This Crazy Thing Called “Real Life”

I am experiencing it today. See you all later.

Topic for conversation while I’m away: Excluding the Godfather films (because they’re too easy), your favorite film featuring gangsters.

My vote: Miller’s Crossing.

134 Comments on “This Crazy Thing Called “Real Life””

  1. The Sting

    If I remember correctly, my parents went to see it with their friends and were so blown away they took me (I was maybe 12 or so) a week later, partly just to see my reaction to the ending. It may be the only movie my folks ever paid to see more than once in its first run.

    Also, we have a warm spot in our hearts here at Hentosz HQ for the farce Johnny Dangerously with Michael Keaton and Joe Piscopo. Lot of good quotable lines. As recently as last week, my wife called some bastage a “farging eyesoll.”

  2. Another vote for The Long Good Friday. Simply because someone needs to say it first: Goodfellas. Honorable mention goes to Eastern Promises.

  3. Let Him Have It: a gangster genre twist in that it a) our heroes are ’50’s teens and wannabe gangsters and b) it deals more with the justice system in relation to juvenile crime. No glory here – just a damn good story.

  4. Oh, by the way: Miller’s Crossing? Really? I’m a big fan of the Coen Bros, and could even see putting it in my top five movies of theirs, but for favorite film featuring gangsters it probably wouldn’t make my top twenty.

    More honorable mentions: The Grifters and The Killing.

  5. Neil – Neil lives in London splitting his time between a keyboard in Soho (which sounds far more interesting than it is) and a keyboard in Abbey Wood. Neil is Welsh, this means he's around a foot shorter than everyone else, gets far to excited when they beat England at Rugby and thinks football is for people who lack moral fibre. Neil is wondering why he's talking about himself in the third person.
    Neil

    I have a soft spot for Once Upon A Time In America.

  6. Johnny Dangerously.

    Also, Bugsey Malone.

    Does The Outsiders count? Or is this restricted to Early 20th Century style gangsters.

  7. rishathra – I'm in my late 40s, reside in Queens, NY, and root for both NY baseball teams (yes, that's possible!). I do presentation graphics for a living, have two kids and one SO, and am owned by several cats. If it has strings and no hammers or keys I'll play it (no guarantees on quality). And I filk. Now let's talk.
    Bruce Adelsohn

    First reaction: Kiss Me Kate. Second reaction, after reading others’ selections: The Sting, too!

  8. “The Freshman” with Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando.

    Though, I fully admit that I’m not fond of mobster films. I think the only reason I like this one so much is it’s such a great send up of the mobster genre.

  9. Goodfellas tops my list, though the mention of Johnny Dangerously really tempts me to revise it.

    That movie is worth it alone for the scene when Keaton is dusting kittens while talking to the kid.

  10. Though I was raised on the ones with Italian gangsters (heritage and all), I prefer the ones that star either Chow Yun Fat or Beat Takeshi – Triad and Yakuza flicks. :-)

  11. State of Grace is the first that comes to mind. Great cast. The history of violence and Eastern Promises are a very close second and third. Props to # 10 and #11. It’s hard to find one favorite because there are some really good gangster films out there.

  12. City Heat, just for the line:

    “I don’t like people of your ilk. You do know what an ilk is, don’t you?”

    “Uh, some kind of big deer?”

  13. dompaul – I'm an editor at a small-town paper. And occasionally, I like to fool myself into thinking I'm a novelist.
    D.Paul

    “Eastern Promises” or “The Untouchables.” How great is it listening to Sean Connery chew through the line: “You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way!”

  14. I’m surprised to discover I’m the first to mention Mickey Blue Eyes, which I adore. I’m biased though – I believe that every movie can be improved with the insertion of Hugh Grant. If the technology existed, I would devote my life to digitally inserting Hugh Grant into every movie ever made.

    If we’re talking serious films, then I’d say The Departed, which has also not been mentioned thus far. What’s wrong with you commentors!?

