These are the best gangster films to stream right now

From Ridley Scott’s American Gangster to Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, these are the best mob movies available to watch on streaming services…

The Godfather. Goodfellas. The Untouchables. These are some of the best gangster films of all time. But you’ve seen them before, haven’t you? Probably a couple of times. And that’s a good thing, because if you turned on your television right now, to watch Brando at his most menacing, or Joe Pesci at his most intense, you wouldn’t be able to.

Not on streaming at least. Many of the finest mob movies ever made can’t be found on Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+ or even Disney+. But that’s a blessing in disguise — as it gives you the chance to discover some of the genre’s more hidden gems, from a recent period picture to a Jack Nicholson-starring biopic from the early 1990s. Below, we’ve sought out ten of the best gangster films to stream right now…

American Gangster, 2007

Where to watch it: Netflix

What to expect: A somehow at-once slick and gritty slice of classic gangster action. Ridley Scott’s crime epic takes an already-engrossing true story — the tale of how Frank Lucas smuggled heroin back into the United States from the Vietnam War on service aircraft — and allows riveting performances from Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe to punch up the drama.

No Sudden Move, 2021

Where to watch it: Apple TV+

What to expect: A 1950s-set crime caper directed by Steven Soderbergh, of Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13 fame. Starring Don Cheadle as a Detroit gangster scrabbling for loose ends after a heist-gone-wrong, the film’s pinballing allegiances will keep you on the edge of your seat. Look out for slick, quick turns by Matt Damon, Kieran Culkin, Jon Hamm and king of underworld roles, Ray Liotta.

Gangster Squad, 2013

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime

What to expect: Style over substance. But that’s not to say this isn’t a good time. Starring Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone and Sean Penn, the film follows a fictionalised real-life group of officials in Los Angeles, tasked with bringing down crime lord Mickey Cohen at the end of the 1940s. With more sharp suiting and sharp shooting than you can shake a fedora at, it’s exactly what you’d want from a gangster film.

Road to Perdition, 2002

Where to watch it: Disney+

What to expect: Perhaps the best film on this list. Directed by Sam Mendes (he of Skyfall), this Tom Hanks-starring neo-noir also sees Daniel Craig pop up in an early film role. Along with Paul Newman (in his last role) and a chilling Jude Law, the story begins in 1931 during the Great Depression. Hanks plays a mob enforcer who, along with his young son, must seek vengeance against a gangster who murders the rest of their family.

Legend, 2015

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime

What to expect: Two Tom Hardys — in the definitive retelling of the Kray Twins’ story. With truly terrific supporting performances from Paul Bettany, Christopher Eccleston and, in particular, Taron Egerton, the film transports you back to the grimy east end of 1960s London. Look out for Peaky Blinders’ Paul Anderson, a hammer-fuelled bar fight and a soundtrack including Burt Bacharach, Marvin Gaye and Eric Clapton.

The Irishman, 2019

Where to watch it: Netflix

What to expect: The culmination of Martin Scorsese’s gangster oeuvre. After Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino and even Gangs of New York, the filmmaker reached his mob movie zenith on Netflix, with this three-and-a-half hour epic. Spanning six decades, Robert De Niro plays Frank Sheehan, a truck driver who becomes a hitman for the Bufalino crime family, and begins working for Al Pacino’s powerful Teamster, Jimmy Hoffa.

Hoffa, 1992

Where to watch it: Disney+

What to expect: A different take on The Irishman’s secondary story. Directed by Danny DeVito, Jack Nicholson takes on the role Pacino played for Scorsese — to blistering effect. Under incredible, undetectable prosthetics, Nicholson steals and steers the drama in equal measure as Jimmy Hoffa; telling the tale of the union leader’s life, times and crimes up to his mysterious disappearance in 1962.

Scarface, 1983

Where to watch it: Netflix

What to expect: One of the finest crime dramas ever made — and perhaps the greatest gangster film of all time. Even Scorsese praised Brian De Palma’s Scarface, and Al Pacino’s portrayal of drug lord Tony Montana has become his most enduring, celebrated role. Violent, explicit and with a thread of tension stringing together iconic scene after iconic scene, the script was written by Oliver Stone — who also wrote Wall Street, Platoon and Natural Born Killers.

The Gentlemen, 2019

Where to watch it: Netflix

What to expect: How could we not suggest The Gentlemen? Featuring our former cover star, Matthew McConaughey, as the free-wheeling, drug-dealing Mickey Pearson, the film traces the troublesome web of lies, murder and marijuana that unfurls when he decides to sell up his narcotics empire and retire. The highlight? A deliciously sleazy Hugh Grant (and his deliciously retro sunglasses).

Kill the Irishman, 2011

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime

What to expect: Another true tale. This time, writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh (Armageddon, Die Hard with a Vengeance) tackles the life of Danny Greene, the titular Irishman and member of the Cleveland Mafia. The film owes a hefty debt to Scorsese’s Goodfellas — but that doesn’t mean it’s sub-par. Instead, with strong supporting performances from Christopher Wlaken and Val Kilmer, it’s a solidly made entry in the gangster canon.

Want more film features? 10 performances that deserved the Oscar for Best Actor (but missed out…)

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