10 More Must-Watch Crime Dramas
Goodfellas is a must-watch crime drama, telling the story of Henry Hill and his life in the mafia, covering his relationship with his wife Karen and his mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito.
If you’ve finished streaming this one and are looking for alternatives – fret not! We’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle with our top picks for alternate viewing.
So without further ado, we present 10 movies to check out when you’ve finished watching Goodfellas.
American Gangster is based on the life of Frank Lucas, a gangster from North Carolina who smuggles heroin into the United States on American service planes returning from the Vietnam War. It also focuses on Richie Roberts, a detective trying to bring down Lucas’ drug empire, setting up a cat and mouse chase.
Both movies detail the rise and fall of their criminal protagonists within organized crime, showing the allure of power and wealth but also the downfall that inevitably follows.
This film is based on the true story of Joseph Pistone, an FBI agent who infiltrates the Bonanno crime family in New York City. Going under the alias Donnie Brasco, he becomes vouched for by a hitman named Lefty, who grows to see Donnie as a friend and confidant. As Donnie tumbles deeper into the Mafia, he realizes that he is crossing the line between being a cop and a criminal.
Both this and Goodfellas are crime dramas focused on the personal and professional lives of their characters within the mafia. They depict the harsh realities of life within the underworld, exploring themes of identity, loyalty, and betrayal.
Reservoir Dogs revolves around a botched robbery and its aftermath, telling the story through a nonlinear narrative. A group of professional criminals who were strangers to each other before the job try to figure out what went wrong and who among them is an undercover cop.
While the structure and style of the films are different, both explore the dynamics within a criminal group and focus on themes such as trust, loyalty and betrayal. What’s particularly fascinating here though is just how Reservoir Dogs leans into the idea of the repercussions of a life of crime, making for a solid watch.
Heat follows two main characters: a professional thief called Neil McCauley and LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Hanna. As McCauley plans his final heist, Hanna pursues him without knowing that their lives share a lot in common.
Both films delve into the complex lives of characters deeply embedded in crime, showcasing their dedication to ‘work’ and the toll it takes on their personal lives. They also depict the blurred lines between law enforcement and criminals.
Set during the Prohibition era, Miller’s Crossing follows Tom Reagan, the right-hand man to Irish mob boss Leo O’Bannon. Tom navigates his way through various factions within the city’s criminal underworld while dealing with complex loyalties and his personal ethics.
Both movies are crime dramas that depict the intricacies of organized crime, focusing on themes like loyalty, betrayal, and power struggles. They also explore the struggle of their main characters to reconcile their moral integrity with the often ruthless demands of their profession.
Once Upon A Time In America
Once Upon A Time In America explores the lives of childhood friends David “Noodles” Aaronson and Maximilian “Max” Bercovicz as they gradually rise the ranks of Jewish organized crime in New York. The film is told in a non-linear fashion, shifting between different time periods.
Both movies detail the rise and fall of organized crime figures, focusing on the protagonists’ entire life arcs. They’re both rich in character development and show the dark side of the American Dream through the criminal underworld.
Carlito’s Way follows Carlito Brigante, a Puerto Rican former convict who vows to stay away from his previous life of crime. However, that’s easier said than done, especially as he finds it harder than he thought to break ties with his past.
Much like Goodfellas, Carlito’s Way focuses on the main character’s involvement in the criminal world and their attempts to navigate it. It offers an intimate portrait of the characters, exploring themes of ambition, loyalty, and the struggle to escape a life of crime.
Layer Cake follows the story of an unnamed successful drug dealer who plans to retire from the business. However, his plans go awry when he’s given two difficult tasks by his boss: to find the missing daughter of a powerful criminal and to broker a huge drug deal.
Both films delve into the intricacies of organized crime and show the protagonist’s struggle to navigate it. They also focus on the repercussions of a life of crime and depict the often volatile nature of power within these criminal networks.
A Bronx Tale
A Bronx Tale is a coming-of-age story set, unsurprisingly, in the Bronx during the turbulent era of the 1960’s. It’s narrated by Calogero Anello, a young Italian-American boy who gets torn between his hard-working, honest father and a violent yet charismatic mob boss who becomes his mentor.
Both films focus on the protagonist’s involvement with the mafia, their relationships within the crime family, and the pull between the allure of mob life and the desire for a normal life. They also both portray the Italian-American experience within the context of organized crime.
The Irishman is a long film, but this Netflix Original is certainly worth a watch in the end. It follows the life of Frank Sheeran, a truck driver turned hitman involved with mobster Russell Bufalino and his Pennsylvania crime family. The film chronicles Sheeran’s involvement in the disappearance of his longtime friend, Jimmy Hoffa, former president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who famously disappeared in 1975.
Both films are epic mob dramas directed by Martin Scorsese and delve into the rise and fall of their main characters within the organized crime world. They portray the harsh realities and consequences of a life in crime and share the common theme of the intersection of the mafia with labor unions.
So there we have it, our 10 movie alternatives to watch when you’re finished watching Goodfellas.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!