  15. Burns! – LA. Not Louisiana. Los Angeles. – More fun than anyone I know. Probably more than anyone you know, too.
    Burns!

    Gotta go with “Brother,” with Beat Takeshi. Great Yakuza flick.

  16. The Usual Suspects . . . Keyser Söze is the best gangster in the world.

    I’d also put 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde with Warren Beaty and Faye Dunnaway right up there.

  17. What? No one else has mentioned this?!

    Boondock Saints

    “All right. Get your stupid fuckin’ rope.”

    I also liked The Departed and Johnny Dangerously

  18. Robin Hood, with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone. Think about it, what are the Merry Men doing but running a protection racket?

  19. Sexy Beast.

    I’d give a lot to be able to watch that again for the first time.

    Other top gangster flicks: Chopper and Get Shorty

  20. Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.”

    I acn’t believe nobody else is saying so, here.

    I grew up in Brooklyn, so found the details of behavior, costume, food, exactly on-target.

    Great acting by Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci. Great adaptation of the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi. Not loosely based on a true story — accurately based thereon, and the actors worked closely with Pileggi to ensure this.

    Great soundtrack.

    Interesting to me as a sometime filmmaker (industrial videos in the aerospace field, way back when) whose work was directly started by a personal contact and equipment from Frank Capra; and my experience in improvisational comedy, was the way that improv lines were massaged into rewrites of the screenplay.

    I’ve got to stand up for this film, which did okay box office, then was nominated for six Academy Awards (won one for Joe Pesci, Best Actor in a Supporting Role), three awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, was named best film of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the National Society of Film Critics. Plus being ranked #94 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Years, 100 Movies and #92 on its updated version from 2007. In 2000, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

    It is a nearly flawless film. And the insights on gangster character, and on their families (especially wives) makes it the logical and stylistic predecessor of The Sopranos.

  21. It’s a tie between Goodfellas and Miller’s Crossing. So much amazing filmmaking contained in just those two films. Plus, both can be re-watched an infinite number of times.

  22. ytimynona – FLORIDA – I'm a big wannabe. Wannabe a truck driver, PotUS, scientist, writer, and teacher. Well, I already am a teacher. :-)
    Anny Mouse

    [i]The Departed[/i]

    Just because I find something new every time I watch it. And the ending made me go “huh?!?!?”

  23. OK, I’m an unapologetic Anglophile:

    Gangster No. 1 because it has Malcolm McDowell in it.

    Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

    Snatch (which contains one of my favorite Brad Pitt character – the nearly incomprehensible Irish traveler Micky O’Neill

    And from this side of the ocean,
    Reservoir Dogs – Steve “why do I have to be Mr. Pink” Buscemi

    Pulp Fiction

  24. I love the Takeshi flicks, but I’d put Fireworks over Brother, and if you said, no, you have to pick one where Takeshi IS a yakuza, I’d probably go with Sonatine.

    That said, my FAVORITE yakuza films are Fukasaku’s epic “Battles Without Honor or Humanity” sequence.

    For an English-language film, I would say Bugsy Malone just to mess with your head, and then probably wind up at Goodfellas and Casino.

    But I might spend some time mulling over M to get there.

  25. Comfort and Joy directed by Bill Forsythe.

    I’m not really sure that the families were really The Family, but it was the first movie I thought of.

  26. I can’t believe no one else said Innocent Blood. It’s also on my list of “best movies with Don Rickles as one of the undead”.

  27. Bollywood gangster movies! My fave:

    Lage Raho Munnabhai. Gangster tries to adopt non-violent methods, has some difficulty with the concept.

  28. The Warriors (not gangsters exactly, but it is about gang warfare) Can you dig it? How can you beat a movie where the main conceit is a gang trying to get back to their turf of Coney Island?

  29. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, in plain view of children

    Real Life. I haz it.

    This is impossible for me to narrow down. I love them all. Miller’s Crossing is AMAZING but there are so many others. I”m gonna suck up and agree with you 100% here.

