The BEST Italian Mafia Movies– [REVEALED]

Preparing for Italian Movie Night

Many filmmakers love to make Italian mafia movies. However, it is not just the filmmakers; many people will tell you how they find Italian mafia movies irresistible. Nothing beats an Italian-themed film that focuses on the family business and great Italian food.

However, it is not just movies that make the ultimate Italian movie night. It would be best to have perfect food, drink, and snack combinations to make your movie night more memorable. Nevertheless, getting the best Italian mafia movie is also a must. In this article, you will learn more about top mafia movies.

When it comes to food, you could order a pizza or throw a microwave lasagna onto a dish as a quick solution. You can make your movie night classier by making some popular Italian recipes. I would recommend you get a pasta recipe to maintain the Italian theme. If you don’t trust your cooking skills, you can always order an Italian dish from an Italian restaurant nearby.

Additionally, you can pair your pasta dish off with some good wine. There is an excellent collection of Italian white and red wines. If you are not a drinker, don’t fret; you could consider many non-alcoholic drinks. For example, shakerato and bicerin are great options.

Finally, your movie night is not complete without snacks. You will need to think further than popcorn and nachos. Examples of Italian snacks you can consider include Ameretto biscuits, ciambelle, gelato, olives, pizza al taglio, cornetti con panna and pizza con patate.

What is a Mafia Movie Anyway?

A mafia movie is a film that dramatizes organized groups of criminals with illicit activities that usually operate internationally. As it is popularly known today, the mafia originated in Sicily back in 1860.

Additionally, the Sicilian Mafia, also known as Cosa Nostra, came to power after Sicily unified with Italy. After that, their organized criminal operations sprung all over the world.  

Mafia films fall under gangster movies, a subgenre of crime films that deal with organized crime, specifically by mafia organizations.

The Characteristics of Italian Mafia Movies

All Italian mob movies don’t necessarily have the same theme. However, they have certain underlying characteristics that define them. The most common attributes of these movies include:

  • Corruption of crime
  • Organized crime
  • Drug trafficking
  • Book-making
  • High-profit trading
high profit trading

The Best Mafia Movies of All Time

As mentioned earlier, there have been some top-rated Italian mafia films. However, some films stood out from the rest. Read on to discover the best mafia movies of all time.

10. Gomorrah

Original title: Gomorrah

Director: Matteo Garrone

Leading Actor: Toni Sevillo

Year: 2008

Why watch: it is very realistic and starts a new film genre on the Napolitan mafia

Platform:  Amazon Prime

Gomorrah is a livid and brilliant engagement with the times in which we live. It is regarded as the greatest modern mafia movie ever made, as it strips every pretense of romanticism from the Godfather saga.

The film takes nothing for granted, and the mafia’s power is absolute. By the end of this film, if you had a romantic view of the mafia, it would disintegrate like a shoreline-sand after a full moon tide. 

9. Criminal Novel

Original title: Romanzo Criminale

Director: Michele Placido

Leading Actors: Favino, Accorsi, Rossi Stuart

Year: 2005

Why watch: It covers the rise and fall of the most famous gang in Rome.

Platform:  Amazon Prime (TV series) and Now TV

Romanzo Criminale is not purely a mafia movie with a great cast of Italian Celebrities but the Mariana gang is from Rome, and there is no actual mafia organization within the borders of the Italian capital. The Magliana was a criminal syndicate that ran its operations in the 70s and 80s.  

Even though it was not a mafia group (they were also rounded up quite easily), they were linked with ‘Ndrangeta, Camorra, and Cosa Nostra. The film’s director is known abroad for his role as an avid mafia fighter, police Chief Corrado Cattani (The Octopus). The success of this film was followed by an equally successful series.

8. The Consequences of Love

Original title: Le Conseguenze dell’amore

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Leading Actor: Toni Servillo

Year: 2004

Why watch: One of the best Italian mafia romance movies

Platform:  Netflix and Amazon Prime

This was Paolo Sorrentino’s second film, and it was the one that gave him his international breakthrough. Currently, Sorrentino is regarded as one of the finest directors globally. The story is very original and is not about shootings or condemnation of how the mafia is bad.

Instead, it is a more psychological story with the mafia and the Camorra as a background. The protagonist is a lonely man who eventually meets his end in a very mafia way.

