Uncut Gems
If you aren’t into stressful movies, you may want to give this one a pass. However, Uncut Gems is a perfect example of the Safdie brothers and Adam Sandler at their finest. Sandler portrays Howard Ratner, a jeweler deep in debt to the wrong people for his gambling addiction. Ratner may not be a gangster, but he sure owes them a heap of money. All he has to do is find the right bet and secure a big payoff — without placing another bet and bringing it all crashing down.
2. The Irishman
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, much was written 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.
3. Shot Caller
Ever wonder what would happen if Jaime Lannister joined a gang in prison? Well, this film stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, but that’s as close as we’ll get. During a prison term for DUI, Coster-Waldau’s character Jacob Harlon falls in with a violent gang and makes his way through its ranks. Upon his release, he’s tasked with orchestrating a weapons deal with another gang or risk the lives of his family. Shot Caller is one of the gangster movies on Netflix focused on time spent behind bars.
4. Gun City
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.
5. The Family
Robert De Niro is back in this 2013 movie, but this time it’s a comedy. He plays a former Mafia boss who turns himself in to give up other mob members. As a result, he and his family are relocated to France under new identities. You might think he, his wife (played by Michelle Pfeiffer), and his two kids would lay low. However, they decided to deal with France in their own way, leading to the Mafia wanting to strike back.
6. The Departed
This 2006 Martin Scorsese classic is a race between an undercover cop and a mole as they try to expose each other in the Irish mob. It stars an outstanding cast of Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and more. Nicholson plays mob boss Frank Costello, who grooms Colin Sullivan (Damon) for his role as a mole. DiCaprio portrays Billy Costigan, the undercover officer sent to infiltrate Costello’s crew.
The Departed cleaned up at the 79th Academy Awards, bringing home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. It’s one gangster movie on Netflix that you don’t want to miss.
7. Training Day
Training Day stars Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke as LAPD officers over the course of a 24-hour shift. Hawke is a young officer up for a promotion, assigned to Washington’s character Alonzo Harris for an evaluation. The two find themselves in increasingly dangerous situations, seizing drugs and cash from dealers throughout the West Lake and Echo Park neighborhoods.
It all comes to a head when Hawke’s character Jake Hoyt is forced to play in a poker game and learns that Alonzo owes these gangsters $1 million for a previous theft.
Denzel Washington took home the award for Best Actor at the 74th Academy Awards, and Hawke secured his own nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
8. Kill The Irishman
Not to be confused with The Irishman earlier on this list, this 2011 film is based on the true story of Danny Greene. Played by Ray Stevenson, Greene rose through the Mafia ranks in Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1960s and 1970s. His life finally ended as part of a turf war between the Irish and Italian Mafia. Christopher Walken and Val Kilmer also star in this fascinating look at a different part of organized crime in America.
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 gang life. Reformed gangster Bambi leaves prison and returns to Watts, Los Angeles. Plenty of obstacles get in his way to rehabilitation.
This 2015 movie brings us Tom Hardy once again. He plays 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.
Plenty more, including scary, action, war movies, and the list goes on
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. However, there’s a ton of content you can stream on the service. Here are some of our other Netflix guides worth checking out: