25 Best Movie Portrayals Of Real Life Gangsters

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.

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Vincent Cassel as Jacques Mesrine

Vincent_CasselSource: https://tribecafilm.com

In the movie Public Enemy #1, Vincent Cassel gave an electrifying performance as the notorious mobster Jacques Mesrine, made famous for his ingenious disguises, bank robberies, and prison break outs.


Delroy Lindo as West Indian Archie

Delroy_LindoSource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeNo70ICgVI

In Spike Lee’s biopic Malcolm X, Delroy Lindo had a small role as West Indian Archie. He ultimately gave a powerful performance of an intimidating and charming gangster who knows the streets of Harlem like the back of his hand.


Billy Drago as Frank Nitti

billy dragoSource: http://articles.chicagotribune.com

In Untouchables, Billy Drago played Frank Nitti, the man who would succeed Al Capone of the Chicago mob. In the movie, Drago played a quiet, cold, and intimidating figure, almost like a boogie man. However, he didn’t meet his demise by being thrown off a building by Eliot Ness like it shows in the movie, rather, he shot himself when he became a pariah.


Stephen Graham as Baby Face Nelson

stephen grahamSource: http://www.shortlist.com

In Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, Stephen Graham played Baby Face Nelson, one of John Dillinger’s partners who helped him escape prison. Graham gave a solid performance and was called the “British Joe Pesci” by Martin Scorcese.


Tim Roth as Dutch Schultz

Tim_RothSource: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119311/

Tim Roth usually knocks any role he’s given out of the park; his performance as Dutch Schutlz in the film Hoodlums was no exception. While Hoodlums wasn’t a great movie overall, Roth gave a menacing and electrifying performance as Schultz.

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