  30. Lethal.

    It’s…well it’s an experience, certainly. I fell off my couch laughing the first time I saw it and it just gets funnier each time. I should add, it’s not SUPPOSED to be funny, but that’s what happens when you have a miniscule budget, visibly reuse the same six stunt guys over and over again…oh and your headline “star” is Lorenzo Lamas.

    Having read the rest of the comments, I’ve now got a few suggestions of films to go watch to see how it SHOULD have been done!

  31. threeleggedcat – Sheffield, United Kingdom – I live in Sheffield, England, which has been my home for 20 years now. I'm a Londoner by birth. I'm a teacher of maths, a learner of French and German. I've recently completed my MEd with the Open University, my new challenge is learning to code. I like to eat, drink and be merry. I take too many photos and buy too many postcards. I blither on about my life, the universe and everything at http://www.three-legged-cat.co.uk
    Three-Legged-Cat

    I’m going to cast another vote for The Usual Suspects. That’s a contender for my favourite film of all time, not just favourite gangster film.

  32. Gonna have to go with something out of the usual.

    O Brother Where Art Thou (has at least one gangster in it, plus Southern Politicians.)

  33. I am partial to ‘Boondock Saints’ (I love the whole Irish vigilante thing) and ‘The Killer’ (nod to John Woo and the Chinese Triads).

  34. Wow, a lot of terrific ground covered – well done everyone. I’ll just add Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.

  35. I started getting into film noir a little bit ago, where the dividing line between gangsters, mobsters, criminals, thugs, mooks, and regular joes in over their head can be thin. So these films might not involve gangsters in the “Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me” sense; here’s what I like:

    Out of the Past
    Brick
    Miller’s Crossing
    Lock, Stock…
    Usual Suspects
    The Departed (not so much Infernal Affairs)
    Hard Boiled
    L. A. Confidential

  36. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned it yet, but– Kung Fu Hustle, because… dancing Axe Gang. That’s style, baby.

    Although I also love The Usual Suspects.

  37. I might possibly be the only one in this thread who has never seen any Godfather films.

    I did, however, enjoy both Reservoir Dogs and The Departed. I’ll vote for The Departed because I cried at the end of it.

    Yes, even that kind of films can make me cry if they’re done right.

  38. Definitely agree with Boondock Saints, Kung Fu Hustle, The Usual Suspects, Reservoir Dogs, and The Departed.

    I liked Training Day too, because the gangsters were cops, or vice versa.

  39. Ah, Miller’s Crossing…. Now, I might have to vote for Goodfellas when it comes to the ultimate gangster movie question (surprised it hasn’t been mentioned more), but I always love it when someone brings up Miller’s Crossing. It’s my favorite Coen Bro’s film, and that’s saying a lot (excluding, of course, the very, very wrong turn they took a few years ago). In fact, how someone feels about Miller’s Crossing has become one of my character/what-stuff-are-you-made-of litmus tests.

    Also, really liked seeing a mention for Johnny Dangerously. But, and correct me if I’m wrong here, he wasn’t dusting the kittens, he was clicking little price tags on them, which is even funnier.

  40. Looking at this list I have to wonder, is there such a thing as a bad mobster movie?

    My own: Departed, Snatch, Boondock Saints.
    And of course, Mafia!

  41. Goodfellas, hands down.

    And if you haven’t seen it, you need to rent Layer Cake right now. We’ll wait.

  42. I’m gonna vote Road to Perdition. Beautifully shot. Beautifully scored. Delicious.

  43. I’m with the folks who chose Goodfellas. It’s the first one that came to mind.

    I’m also glad some of you picked State of Grace. It was one of my first jobs on a big movie (and remains one of my least favorite experiences). Nice to know it was worth the trouble.

  44. Tie between Montana and Gridlock’d. Gridlock’d is definitely the better film, but I have a profound affection for Montana that eclipses even my considerable affection for Gridlock’d. Honorable mentions: the Usual Suspects, Snatch, the Departed, and yes, Innocent Blood. Chuk @ 43, you win.

