His moral decline parallels his gangster rise in two flicks. Both films are masterclasses, but The Godfather Part II tops this list for its immaculate gangster film themes.
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Stanley Kubrick's third film, a terse and vicious noir about a career criminal (Sterling Hayden) who organises a racecourse theft to retire and marry his love, is the finest 'one last job' film. Kubrick's bleak ending cheers Dr. Strangelove.
Based on Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley's non-fiction The Untouchables. Al Capone (Robert De Niro) dominates Prohibition in 1930s Chicago. Eliot Ness leads police-backed gunmen against Capone.
I've seen Goodfellas about a dozen times and always discover something new. Based on Nicholas Pillegi's book Wiseguy, Martin Scorsese directed.
Quentin Tarantino lit the cinema scene on fire with this scintillating narrative of five crooks assembled for a failed robbery, each anonymously named after a colour and portrayed by a talented actor.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Cagney plays Arthur "Cody" Jarrett, a big mama's boy. While nefarious, the character is a mommy's boy and does everything to please her. The film is still a terrifying crime-thriller that deserves its spot at the top.
This is the greatest gangster movie. Every moviegoer remembers Don Vito clutching the cat, the horse on the bed, or Michael closing the door on his past. These are some of cinema's most moving scenes.
Martin Scorsese's breakthrough examines the gangland dream's dark side. The film's heart is Harvey Keitel's guilt-ridden Charlie, but Robert De Niro's firecracker Johnny Boy is memorable.
Casino stars Robert De Niro as Ace Rothstein, a Chicago mobster dispatched to Vegas to oversee the Tangiers Casino alongside enforcer Nicky Santoro.