7. One Hundred Steps

Original title: I Centi Passi

Director: Marco Tullio Giordano

Leading Actor: Luigo Lo Cascio

Year: 2000

Why watch: It is one of the first anti-mafia films

Platform:  Google Play and Now TV

This film covers the life of Peppino Impastato, whose father is a Mafioso in one of the villages in Sicily. Peppino revolted against his gangster father and the machinations of the mafia at an early age. He organizes cultural events and establishes a radio station. Peppino opposes the mafia and ridicules his uncle, a dominant gangster, signing his death warrant in the process.

This Italian film ushered in a new genre of openly anti-mafia movies. Its title refers to the distance between Peppino’s house and Badalamenti, the mafia boss’ house.     

6. From Corleone to Brooklyn

Original title: De Corleone a Brooklyn

Director: Umberto Lenzi

Leading Actor: Maurizio Merli

Year: 1979

Why watch: It is a top film in the poliziesco genre.

Platform:  Amazon Prime

This movie makes it to the list of the best Italian mafia movies because it highlights the genre poliziesco. This is a movie genre that possibly does not fit current trends (atrocious violence and nude women). Nevertheless, it has produced hundreds of titles and inspired many top filmmakers, such as Quentin Tarantino.

De Corleone a Brooklyn is a real mob story, having shootings that lead to dozens of deaths. It is set in Sicily and New York; hence you can think of it as a Costa Nostra story. Moreover, the Italian Island and the Big Apple have been very close for many years. Maurizio Merli is famous for playing many such roles and, of course, for his mustache!

5. The Godfather: Part III

Original title: The Godfather Part III

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Leading Actor: Al Pacino (Michael Corleone)

Year: 1990

Why watch: If you watched Part I & II, you must know how the story ends.

Platform:  Amazon Video, Vudu, and YouTube

This is the final installment of The Godfather trilogy and follows Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) as he ages. In the film, he discovers that the responsibility of leading the Corleone crime family wasn’t getting any easier. He wants to get his family out of the Mafia, but Eli Wallach, the mob kingpin, is not ready to allow one of the most powerful and wealthy families to go legit.

The situation becomes worse thanks to Vincent (Andy Garcia), Michael’s nephew. Vincent wants a piece of the Corleone family’s empire, including Michael’s daughter, Mary (Sofia Coppola).

4. Casino

Original title: Casino

Director: Martin Scorsese

Leading Actor: Robert De Niro (Sam “Ace” Rothstein)

robert de niro
Source: imDb

Year: 1995

Why watch: it is among the top Italian mafia movies.

Platform:  Prime Video, Vudu, and YouTube.

This film is the story of a low-level Las Vegas mobster of the early 1970s, Sam “Ace” Rothstein, played by Robert De Niro. His bosses trap ace to head the Tangiers Casino. He thrives in his role at first, but several developments put his life in ever-increasing danger.

For example, he starts having problems with Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), his loose-cannon enforcer, and his ex-hustler wife Ginger (Sharon Stone) and her con-artist ex Lester Diamond (James Woods). He also faces challenges along with numerous corrupt politicians.

The casino is the narrative of dishonesty, greed, money, power, and murder between Ace and Santoro as they compete for the gambling empire. They also contend for a socialite (Ginger), making the tale more immersive.  

3. Goodfellas

Original title: Wise Guy

Director: Martin Scorsese

Leading Actor: Robert De Niro (Henry Hill)

Year: 1990

Why watch: Its narrative is simple with top drawer production.

Platform:  Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes.

You will hardly notice that Goodfellas lasts 150 minutes! The film has a great level of detail and excitement. The movie is the story of Henry Hill and his life in the mob. It also covers his relationship with Karen Hill, his wife, and other mobsters, including Tommy DeVito and Jimmy Conway. The result is a thrilling Italian-American crime syndicate.

Additionally, its set dressing, costume design, and makeup are unmatched. You will also enjoy extraordinary performances from the cast, and the film’s arc is clear. It is one of the best mobster movies of all time.

2. The Godfather: Part II

Original title: The Godfather Part II

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Leading Actor: Al Pacino (Michael Corleone)

Year: 1974

Why watch: It is one of the best Italian Mob films.

Platform:  AppleTV, Prime Video and Vudu

The Godfather II is a convincing sequel to “The Godfather,” which contrasts the life of Corleone’s father and son. The film traces the tribulations of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in 1958 and that of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), a young immigrant. Michael endures many hardships, and Vito is initiated to a life of misdemeanor.   

