American Gangster

American Gangster

Lawless hits the big screen today and is the latest addition to the modern day gangster movie genre - a genre that has produced some cracking movies over the years.

So to celebrate the release of the movie we've taken a look back over the last decade or so and the great movies from this genre to hit the big screen.

- American Gangster (2007)

The movie was based on the criminal career of Frank Lucas and saw Ridley Scott back in the director's chair.

It is always exciting when you seen two acting heavyweights and this time around it was Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe going head to head - playing criminal and cop.

This is a movie that is fast paced as well as slick and capturing 1970's Manhattan as a place run by drugs and crime - Scott's direction just immerses audiences in this world.

As you might expect Washington & Crowe deliver some knockout performances but - much like in Heat - you only see them together in one scene.

Alone in an interview room these two Oscar winners and modern greats lock horns in a bid to out manoeuvre each other providing one of the best scenes in the whole picture.

Click here to buy American Gangster on DVD

- The Departed (2006)

The mid noughties was a great time for the gangster genre as great movie upon great movie hit the big screen.

And when you see a chat list that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg and Martin Sheen - plus a host of others - and Scorsese in the director's chair you know you are in for a real treat.

And a real treat is what we got as The Departed is one of the greatest gangster movies that has graced cinema screens in many a year.

This is well and truly an ensemble piece as some of the smaller parts, such as Alec Baldwin, give incredibly memorable performances.

The Departed is a great script brought to life by great acting and fast direction - the fast direction will leave audiences reeling.

Click here to buy The Departed on DVD

- Public Enemies (2009)

Michael Mann knows how to make a gangster movie and he was back in the director's chair doing exactly that with Public Enemies.

The movie was set during the Great Depression and followed the final years of notorious bank robber John Dillinger - played by Johnny Depp.

Yes this is a gangster movie so there are plenty of great set pieces and shoot outs but director Mann has tried to get under the skin of Dillinger.

Very little is known about Dillinger away from his crimes and he tries to peel away the layers to discover what lay underneath.

Public Enemies was a very stylish movie with Mann really capturing the struggles and desperation of the time.

Click here to buy Public Enemies on DVD

- Eastern Promises (2007)

Eastern Promises was another mid-noughties gangster classic as director David Cronenberg teamed up with actor Viggo Mortensen.

The movie followed the Russian Mafia in London and it is a hard hitting masterpiece from the director.

Eastern Promises is an ultra violent and gritty gangster movie which is surrounded in an air of menace from the opening scenes to the closing credits.

Viggo Mortensen delivers a stunning performance as he has a real presence about him in every scene - fully deserving of the Oscar nomination that came him way.

This is a violent and atmospheric film that packs more than a punch - Cronenberg and Mortensen are on top form.

Click here to buy Eastern Promises on DVD

- Snatch (2000)

One of the best British gangster movies came courtesy of director Guy Ritchie - coming hot on the heels of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The director balances all the strands and characters well and brings everything together well while also keeping audiences entertained.

The movie is filled with eccentric characters that bring the wise cracking script to life.

This movie really did cement Ritchie while the actors really were on top form - Brad Pitt putting in a particularly great turn.

Click here to buy Snatch on DVD

- The Town (2010)

It seems that directing really is Ben Affleck's forte and The Town was a triumph - hard to believe that it was only his second movie.

This was one of the movies of 2010 that you couldn't afford to miss as it was a movie that had a fantastic script that was pack with compelling characters and some great actors.

Affleck excels in front of and behind the camera - arguably he should direct himself more - as he portrays Doug a criminal with a heart that you can't help root for him.

Yes it is a familiar story but Affleck has breathed new life into it and made it a modern day classic!

Click here to buy The Town on DVD

Lawless is out now

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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