If you’re a fan of Scarface, the iconic crime drama that took us deep into the world of Tony Montana, then you’re likely always on the hunt for films that match its intensity, drama, and thrilling portrayal of the criminal underworld. Here’s a curated list of 20 movies that will surely resonate with fans of Scarface, each offering a unique glimpse into the world of crime, power, and survival.
No Country for Old Men
City of God
A History of Violence
Table of Contents
The Godfather (1972) – Streaming on Fubo TV, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
This film is not just about crime; it’s a poignant study of the American Dream viewed through the lens of an Italian-American crime family. Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Vito Corleone is legendary, offering a complex character who is both ruthless and deeply loyal. The film’s narrative skillfully intertwines themes of power, family, and tradition, set against the backdrop of the mafia’s golden age in America.
Goodfellas (1990) – Streaming on AMC, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” presents mob life in its raw, unglamorized form, narrated by Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) in a captivating style that immerses viewers in the world of organized crime. The film explores the allure of the gangster lifestyle while not shying away from its brutal consequences. Joe Pesci’s Oscar-winning performance as Tommy DeVito is particularly memorable for its volatile and unpredictable nature.
Carlito’s Way (1993) – Streaming on Starz, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
Al Pacino’s Carlito Brigante is a character striving for redemption in a world that refuses to let him go. The film’s narrative structure, using flashbacks, adds a layer of poignancy to Carlito’s struggle. The richly textured portrayal of 1970s New York provides a perfect backdrop for this tale of second chances and inevitable fate.
American Gangster (2007) – Streaming on Max, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
“American Gangster” provides a dual narrative, following both the rise of Frank Lucas as a heroin kingpin and the efforts of detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) to bring him down. The film’s exploration of themes such as identity, moral ambiguity, and the corrupting influence of power offers a complex and gritty portrait of crime and retribution.
Casino (1995) – Streaming on Peacock Premium, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
In Casino, Scorsese explores the intricate web of mob influence in Las Vegas casinos. The film’s meticulous attention to detail, from the inner workings of the casino business to the colorful and volatile characters, creates a rich tapestry of narrative and visual storytelling. De Niro’s portrayal of Rothstein, a man who starts with noble intentions but gradually succumbs to the vices around him, is a powerful study of corruption and downfall. Sharon Stone’s performance as Ginger McKenna is equally compelling, depicting a journey from glamour to self-destruction.
Hitman (2007) – Streaming on Starz, DIRECTV, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
Hitman stands out for its unique blend of action, espionage, and character study. Agent 47, portrayed by Timothy Olyphant, is a character of few words but profound depth, embodying the loneliness and moral ambiguity of a life spent in the shadows. The film’s sleek action sequences are balanced by a contemplative look at the nature of free will versus conditioning.
Blow (2001) – Available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
Below is a poignant narrative that chronicles George Jung’s journey from a small-time pot dealer to a pivotal player in the Medellín Cartel. Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Jung is nuanced, capturing the ambition, charm, and, ultimately, the tragedy of a man caught up in the drug trade. The film effectively contrasts his meteoric rise with his profound personal losses, painting a humanizing portrait of a figure often vilified in society.
New World (2013) – Available on Amazon Video
This South Korean crime epic offers a fresh perspective on the genre, focusing on the intricate power dynamics within a crime syndicate and the morally grey area of law enforcement. The film is a masterful blend of action, drama, and suspense, with deeply layered characters and a storyline that keeps viewers guessing until the very end.
Infernal Affairs (2002) – Streaming on CBS, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
Infernal Affairs is a taut, psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil. The parallel stories of the mole in the police and the undercover cop in the gang offer a compelling examination of identity, loyalty, and the cost of living a double life. The film’s tight pacing and intense performances make it a standout in the crime genre.
Pulp Fiction (1994) – Streaming on Max, DIRECTV, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
Quentin Tarantino’s groundbreaking film is a mosaic of interrelated stories known for its sharp dialogue, eclectic characters, and non-linear plot. It weaves together the lives of two hitmen, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits, blending humor and violence in a way that redefined modern cinema. The film’s unique structure and memorable performances by John Travolta, Uma Thurman, and Samuel L. Jackson make it an iconic staple of the crime genre.
Heat (1995) – Streaming on Netflix, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
This Michael Mann epic is a masterclass in tension and character development, focusing on the parallel lives of a seasoned thief (Robert De Niro) and a dedicated detective (Al Pacino). The film is renowned for its realistic depiction of heists and police procedure, as well as the intense cat-and-mouse game between the lead characters, culminating in one of the most memorable shootout scenes in film history.
The Departed (2006) – Streaming on AMC, VIX, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
A crime drama set in Boston, directed by Martin Scorsese, “The Departed,” focuses on an undercover state cop infiltrating an Irish gang and a mole in the police force working for the same gang. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson, the film is a complex tale of identity, loyalty, and betrayal, filled with intense performances and a gripping narrative.
No Country for Old Men (2007) – Streaming on Fubo TV, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
Directed by the Coen Brothers, this film is a chilling saga of violence and mayhem sparked by a drug deal gone wrong. It features a relentless hitman (Javier Bardem) delivering a standout performance. The film’s stark portrayal of violence, its tense atmosphere, and philosophical undertones make it a profound cinematic experience.
City of God (2002) – Streaming on Paramount+, DIRECTV, available on Amazon Video
A Brazilian film that chronicles the rise of organized crime in Rio de Janeiro’s Cidade de Deus. It’s a raw, visually striking narrative that follows several characters whose lives are intertwined with the city’s underworld, highlighting the impact of violence on young lives and the cyclical nature of poverty and crime.
Eastern Promises (2007) – Streaming on Max, DIRECTV, available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
This film, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen, delves into the heart of London’s Russian mafia. The story revolves around a midwife who crosses paths with the crime family, uncovering secrets and facing moral dilemmas. The film is noted for its intense performances, especially Mortensen’s, and its unflinching look at the brutality of the criminal world.
The Untouchables (1987) – Streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Hoopla
Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, Brian De Palma’s film is a stylish depiction of the battle between Federal Agent Eliot Ness and notorious gangster Al Capone. It features iconic performances by Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Robert De Niro. The film combines historical drama with action-packed sequences, making it a compelling story of good versus evil.
Donnie Brasco (1997) – Streaming on Netflix, DIRECTV
Starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, this film is based on the true story of FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone, who infiltrated the mafia under the alias “Donnie Brasco.” The film explores the complexities of undercover work, including the personal toll it takes and the blurred lines between duty and friendship.
A History of Violence (2005) – Available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
This film is a thought-provoking exploration of identity, with Viggo Mortensen playing a small-town man whose violent past resurfaces. Directed by David Cronenberg, the film questions the nature of violence and whether a person can ever truly escape their past.
Public Enemies (2009) – Streaming on Netflix, DIRECTV
Directed by Michael Mann, this film chronicles the final years of legendary bank robber John Dillinger (played by Johnny Depp). Set during the Great Depression, it portrays Dillinger as a charismatic and audacious figure pitted against the burgeoning FBI. The film blends historical detail with thrilling action, offering a glimpse into a tumultuous period in American history.
Layer Cake (2004) – Available on Amazon Video, Apple TV
Directed by Matthew Vaughn, this British crime thriller features Daniel Craig as a successful drug dealer trying to retire from a life of crime. His plans go awry when he gets caught in a web of deceit and complex power struggles within the criminal underworld. Known for its sharp wit, fast-paced plot, and Craig’s compelling performance, “Layer Cake” is a stylish, engaging take on the crime drama genre, offering a unique British perspective on the criminal underworld’s complexities and dangers.