The film flip-flops genially and skillfully between the lives of the two characters. It would be a misdemeanor not to mention the excellent supporting roles that Robert Duvall, Lee Strassberg, Diane Keaton, and John Cazale played.

1. The Godfather

Original title: The Godfather

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Leading Actor: Marlon Brando (Don Vito Corleone)

Year: 1972

Why watch: It is one of the greatest films of all time.

Platform:  AppleTV, Prime Video and Vudu

The Godfather is deemed one of the greatest mafia films of all time. It is a mob drama based on Mario Puzo’s novel bearing the same name. Additionally, the Italian gang film is based on the life of the powerful Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone.

Michael, the don’s youngest son, grudgingly joins the mafia and gets involved in the unavoidable cycle of betrayal and violence. He tries to keep a normal relationship with Kay (Diane Heaton), his wife, as he is drawn deeper into his family’s business.

The Three Mafia Types Associated with Italy

Mafia is a Sicilian word that is now used to refer to organized criminal organizations globally. What distinguishes the mafia from other criminal gangs is their use of extreme violence, omerta (code of silence and initiation rituals). The three mafia types associated with Italy include:

Sicilian Mafia

The Sicilian Mafia was formed in the 19th century and was based in Sicily. Groups of bandits sprung out of clans formed the Sicilian mafia, gaining local power and influence. In Sicily, the mafia means “manly,” and a Mafioso is regarded as a “Man of Honor.”

However, the syndicate is known as “Costa Nostra,” meaning Our Affair. The activities that this gang engaged in include extortion and cattle theft. It also involved election slugging after Sicily became part of a democratic Italy.  

Camorra or Campanian Mafia

The origins of Camorra are unclear, but they may date to the 17th century. It is reported that the first official use of the term Camorra was in 1735, when a royal decree opened the door to the establishment of eight gambling houses in Naples.

The Camorra’s main business included racketeering, money laundering, drug trafficking, cigarette smuggling, and counterfeiting. Moreover, Camorra clans usually infiltrate politics in their respective areas.

cigarette smuggling

‘Ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia

This gang’s name is derived from the Greek word andragathia which means courage or loyalty. Ndrangeta was formed in the 1890s in Calabria and comprised 160 cells and nearly 6000 members. Globally, it is estimated that the criminal gang has over 10000 core members.

The Ndrangeta’s primary operations involve political corruption and cocaine trafficking. Other operations include murder, bombings, illegal gambling, thefts, labor racketeering, illegal immigration, loan sharking, and kidnapping occasionally. Moreover, the gang’s cells are loosely connected family groups based on marriages and blood relationships.

The Anti-Mafia Movement in Italy

The anti-mafia movement in Italy began where it all started, Sicily. In 2004, a group of five graduates began Addiopizzo, which means goodbye Pizzo. A grassroots movement in Sicily brought together businesses and consumers who refused to pay Pizzo, the mafia, extortion money.

By 2007, the movement had gained momentum and counted 210 traders and entrepreneurs as members. There were also over 9000 consumers who had committed to buy only at shops belonging to the Pizzo-free list. Additionally, the Palermo police also agreed to provide security for these member shops discreetly.

The Addiopizzo also organized events in schools and education institutions. In May 2006, the movement organized a Pizzo-free festival in one of the main squares in Palermo. The first person to refuse to pay Pizzo was Libero Grassi, a businessman in Palermo. His letter “Dear Extortionist” caused uproar after being published in one of the local dailies in January 1991. In August the same year, the mafia murdered him.

In 2006, the movement was established in Catania and was referred to as Adiopizzo Catania. Later in 2012, Addiopizzo Catania was invited by the European Parliament’s special committee on Organized Crime, Corruption, and Money Laundering. In the meeting, the movement submitted the reports of their activities to underline the significance of international cooperation against organized crime.


There you have it! You now know the best Italian mafia movies and the best movie actors. Moreover, the films shared in this piece have different themes. For instance, there are movies depicting the mafia life and their operations; others serve as part of the anti-mafia movement, while others show the love and family life of those involved in the criminal gangs.

Even though mafia movies seem interesting, it is important to note that they only caused misery in real life. With that in mind, you are now free to enjoy your perfect Italian movie night!

Vi auguriamo il meglio! (We wish you the best!)