Movies about gangs typically feature inner-city social problems and the efforts of law enforcement to bring down the criminal members. They often tell stories of crime, violence, and revenge, consistent with the genre’s roots in gangster novels. This list contains movies that feature gangs as characters or could be considered gangster films.
Movies About Gangs
1. End of Watch
The action-crime movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as a police officer and his partner, who are the central figures in the film. The movie is about their daily activities and experiences on the force. It provides an interesting perspective of how police officers view gangs and gang members. It shows that not all gang members are bad people.
The movie is a comedy-adventure that stars Benicio del Toro, Jason Statham, and Brad Pitt. Snatch is about a group of young thugs preparing to rob a diamond shipment. The movie is entertaining, with lots of action and cool gadgets. The main character, played by Statham, wants to become rich without actually participating in criminal activities. This gangster story focuses on the rivalry between the rival gangs in London, and the characters’ actions are motivated by personal issues.
The thriller stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Cynthia Erivo. It focuses on four widows who form a gang to avenge their husbands’ killers. The movie is set in Chicago but has little to do with the city’s history of mob violence. The only real part of the movie that connects it to Chicago is the name of the gang: “The Sisters.”
4. American Gangster
The movie stars Denzel Washington( Frank Lucas) and Russell Crowe(Detective Richie Roberts). This crime drama tells the story of Lucas’ rise to power as a major player in the Harlem drug scene. The film gives viewers a first-hand look at Harlem’s life during that period, including the neighborhood’s gang activity, which makes up a large part of the movie.
5. Blood Diamond
“Blood Diamond” centers around Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) and how he obtains a large uncut diamond from a war-torn civil region. The war/drama stars Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, and Arnold Vosloo. Leonardo DiCaprio is an American diamond dealer who wants to obtain a large uncut diamond from rebel leader Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou).
6. Gangster Squad
The action/crime movie stars Sean Penn (Mickey Cohen), Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone as a gangster and his goons, who travel to Los Angeles to take on the best police force on the West Coast. The movie doesn’t have a plot based in Chicago, but rather it follows Cohen’s history of cooperation with the LAPD and his extensive mob ties.
7. Sexy Beast
This crime/romance movie stars Ray Winstone as a retired criminal being coaxed out of retirement to carry out a heist by an old acquaintance. Ben Kingsley plays Don Logan, the man who convinces Winstone’s character to come out of retirement. Jonathan Glazer directs it.
8. Killing Them Softly
starring Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, and Ben Mendelsohn. The movie is about an ace enforcer (Brad Pitt) who investigates a heist during a mob-protected poker game. It is a crime drama film that follows the events leading up to the robbery and the aftermath. It provides an insight into organized crime and how it works in America.
9. Boyz n the Hood
Boyz n the Hood is a crime/drama film starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Morris Chestnut. The movie is set in South Los Angeles and tells the story of a group of friends growing up during the 1980s. The main character, Tre Styles (Ice Cube), struggles with life and violence in his neighborhood; as a result, he turns to crime and gangs to survive.
10. Shot Caller
Jacob Harlon is a former gang leader who’s had to leave his old life behind. He’s looking for revenge on the gangsters who took him down and wants to ensure that they don’t stay alive for long. The crime/drama movie is about an action-packed revenge plot.
Gangster movies offer an interesting perspective of gangs and gang activity. The list above is entertaining and can be viewed at any point in history. With their intertwining storylines, these movies will surely keep you on the edge of your seat.