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Top 5 Mafia Movies of All Time

Updated on November 28, 2010

I was absolutely obsessed with the mafia when I was a kid. Obsessed. Did I mention I was obsessed? Looking back on it now, I'm not really sure why. I suppose it was the mystery and all the alleged excitement. That, and I loved Italian men. Actually, I loved Puerto Rican, Irish and Jewish men, too - so don't get the idea I was hanging out at the pizzeria all the time! Still, there was something sleek and sexy about the Italians. I was particularly enamored with the Sicilians, and my neighborhood was full of them. 

As my obsession grew, I became an avid watcher of mafia flicks. I fell in love with Pacino when I was about 13. DeNiro ran a close second. (I actually prefer them the other way around these days!) I must have seen The Godfather twenty times that summer. I loved it. Loved it! Today I'm not really all that interested in the mafia. I will, however, make a point of watching any of these movies if they happen to be on. If you haven't seen any of them, you don't know what you're missing.

The Godfather (1972)

Originally a book by Mario Puzo, the film stars Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, James Caan, Diane Keaton and more. This is the movie that made Pacino famous, he was an unknown before.

Some stars who auditioned for his part were Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty - can you imagine Nicholson as Michael Corleone? Me, neither! Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, won 3 Oscars. If you only see one more movie in your lifetime, make it this one.

The Godfather II (1974)

Another screenplay by Puzo, directed by and starring the same people. Robert DeNiro also has a small part in this, playing a young Vito Corleone in flashback. Nominated for 11 Oscars, taking home 6.

This is basically a "coming into his own" movie for Michael Corleone. He's filling out his father's shoes and expanding the family business. Unfortunately, he has loads of problems to deal with along the way - the least of which is not his rapidly darkening personality. Best sequel ever filmed!

Goodfellas (1990)

The true story of Mafia informant Henry Hill. Directed by Scorcese and starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta. Liotta plays Hill, a ½ Italian, ½ Irish man who has an obsession with the mafia from childhood.

He wants to be a part of it, but knows he can never get made, because he's not 100% Italian. So he spends a great deal of time trying to prove his worth to keep him valuable. His colleagues are hardcore and get him involved in a number of situation he would have been better off avoiding. Won 1 Oscar.

Casino (1995)

This was an epic undertaking. Based on a true story, this was first a book before Scorcese turned it into a film. Starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone, nominated for an Oscar. DeNiro plays the Jewish manager hired by the mafia to run a Vegas hotel. Things go well until Sharon Stone's character enters. (Not really surprising, eh?) She had a child with and marries DeNiro - and then goes mad when her ex-boyfriend shows up. The woman she becomes is more than a little disturbed, and the scenes that follow are similarly so. At the time of it's release this film used the F word more than any other in history - 398 times!

Scarface (1983)

This one isn't your typical Mafioso film, but it's so similar in nature, and so famous, I'm including it. Written by Oliver Stone, Al Pacino stars as Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee who winds up in Miami. He kills a man for a greencard and it's all downhill from there. Well, actually, it's uphill, first. Way, uphill, via his new job involving coke distribution. Honestly, Pacino gets so into character in this film, you really feel as though you are watching the live mental deterioration of someone who came from nothing, acquired it all, and then lost everything. Very violent, very bloody - not for young kids.


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