  45. Topkapi.

    Shoot ’em up for gratuitously silly violence that I’d normally abhor, but especially for Paul Giamatti’s deliriously OTT performance.

  46. KISS OF DEATH, featuring Richard Widmark and Victor Mature.

  47. The Rocketeer.

    (Okay, that was a non-serious answer, but gotta love the mobster’s twist in that one.)

  48. dompaul – I'm an editor at a small-town paper. And occasionally, I like to fool myself into thinking I'm a novelist.
    D.Paul

    Len@79: That twist was loosely based on reality. In Italy, mobsters worked with military forces to help undermine Mussolini, who was bad for business.

  49. Ian M #52 I also forgot about Ghost Dog. I love the relationship he has with the ice cream man. Also I like on the DVD you can watch the music with just the Wu Tang Clan Music.

    Hey does the Sopranos count?

  50. crotchetyoldfan – The Crotchety Old Fan is Steve Davidson, also know as Rimworlder on many SF forums. Steve maintains the Rim Worlds Concordance project which is devoted to the works of A. Bertram Chandler and his most enduring character - Commodore John Grimes of the Rim Worlds Naval Reserve. Grimes is science fiction’s original ‘Horatio Hornblower of Space’. More information about Chandler, Grimes and the Rim Worlds can be found at www.rimworlds.com. Steve also maintains a visual index of volume 1, number 1 pulp science fiction magazines on the same website and is a devoted collector of the same. ‘I’m an ‘old’ SF fan, which you can take whichever way you like, as I love the old masters (Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, E.F. Russell, Piper, Cordwainer Smith) and I’m well beyond the age you’re not supposed to trust anymore’. This blog is devoted to an investigation of the growing divide between ‘old’ - or ‘classic’ science fiction and the moderan literary genre that is currently sold under the same name. Steve has also begun writing reviews for www.SFReader.com, expects to be doing the same for www.SFSignal.com, and is contributing various non-fiction pieces to various other websites, all of them concerned with science fiction of one stripe or another. Early in 2008 he became completely disappointed with the SciFi Channel and created The Classic Science Fiction Channel website that gathers links to public domain radio, television, film and literary properties. Steve had a successful non-fiction writing career - writing articles and books dealing primarily with the paintball industry (Four books and several hundred articles including editorializing, product reviews, sports reporting, educational and more) - which he has since given up in favor of blogging and fiction. (Leaving the paintball industry after 25 years.) One final book on this subjected is scheduled to be released in early 2009 (A Parent's Guide To Paintball). Current work on fiction includes several completed novellettes/novellas curently in submission hell and various chapters of three novels. Freely distributed current work - including several chapters of a science fiction/paintball novel and a pulp/comic book/fairy tale mashup can be found on his website.
    steve davidson

    Gotta go with your pick, John.

    That opening scene (the hat) is killer.

    Finney IS an artist with a Tommygun…

  51. Real film with gangsters? Given the constraints, Goodfellas, no question. Comedy? I’d say Johnny Dangerously.

  52. @ # 20:

    Layer cake is the greatest “gangster” movie ever.

    Then Goodfellas. After that, I don’t think it matters much…

  53. I’m going to go a sillier route and say.. Dick Tracy.

    I do adore that yellow coat.

  54. Jeez, to pick just one? The Sting, Miller’s Crossing, maybe even throw in Tokyo Drifter, the wild yakuza movie from Suzuki.

    I found The Departed to be an absolute dreadful mess, right down to the terribly overbaked Boston accents. And Goodfellas was only slightly better, along with the most annoying voice over of all time.

  55. One is hard to pick. For me it’s probably a toss up between Infernal Affairs and Portland Street Blues.

    But I have a great deal of affection for Too Many Ways to Be Number One, which is a very funny triad film.

  56. Guys and Dolls. Big Julie from Chicago is awesome. I actually now own dice with the spots removed for luck. Incidentally, I haven’t found a “serious” gangster movie that I like.

    My husband votes for Blues Brothers.

