Great mafia movies — from 'The Godfather' to 'The Sopranos'

Great mafia movies — from 'The Godfather' to 'The Sopranos'

'Gomorrah'

The 2008 Italian film "Gomorrah" is based on the book by Roberto Saviano, which describes the clandestine business of a clan within the powerful Sicilian Camorra crime syndicate. Saviano has been under police protection because of death threats following the publication of his bestselling non-fiction investigative work in 2006.

Great mafia movies — from 'The Godfather' to 'The Sopranos'

'The Godfather'

Francis Ford Coppola was one of the first filmmakers to focus on the structures of organized crime with his 1972 hit feature film "The Godfather," a veritable mafia classic. Marlon Brando masterfully plays Don Vito Corleone, the head of a New York mafia family. Part II of the saga followed in 1974, part III in 1990.

Great mafia movies — from 'The Godfather' to 'The Sopranos'

'Goodfellas'

Martin Scorsese's 1990 mafia blockbuster starring Robert de Niro is a classic mob movie. Based on a true story, it's the film adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi's non-fiction book entitled "Wiseguy" that chronicles the life of a mafia mobster. Pileggi co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese. "Goodfellas" is regarded as one of the greatest mafia films ever made.

Great mafia movies — from 'The Godfather' to 'The Sopranos'

'The Departed'

Martin Scorsese (center), himself the son of Italian immigrants, directed numerous mafia films over his career. "The Departed," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson as a Boston crime boss, won four Oscars. Two of the characters are loosely based on a real-life famous gangster and a corrupt FBI agent.

Great mafia movies — from 'The Godfather' to 'The Sopranos'

'Mean Streets'

Still a classic gangster film today, "Mean Streets" (1973) was Martin Scorsese's first mafia film, and the first time he worked with actor Robert De Niro. Set in New York City's Little Italy neighborhood — some of the greatest gangster films of all times take place in NY's gritty atmosphere — the film is about the daily struggles of a young Mafioso.

Great mafia movies — from 'The Godfather' to 'The Sopranos'

'Al Capone'

Al Capone was a Chicago crime boss notorious during the prohibition era. He was known for always wearing a fedora hat, a loud tie and never leaving the house without his bodyguards. The above photo is a rare picture of the mobster taken at a football game in Chicago in 1931. Richard Wilson directed the 1959 film starring Rod Steiger as Al Capone.

Great mafia movies — from 'The Godfather' to 'The Sopranos'

'The Untouchables'

In Brian de Palma's "The Untouchables" (1987), based on the book of the same name, a team of four officers brings down Al Capone. Sean Connery won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Jimmy Malone, a Bureau of Prohibition officer fed up with corruption.

Great mafia movies — from 'The Godfather' to 'The Sopranos'

'The Sopranos'

"The Sopranos" (six seasons, 1999-2007 on HBO) is a superb TV series starring the late James Gandolfini as New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano. The show revolves around Tony's personal and business life, and the complex problems that land him in the office of a therapist. According to a US studio, a prequel to the hit mafia drama is being developed as a movie.

Drama, action, crime, violence and iconic bosses — organized crime makes for great films. Here is a selection of absolute mob movie classics.