Real-life gangster movies pretty much write themselves. By taking the true story of a gangster and fitting it into a Hollywood box, studios have box office gold. From Goodfellas to The Departed, real-life gangster films know how to draw a crowd just by the intrigue that surrounds them. They’re tense, brutal, and fun to watch. But who has played some of the notorious criminals in history? Here are 25 Best Movie Portrayals Of Real Life Gangsters.
Johnny Depp as John Dillinger
Known his charismatic and eccentric performances and characters, Johnny Depp took on a more subdued role in Public Enemies as the infamous John Dillinger. Depp’s charming yet brutal portrayal of Dillinger carried the film.
Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow
Warren Beatty portrayed the ex-con Clyde Barrow in the Academy Award winning film Bonnie and Clyde. His performance garnered him a nomination for Best Actor, but his charm wasn’t enough to take the win. His co-star Faye Dunaway, however, did.
Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas
Denzel Washington always brings the magic in any role he takes on. His cold, intimidating performance as Frank Lucas was no exception. While Russell Crowe played a solid foil to Washington’s character in American Gangster, it was Washington’s amazing acting that ultimately made the story interesting.
Wesley Snipes as Nino Brown
Arguably the best performance of his career, Wesley Snipes as Nino Brown in New Jack City portrayed an intelligent criminal out to play the game as he saw it in America. Nino Brown is based on the real gangster, B.J. Chambers.
Eric Bogosian as Eddie Nash
Wonderland isn’t the greatest movie, but Eric Bogosian’s portrayal of the mobster Eddie Nash is charismatic, terrifying, and largely creepy.