  57. I don’t know that it’s the best, but A Bronx Tale is definitely up there. Great coming-of-age movie.

  58. Top Six

    Some Like it Hot
    What’s Up Doc?
    Roger Rabbit
    West Side Story
    General Spanky (the only feature length Our Gang film)
    Speed Racer

  59. The Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs” is much better than its remake “The Departed,” which follows its plot fairly closely but lacks the original’s melancholy atmosphere. It also helps that it does not include Jack Nicholson reprising his role as the Joker.

    “Beast Cops” is an obscure but excellent Triad-and-cops movie which should be enjoyed by anyone who likes the offbeat humor punctuated by episodes of shocking violence exemplified in many Scorsese films.

    My American favorites, other than the Godfather films, are “Mean Streets” and the underrated “Casino.” And “The Sopranos.” (“The Usual Suspects” is great but it’s a caper film, not a gangster film.”

  60. Cold Blooded. Best of luck finding a copy, since it never made it into DVD. Very quirky. The movie by which I seduced my wife.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112702/

    Peter Riegert and Robert Loggia pretty much chew up the screen, but Priestly did an excellent job with his character as well.

  61. What, almost 100 comments down and nobody has mentioned John Woo’s twin masterpieces “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled”?! For shame, people.

  62. Oh, and while this is stretching the definition of “film” rather a lot, I will point out that The Wire (especially seasons 1 and 3) is a better film involving gangsters than just about anything mentioned here. Including Goodfellas. Yes, really, damnit. :)

  63. Not counting Godfathers, I’d have say any one of: “Charlie Verrick”, “The Outfit”, “The Sting”, or “Goodfellas”. “Goodfellas” has it’s flaws, but the first 2/3rds of the movie is nearly perfect.

    “Casino” makes me shudder. I’m still trying to parse out in my brain whether it strikes me as “Goodfellas Lite”, a really loooooooong Jerry Springer episode featuring gangstas, or “Bugsy” on dope. The shame is I think it could have been a really great gangster flick if it had been treated to a severe cut-down. In this case, much much less would have rendered infinitely more.

  64. Miller’s Crossing, hands down.

    1. I’m so tired of movies centered on Italian gangsters. Miller’s Crossing acknowledges the fact that gangsters came from many backgrounds besides Italian. Tom & Leo, of course, are Irish, Bernie Bernbaum is Jewish. The Dane was Scandinavian, fer cryin’ out loud.

    2. Hats! I love hats, especially the Fedora, made famous by Sam Spade, Indiana Jones and Tom Reagan. Tom’s hat is his honor and his armor.

    3. “The Old Man is still an artist with a Thompson.” Need I say more?

    4. I can watch it again & and again without feeling brutalized by the violence. I think most gangster films are way over the top.

    5. It’s about the end of a beautiful friendship. Tom & Leo have obviously been a dynamic duo for some time. But those days are clearly ending as the film opens; now Tom is trying to protect Leo from himself. Tom sacrifices pretty much everything he has (friends, girlfriend, reputation, livelihood and ultimately his relationship with Leo) to save Leo.

    6. I can identify with Tom, unlike with the majority of gangster characters. He’s usually the smartest guy in the room…which doesn’t automatically give one the upper hand. Sure, he can run rings around most folks: Mink; Bernie’s boxer friend (Tom plops Bernie’s too-small hat on the boxer’s over-large head, and remarks “…all that feelin’ must have gone to your head–you’ve outgrown this one.”); and Bernie as well. But up against the viciousness of The Dane, and the insanity of Caspar, Tom’s only recourse is to run a long con, almost getting himself killed several times.

    7. 1920’s slang. “You’re always givin’ me the High-Hat!” “Look at me, bawlin’ like a twist.” “So take yer flunky and dangle.” “Hey Tom, what’s the rumpus?”

    8. The song one of Caspar’s henchmen was singing as they escorted Tom out to Miller’s Crossing to find out if he had really shot Bernie as ordered. The song is titled “La Ghirlandeina,” and a performance of it by Pavoratti is available on iTunes under the track name “A Gramadora.”

