The Godfather is an era-defining film that went on to influence every film that came after it. Culturally relevant more than 50 years later, this movie is a timeless piece of art, and for this reason we’ve created a list of movies like The Godfather. Mafia movies have become a genre of its own, as the mix between concepts like crime and honor (and the lack of it), proving a very fascinating contradiction that viewers love to see placed on their screen. Can there ever be honor in crime?
Francis Ford Coppola’sThe Godfather features legendary names such as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan. The success of the masterpiece spawned 2 further sequels, which completed The Godfather Trilogy. The first movie followed the rise of the Corleone crime family under Corleone, and the transformation of his son Michael Corleone, from principled army veteran to a ruthless crime boss. If you wish to see more of such movies which The Godfather’s immense influence helped to shape, then here are 12 movies like The Godfather for you to watch next.
List of Movies like The Godfather
1. Goodfellas (1990)
If you’re looking for a movie that embodies the gritty writing and tone that can be found in movies like The Godfather, then Goodfellas is your best bet. Goodfellas is a biographical crime film that follows the rise and eventual fall of mobster Henry Hill and his accompanying crime family.
Like many mobster tales, the story spans over decades, showing us the effect of a life of crime on these characters, as well as their families and friends. This movie features veterans of the crime drama genre, including Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci, and is even directed by Martin Scorcese. Already seen this iconic movie? Also Read: Movies like Goodfellas
2. Scarface (1983)
Scarface is an American crime drama, which the same as movies like The Godfather, is adapted from a novel of the same name. Also like The Godfather, this movie has remained culturally relevant and is chock full with multiple lines that are still quoted today. The plot is centered on Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee who makes his way to Miami, and heads into a life of crime in a bid to gather wealth and make a name for himself.
This movie is particularly characterized by the superb acting displayed by Al Pacino who plays Montana, as well as its highly graphic action scenes. It has been praised as one of the greatest gangster movies of all time, and is continuously referenced in modern pop culture, especially other movies and music, especially hip-hop.
3. Capone (2020)
Capone is a biographical drama which features Tom Hardy as the well-storied Chicago mobster Al Capone. This movie gives us a lesser seen aspect of the crime lord’s life by focusing on the years after the completion of his 11-year prison sentence for tax evasion. Al Capone has moved to Florida as a decrepit old man suffering from neurosyphilis and dementia.
The movie is a haunting portrayal of a man who is haunted by his demons, and visions of the countless men that he killed or hurt in any way. Unlike movies like The Godfather, Al Capone strips away any sense of grandiosity from the man. He is no legendary figure, rather a small man in every sense of the word, with an evil and violent past.
4. Payback (1999)
It’s one man against the mob in Payback, a movie starring Mel Gibson, who plays Porter, a career criminal who is betrayed by his wife and partner, shot and robbed of his share of a completed heist. Similar to movies like The Godfather, crime organizations prove hard to infiltrate, as those at higher levels are protected by those beneath, but he’ll definitely try.
Payback is a classic revenge tale that takes the audience on a rickrolling adventure from dark back alleys and streets to empty warehouses. There are negotiations-gone-wrong, shootouts and explosions, enough to keep you invested for the entirety of the movie’s runtime.
5. Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Lucky Number Slevin is a neo-noir tinged crime thriller directed by Paul McGuigan. It features Josh Hartnett as Slevin Kelevra A.K.A Henry, who is thrown right in the middle of a mob war in New York City and has to maneuver his way out of it without any prior knowledge of the world of organized crime.
This movie is filled with a talented cast including Bruce Willis who plays Mr Goodkat, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu, Ben Kingsley and many others. If you’re looking for a gritty crime drama in the vein of movies similar to The Godfather, then Lucky Number Slevin should find its way onto your watch list.
A big fan of Martin Scorsese? Also Read: Movies like Taxi Driver
6. Mean Streets (1973)
Robert De Niro is sure to be a regular in lists like these, and he also features in Mean Streets, this crime drama directed by frequent collaborator Martin Scorcese. He plays the role of Charlie Cappa, an Italian-American living in the neighborhood of Little Italy, New York. Charlie is torn between his religion and embarking on a sojourn into a life of crime.
However, a need to protect his friend Johnny sees Charlie put a series of events in motion that seems him involved in fights and shootouts, as he tries to transport Johnny out of town, so he can lay low for a while. This is a gritty drama from the same era with movies like The Godfather, and shares a lot of the same tone with it.
7. Training Day (2001)
There is no successful crime syndicate without a corrupt police, and Training Day showcases this point just as in movies like The Godfather. Training Day follows the story of Jake Hoyt, played by Denzel Washington, a highly decorated LAPD officer in the narcotics department, who has gathered his achievements through corrupt means.
We as viewers are presented with a conundrum by being shown a ‘good guy’ who uses illegal means to stop the bad guys and bring about justice. Also a guy who seems to be devoid of morality, and only sees the world of crime as a hunting ground, only for his pleasure.
8. Casino (1995)
We have the trio of Joe Pesci, Robert DeNiro and director Martin Scorcese in yet another crime film, and not for the last time. The Avengers assembled in 1995 for Casino and follows Sam Rothstein, a Jewish American gambling handicapper who is hired by the Chicago mob to manage their Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas.
Similar to movies like The Godfather, it shows the impact that managing this business has on his family, his other relationships as the political and economic landscape of Las Vegas changes from year to year. A Martin Scorcese mob movie is always a classic and you should definitely give this one a watch.
9. American Gangster (2007)
American Gangster features Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas, a gangster from North Carolina, who begins his criminal career by smuggling heroin from Vietnam where he served during the war. His criminal enterprise is very successful, and the movie chronicles its rise, and maybe, eventual fall.
Black gangster movies are rare, but if American Gangster is anything to go by, it can be as enthralling and entertaining as Italian-American crime films like The Godfather. This movie has been praised for being a gritty throwback to the gangster movies of the 70s and 80s, while still adding its own twist to the genre.
10. The Irishman (2019)
The Irishman is the latest in the series of collaborations between Director Martin Scorcese, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and even adding the legendary Al Pacino to the mix. Robert De Niro plays Frank Sheeran, a former union delivery truck driver, who gets recruited by Russell Bufalino to carry out jobs for the South Philadelphia mob.
This movie is a lengthy and epic gangster movie that spans decades quite similar to movies like The Godfather. It garnered headlines for its use of de-aging technology on its main characters to portray them at a younger age. This technique is yet another reason for you to give this one a watch.
11. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Reservoir Dogs directed by Quentin Tarantino, is one of the bonafide gangster films likeThe Godfather. The plot follows a group of six criminals who are hired to plan and execute a heist. When they are ambushed by the police they are forced to escape and soon realize that someone among them is a mole, and try to find out who it is.
Reservoir Dogs is a critically acclaimed film, and has been praised especially for Tarantino’s heavy rock style, and use of a non-linear style of storytelling. It has been hailed as the greatest indie film of all time by many critics, and grew to become a cult classic.
12. Pulp Fiction (1994)
The next movie Pulp Fiction is also a Tarantino movie, and a masterpiece among masterpieces which make up his filmography. The plot follows different stories all centered on crime in the City of Los Angeles. It features huge movie stars such as Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman.
Pulp Fiction remains culturally relevant to this day, similar to movies like The Godfather. It is a graphic movie full of frantic action scenes and quippy dialogue, and received seven Oscar nominations in its year of review, including Best Picture, Director and Actor.
Also Read: Movies like Inglourious Basterds
Here is a list of movies likeThe Godfather that didn’t make it, which you can also check out:
- City of God
- Once Upon A Time In America
- Eastern Promises