If you enjoy gangster movies, there are a few overlooked titles that make for an enjoyable watch. Of course, there are the obvious gangster movies to watch on Netflix, such as The Godfather trilogy, The Departed, Heat, and Casino, and if you enjoyed those, then the films below should be a welcomed addition to your queue.
Kill the Irishman
Based on the book To Kill the Irishman: The War That Crippled the Mafia by Rick Porrello, this underrated feature directed by Jonathan Hensleigh loosely tells the true story of Irish mobster Danny Greene. The year is 1976, and Greene (Ray Stevenson) is in a turf war with the Italian mafia in Cleveland. Danny stops taking orders from the mafia and pursues his own power. Nicknamed “The Man the Mob Couldn’t Kill,” Greene survived a multitude of assassination attempts and killed anyone who stood in his way.
More than just an intriguing premise, a stellar lineup joins Stevenson: Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Robert Davi, and Vinnie Jones.
Like many gangster movies, this Netflix feature romanticizes the main character, though Hensleigh does a fine job in building character depth. There are some minor flaws in the execution of the story, but solid performances by the cast more than makes up for them.
BMF: The Rise and Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire
The Black Mafia Family was a Detroit drug cartel headed by brothers Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory. They formed a legal company titled BMF Entertainment as a front for their very illegal drug trafficking company that netted nearly $300 million. This compelling documentary tells the story of the 15-year investigation that led to the fall of the brothers’ drug empire. If you’re a fan of hip hop, or just a fan of gripping documentary movies, then this Netflix selection is a must-watch.
With a score of 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the site describes one of the best gangster movies on Netflix.
“Old habits die hard: The ‘disappearances’ that marked the Videla regime in Argentina continued after the dictator’s fall in 1981, but the motive changed from politics to money. Arquimedes Puccio kidnapped wealthy men and women and held them for ransom in his home, using domineering control over his family and – for a time – the tacit protection of police to do it.”
Warning: The trailer below contains some strong imagery.
Directed by Pablo Trapero, this Argentine film picked up the Golden Lion Award at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival. This chilling true-life story is, at times, gruesome, but Netflix subscribers will likely find their eyes glued to the screen from beginning to end.
The Seven Five
This is one of the most enthralling documentary movies on Netflix, and it tells the true story of the person known as the dirtiest cop in New York City history, Michael Dowd; given the fact that this takes place in the ’80s, that’s certainly a bold statement. Dowd went from patrolling the mean streets of Brooklyn to heading a ruthless criminal network. Among others involved, Dowd himself recounts his story.
The Los Angeles Times describes why The Seven Five should be added to our Netflix watch list.
“It would be hard to imagine a more entertaining corrupt-cop documentary than ‘The Seven Five,’ a slick and fascinating portrait of disgraced New York Policeman Michael Dowd.”
Kills On Wheels
If you like some action and comedy with your gangster movies, then you should thoroughly enjoy this unique film on Netflix. IMDb provides the premise for this Hungarian crime story.
“This is a meaningful action-comedy of a wheelchair-bound assassin gang…A 20-year-old boy, his friend, and an ex-fireman offer their services to the mafia…The boundaries between reality and fiction blur and the story becomes a whirling kaleidoscope showing us gangsters and gunfights, but also the challenge of life in a wheelchair and the pain caused by a father’s rejection.”
This is not a generic crime film by any stretch, and it’s more thoughtful and insightful than most movies in this genre. Brilliantly directed by Attila Till, Kills On Wheels entices a variety of emotions. You’ll likely find yourself laughing out loud during some scenes, on the edge of your seat during others, and ultimately, reaching for a box of tissues in this unique and heartwarming film.
From Kill the Irishman to Kill on Wheels, some of the best gangster movies on Netflix are overlooked gems.