    9. And the rest of the soundtrack.

    10. It was the first Coen brothers film I saw.

    11. It played at the theater I worked at as a projectionist for one week only, and for that week I got to re-watch parts of it several times.

    12. Caspar: “Kid, if it’ll help you think, you should know that if you don’t do this you won’t be in any shape to walk outta’ here.” Tom: “. . . Would that be physically, or just a mental state?”

  65. After … lessee, 102 entries, I feel compelled to mention one that hasn’t been mentioned yet.

    Bottlerocket

    …or, as one reviewer called it: “Reservoir Nerds.”

    Also, since Denis Leary cracks me up, I’ll mention Suicide Kings and – provisionally mob-related – Two If By Sea.

  66. Another vote for Miller’s Crossing, fairly easy choice.

    One of the best movies ever, let alone gangster movies …

  67. It’s a close one for me. It would either be Untouchables or Casino. Both are great movies, although a little long if you’re looking for a quick flick.

  68. Meh, you guys are boring, reaching for the obvious “Goodfellas” or “Miller’s Crossing”. No, work harder, get more obscure, learn more, dig deeper:

    Samuel Fuller’s Underworld USA (1961)

    Phil Karlson’s The Phenix City Story (1955)

    Jean-Luc Godard’s Detective (1985)

    Elaine May’s Mikey and Nickey (1976)

    Michael Roemer’s The Plot Against Harry (1969)

    Nicholas Ray’s Party Girl (1958)

    Akira Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel (1948)

    Val Guest’s Hell is a City (1960)

    Irving Lerner’s Murder by Contract (1958)

    Alain Resnais’ Stavisky (1974)

  69. I have to go with Pulp Fiction. Just for how endlessly quotable that movie is, at least in my house.

    Jules: What ain’t no country I ever heard of. They speak English in What?
    Brett: What?
    Jules: English, motherf**ker, do you speak it?

  70. Zora @44 set off a new train of thought – the two Munnabhai movies are amazing, hilarious takes on the gangster genre.
    If we’re talking only about the serious stuff, then I’d say Satya and Company, by Ram Gopal Verma, probably the best depiction of the local gangsters – bhais – in Bombay

  71. My favourite? Things to do in Denver when you’re dead. It’s far from perfect, but it’s got a fine cast of character actors and an interesting story. It resonated with one of my closest friends and I exactly the same way when we first saw it, and it’s become one of the touchstones of the friendship.

  72. The 40 Hour Creative – I'm here to help you be creative! I've written plays and created the web series THE CANADIANS (now on Amazon Prime), among other things. Seth Godin said 'start a blog,' so we'll see how long this lasts.
    Greg

    For those who’ve already seen “Miller’s Crossing,” but wanted to enjoy it again, here is the scene that made John Turturro’s career, and one for which he should have won an Oscar:

    Don’t watch if you haven’t seen it yet, ’cause it’s out of context and a spoiler.

    My picks, already mentioned: Brick (amazing movie), The Usual Suspects, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (an excellent choice), and a movie no one else has heard of, a wonderful Hong Kong flick, Johnnie To’s “The Mission.”

  73. The Departed, and Bugsy Malone
    The Departed because, well, it’s The Departed, what more do I have to say, and Bugsy Malone because my school did a production of which I have fond memories.

  74. Calamari Union – directed by Aki Kaurismäki. How can you not like a film in which every character is called Frank, except one?

  75. Martyn Taylor – Northumberland – A writer exploring what lies beyond our peripheral vision. Published by various small presses and now considered to be nearly a Proper Author. Can be found lurking around the frozen North of England, happily herding a small family of recalcitrant adults who may once have been children and a woman who may very well be the fulcrum upon which the universe turns. Available for hire for very reasonable prices.
    Martyn44

    Children, children, children – ‘White Heat’ – look, ma, top of the world.

