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Modern Mob Movies: Five Movies Since the 1970s That Shaped the Genre

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 06:59 AM

The world of organized crime has gripped the fascination of movie audiences since mob crime spiked during the Prohibition era. Modern mob movies have shaped our perceptions of gangsters and, in some cases, romanticized a life of organized crime. Mob bosses and hit men become anti-heroes, transformed from villains into tragic and sympathetic characters.

Five movies since the 1970s have done the most to shape the mob movie genre:

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1. “The Godfather” (1972)

Real-life gangsters come from virtually every nationality. None have enjoyed more time in the cinema spotlight than the Italian Mafia. “The Godfather” and its two sequels chronicle the rise and fall of Michael Corleone – a war veteran who becomes the heir to his father's criminal empire and the head of his mob family. His evolution from hero to criminal is tinged with tragedy and gives a gangster a rare sympathetic edge while presenting the mafia world from a gangster's viewpoint – a radical departure from mob movies made before that time.

2. “Scarface” (1983)

A Cuban refugee arrives in Miami and climbs the underworld ladder to become a powerful drug kingpin. “Scarface” gives the rags-to-riches plot device a sinister twist. Everything eventually unravels for Tony Montana in a series of violent deaths, culminating in his own demise.

3. “The Untouchables” (1987)

This period piece explores how United States Treasury agent Elliott Ness brought down Al Capone and his criminal empire near the end of the Prohibition era. It offers rich visuals in the manner of Alfred Hitchcock movies of the 1950s and 60s and is a throwback to the gangster films of the 1930s and 40s. Elliott Ness is the incorruptible good guy compared to Capone, the ultimate bad guy.

4. “Goodfellas” (1990)

Realism permeates “Goodfellas,” the biographical look at mobster Henry Hill and his rise and fall in a Mafia family. Unlike many other mob movies, this one gets into the nuts and bolts of what makes a man turn to organized crime. It also shows the consequences: divorce, drug abuse and being forced into the Federal Witness Protection Program.

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5. “Analyze This” (1999)

Mafia life does not seem like fertile ground for laughs, but it ends up being a great source of comedy in “Analyze This.” The movie centers on a Mafia leader who starts seeing a psychiatrist in secret after a series of panic attacks, drawing the psychiatrist into mob business. The film puts a comedic spin on many of the mob stereotypes instead of being another dark drama.

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The world of organized crime has gripped the fascination of movie audiences since mob crime spiked during the Prohibition era. Modern mob movies have shaped our perceptions of gangsters and, in some cases, romanticized a life of organized crime.
modern, mob, movies, films, hollywood
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2015-59-22
Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 06:59 AM
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