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.
Tom Hardy as the Kray Twins
What’d we say about Tom Hardy being able to play anyone? Well, in the movie Legend, he literally plays two people at the same time. Not many in the United States know much about the Kray twins, but in England, they’re mafia legends. Hardy definitely showed his acting chops by playing the two very distinct characters, one being particularly crazy and violent.
Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger
Depp returns as an infamous mob boss, but this time as the more recent Whitey Bulger. The terrifying performance set Black Mass apart and made people wonder if Depp would return to more serious roles. While Depp didn’t get any Academy nods for the role, he went all in and showed a man become increasingly brutal over time.
Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello
The Departed is arguably one of the best mob movies in the last decade, and like a fine wine, it just keeps getting better with age. Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Frank Costello anchors the movie and all the other characters. Some of the best performances are the father/son relationship between Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio, which slowly degrades into paranoia about a rat stirring up trouble.
Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill the Butcher
Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the greatest actors of our time if not of all time. His method acting causes him to absorb every aspect of his character, and it showed in the role of Bill the Butcher in Martin Scorcese’s Gangs of New York. While he didn’t win the Oscar for Best Actor that year, he certainly deserved it for another psychologically nuanced performance.
Robert De Niro as Al Capone
Out of all the mob bosses in American history, Al Capone continues to be the most notorious. Who better to play him than Robert De Niro? In the movie Untouchables, De Niro got that chance and nailed it as the strong, charismatic leader hunted by the FBI.
Enjoy this post? Be sure to check out 25 Mobsters In Entertainment We Really Like But Shouldn’t.
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