10 More Epic Crime Dramas
The Godfather is an epic crime drama and highly regarded as one of the best ever created. This brilliant film combines excellent storytelling with solid character work, making for a very enjoyable watch.
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 The Godfather.
The Godfather Part II
This sequel to “The Godfather” presents two parallel storylines. One involves Mafia chief Michael Corleone in 1958 after the events of the first movie, the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily to the founding of his family enterprise in New York City.
As a direct sequel, it makes sense that this epic movie find a place on this list as it not only shares characters and settings but also similar themes. It explores the intricate dynamics of the Corleone family and their criminal empire, the passing of power across generations, and the moral and personal consequences of their lifestyle.
Goodfellas is the true story of Henry Hill, a half-Irish, half-Sicilian Brooklyn kid who is adopted by neighborhood gangsters at an early age. From there, he climbs the ranks of a Mafia family but with his rise through the criminal underworld, the toll this lifestyle takes on Henry’s relationships and sanity comes into full view.
Both films delve into the lives of organized crime families, detailing their operations and the consequences of their actions. They illustrate the lure of power, wealth, and respect in this lifestyle, and how violence and betrayal become a part of these characters’ lives.
Casino tells the story of Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a Jewish American gambling expert handicapper who is asked by the Chicago Outfit to oversee the day-to-day casino and hotel operations at the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas.
His character, along with Nicky Santoro (who happens to be his best friend turned mafia enforcer) struggle with their rise and fall in this tumultuous world.
Both movies revolve around organized crime and the struggle to maintain power and control within their respective environments. Each exhibits the character’s attempts to balance personal life with the brutal and often violent business of organized crime, making for an absolutely solid watch.
Scarface follows Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who comes to Miami in the 1980’s with nothing but the clothes on his back. However, he rises to become a powerful drug kingpin. His thirst for power, paired with his cocaine addiction, leads to paranoia, mistrust, and ultimately his downfall.
Both this and The Godfather center around the rise and fall of an ambitious criminal within the organized crime sector, detailing the gritty and violent realities of their ascent to power and the inevitable downfall that accompanies such ambition.
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 films depict the inner workings of organized crime, complex power dynamics, loyalty, and the often harsh cost of maintaining order within their respective realms. The movies also explore the struggle of their main characters to reconcile their moral integrity with the often ruthless demands of their profession.
Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York is an absolute must-watch. Set in mid-19th century Manhattan, the film focuses on Amsterdam Vallon who returns to the Five Points area to seek revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father’s killer. During his mission, Amsterdam gets caught in the middle of the Civil War draft riots.
Much like The Godfather, Gangs of New York portrays the world of organized crime and power struggles. They emphasize the importance of loyalty, honor, and the quest for power, while exploring that thin line between good and evil.
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 movies provide an intimate view of the mafia’s inner workings. They focus on personal relationships within the crime families, the blurring of lines between personal and professional lives, and the impacts of crime life on family and personal identity.
A Prophet is an oft-overlooked and criminally underrated French film that fans of The Godfather should absolutely check out. The film tells the story of an Arab man called Malik El Djebena, who is sent to a French prison, where he becomes involved with the Corsican mafia who rules there. The movie tracks his rise within the prison system, and his education in the ways of the mafia.
Like The Godfather, A Prophet is a crime drama focused on the ascent of a young man in the world of organized crime. Both films demonstrate how the central characters, initially outsiders, learn to navigate and eventually dominate the criminal underworld.
Battles Without Honour and Humanity
Battles Without Honour and Humanity is a Japanese film; an unashamedly violent tale of the yakuza underworld. It follows ex-soldier Shozo Hirono, who becomes involved in the Hiroshima yakuza, navigating the violent power struggles within the organization.
This film is an epic crime saga that provides a deep dive into the complex world of organized crime, specifically that of the yakuza, with central themes of honor, loyalty and power struggles taking center stage. This is another must-watch international title for fans of The Godfather.
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.
Much like The Godfather, American Ganger is a crime drama delving into the rise and fall of organized crime figures. They deal with themes of power and corruption, along with the pursuit of the American Dream, albeit from different angles.
So there we have it, our 10 movie alternatives to watch when you’re finished watching The Godfather.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!