Did you know that the film GoodFellas is among the top 10 grossing gangster movies of all time? It may not sound like much, but it brought in $47.1 million in sales for the mob genre.
Now similar movies like GoodFellas are usually for those who like violence and gore. That’s possibly why so many similar films have come out to entertain this audience. The trail was blazed by the Godfather, of course, and GoodFellas proves a worthy effort following in its footsteps.
Watching films like this gives you an insight into the olden days when society was run in a harsh and volatile way. So if you’re interested in more films similar to GoodFellas, keep reading for a list of 12 films along the same lines!
1. The Godfather (1972)
Well, yes, this had to be number 1 in the Goodfellas movie lookalike stakes. The story takes place from 1945 to 1955 and focuses on the Corleone family. Professionally, they step into the movie business but soon become faced with battling for their lives in the increasingly violent narcotics scene.
The war between the Corleone and Sollozzo families takes place. With death and threat around every corner, it only got worse from there.
However, after trying to introduce a truce between families, things seemed to calm down for a while. Until one day, the past catches up with them. If you’ve seen this then Brando’s masterly performance will stay with you, if you haven’t seen it – why ever not?!?
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
2. Scarface (1983)
Scarface is one of the most popular gangster movies of all time and it’s also possibly one of the most bloody and violent films ever committed to celluloid.
In short, this story focuses on an exiled Cuban, Tony Montana, who had nothing to his name.
Stunningly played by Al Pacino, he’s smart and cunning so he rises among the city mob hierarchy to become the biggest drug kingpin in Miami. Riches and power come his way but are it all that simple? Great movie but not for the squeamish – pillow required nearby for holding over eyes at certain moments!
Director: Brian De Palma
3. Casino (1995)
This film stars Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein. He is in charge of the operations of the Tangiers Casino and hotel in Las Vegas.
At first, he doubles the establishment’s profits and also has a mutually beneficial relationship with the Mafia.
However, he then confronts many difficulties during his time there, including the Mafia’s involvement. His relationships and character suffer because of this. Watch how seemingly fantastic life can quickly come apart when the chips are down.
Director: Martin Scorsese
4. The Untouchables (1987)
The Untouchables is set during the prohibition (no booze) era in the United States. It pitches two men against each other, Eliot Ness against Al Capone, Famous lawman Ness is determined to bring down Capone’s empire.
Since Ness is a Federal Agent, he puts together a team of men to go to war with Capone. Called the Untouchables they also try to find other ways to infiltrate Capone’s system, aside from guns. Best of the best, it should be easy, right? Wrong.
Director: Brian De Palma
5. Carlito’s Way (1993)
Once the Puerto Rican ex-convict, Carlito Brigante, gets out of prison he promises to go straight and live a peaceful and uncontroversial life. He does this to stay out of trouble but, really, can it last? Sadly, his past catches up with him and leads him down the same road that led to prison before. However, he still tries to escape that lifestyle by running a nightclub to help him stay straight.
Needless to say, things don’t go the way he had planned and a quiet lifestyle isn’t on the menu. Stand by for a great action movie similar to Goodfellas.
Director: Brian De Palma
6. American Gangster (2007)
This award-winning movie is a biography of the real-life gangster Frank Lucas. He is from La Grange, North Carolina and had a unique system for smuggling drugs.
During the Vietnam War, he would smuggle heroin into the United States by putting it on the planes that were returning from war. As a nasty twist, it turns out he placed the drugs in the coffins of repatriated dead soldiers. Nonetheless, he prospers but due to some sharp detective work, the police begin to investigate him.
With a very interesting ending, this is a movie to stick with until the final quarter.
Director: Ridley Scott
7. The Departed (2006)
The Departed is about a criminal, Colin Sullivan, who is sent to spy on the Boston Police Department. He is then ordered to report back to his boss, Frank Costello.
However, there is also a plant called Billy in Costello’s department working for the bad guys.
With similar roles, Billy and Colin are unfortunately at opposite ends of the situation. As a result, each gets involved in trying to reveal the other’s true identity first. Or a game of Cat vs Rat (depending on which side of the fence you sit on).
Director: Martin Scorsese
8. A Prophet (2009)
A Prophet features a young Franco-Algerian Malik El Djebena who is starting his prison sentence in France. And he is wanting to serve his time quietly and in a lowkey way.
He is then recruited by the Corsicans for criminal activity inside and outside the prison. And he thinks his only choice is to do what they say.
However, this rubbed some people in the prison the wrong way and he created enemies by choosing the Corsicans. See how he fares in this engrossing movie.
Director: Jacques Audiard
9. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Marcellus Wallace is the star of the film and is a crime lord. He hires men to do whatever he needs to be done. Yes, whatever he needs to be done!
He has two hitmen who are tasked with getting back something that was stolen from him. Along the way they find themselves intertwined with a boxer who was paid off by Wallace.
A Tarantino classic, you can follow our two hitmen assassins as violence and retribution descend upon them in a slowly accelerating descent into hell.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
10. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Once Upon a Time in America is about two friends, David “Noodles” Aaronson and Maximilian “Max” Bercovicz, that rise up through the ranks of a local crime group.
They go on to become prominent New York gangsters once they reach the top of the organisation. Both take pride in loyalty and despise betrayal.
This 4-hour film is dedicated to their rise and fall and it will seem to go very quickly – this is such a great movie.
Director: Sergio Leone
11. Donnie Brasco (1997)
Donnie Brasco stars an FBI agent, Joseph Pistone, who is sent to infiltrate the high crime Bonanno family.
Using the alias “Donnie Brasco,” he ultimately finds his way into the family. And he even creates a bond with the family’s hitman, Benjamin Ruggiero.
He then finds himself getting a little too immersed in the mafia lifestyle and doesn’t want to hurt Benjamin. So he is then faced with the dilemma of completing his assignment or furthering his life in the mafia. Which will he choose is the central theme of the film.
Director: Mike Newell
12. A Bronx Tale (1993)
A Bronx Tale is about a young Italian-American boy, Calogero, who has a run-in with a Mafia boss.
The Mafia boss, Sonny, befriends him and Calogero becomes enamoured with the lifestyle.
Calogero sees two paths his life can take. The mobster lifestyle or the working man’s life, like his father’s. Which path will he take?
Director: Robert De Niro
All of these movies centre around the mob lifestyle and are full of crime and violence so don’t be surprised if you’re wincing at several points in almost any of these films.