  76. Well sheesh, don’t I feel a young ‘un for saying that Michael Mann’s Heat is my all time favorite. I mean, come on! Al Pacino and Robert de Niro both doing what they do best?

    Of course the classics on are on my list, but they’ve been there for so long. Heck, this comment thread is an excellent resource for the genre. John, you should compile it and post it so that we can all get a good taste of what’s good. I know I’ll be checking out a bunch here that I’d never even heard of.

  77. Too many posts without it coming up again. And it was my first thought as I was clicking on the link.

    The Long Good Friday.

    Bob Hoskins is as scary as it gets for a thug with some brains. Helen Mirren as his girl friend and ally doesn’t hurt either.

    Sure are a lot here that I like but hadn’t thought of. Heres another new funny one for the list.

    The Mask.

  78. Burritoboy:

    “Meh, you guys are boring, reaching for the obvious ‘Goodfellas’ or ‘Miller’s Crossing’.”

    Translation: “I just ransacked IMDB to make myself look cool!”

    Burritoboy: Offering more obscure suggestions is nice, so thanks. Insulting people while you’re doing so because they don’t have your taste in films is rude. And in the particular case of me, trying to school someone who has worked as a professional film critic off and on for nearly two decades, and has written a book and thousands of articles on film, is, well, stupid.

    In other words: Don’t be the disdainful indie music store clerk of the conversation, please. Thanks.

  79. Chris – New York, USA – Reading, watching, listening...trying to be something better than I am. How are you? Writer for Cinema Dual, Nine Circles, Consuming the Tangible...everything for Necrolytic Goat Converter, FirstForgiveness, and a few other bands...
    Chris

    Miller’s Crossing, even if you include the Godfather series. I’ll also pop in White Heat and Public Enemy #1 – two great reasons to love James Cagney.

  80. kellymaherauthor – Kelly Maher is a librarian by day and an erotic fiction author by night. She is constantly amazed by how random bits of information will suddenly coalesce into a story idea.
    Kelly Maher

    Because I’m a comedy girl, first Johnny Dangerously (“fargin’ iceholes!”) and second, Married to the Mob. Yes, I said it. Because Mercedes Ruehl rules.

  81. Rachel Brown:

    My fiancee and I were watching “The Departed” this weekend, and she said, ‘I think I’ve seen this before, in Chinese.’ After it was over, she pulled out her copy of “Internal Affairs” and we watched maybe the first thirty minutes.

    As to “the Joker” appearing in the US version, am I alone in thinking that Jack Nicholson is really just a jackass who only knows how to play himself in movies?

  82. Another vote for Boondock Saints,

    One that hasn’t been mentioned “Suicide Kings” it should be a classic.

  83. Road To Perdition. Good ol’ 20’s gangsters, tommy guns, old cars, bank robberies, and a good (if totally foreseeable) storyline.

  84. Yojimbo.

    And Sanjuro.

  85. Otto Preminger’s paean to gangsters and LSD, “Skidoo”.

    You said my favorite, you didn’t say it had to be good, did you?

  86. People, people. No King of New York?

    Laurence Fishbourne as pimp-rolling psychotic Jimmy Jump, one of his best performances ever (and I read that it’s his own personal favorite role – “Where’s my chicken, m*****f*****?”), a death-pale Christopher Walken taking over a subway car for a makeout session with a hot high-class lawyer, the greatest chase scene ever filmed using a stretch limo, and David Caruso getting his head blown off with a shotgun. Something for everyone, in other words.

    People generally point to Abel Ferrera’s Bad Lieutenant as his masterpiece, due mostly to Keitel’s performance, but I say it’s King. Big cast and everyone shines. (Except Steve Buscemi. What’s he doing there?)

  87. Of the films mentioned here that I’ve seen, I like most of them. The major exception is Wasabi, which I saw a few weeks ago, with high hopes for another great Jean Reno flick. My wife and I both thought it was terrible.

    Not mentioned yet, and should be somewhere in this list:

    Prizzi’s Honor

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