It is not easy to pull off an epic crime drama. First of all, to show violence for more than 5 hours can get daunting for both the filmmaker and the audience. But somehow, with his skillful direction and some great performances, Anurag Kashyap does unthinkable: makes a highly entertaining crime saga. So, if you like ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ you are at the right place. Here’s the list of movies similar to Gangs of Wasseypur that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like Gangs of Wasseypur on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. Scarface (1983)
One of the most gritty and bloody movies, Scarface is a story about an exiled Cuban criminal who rises to be the top drug kingpin in 1980s Miami. The Brian De Palma film is often attributed by filmmakers as Martin Scorsese has a major influence in the genre of mob films. Starring Al Pacino, the film was presented by the actor himself after watching the 1932 film of the same name. The film paid focus on the drug trafficking, primarily cocaine and the rising violence in America.
Al Pacino perfectly captured the essence of the loud-mouthed and short-tempered Tony Montana who could be a merciless as Satan himself. Who can forget his famous “Say hello to my little friend” send which haunted the audience with it over-the-top gun violence? What makes it an even more classic is the fact that the initial critical comments were pretty poor as many considered the vehemence, profanity and graphic drug usage quite unnecessary. However, since then Scarface received redeemed itself and has morphed into being one of the best mob films of all time and even earned a spot in American Film Institute’s top 10 Gangster films.
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11. Gomorrah (2008)
A contemporary Neapolitan mob drama that exposes Italy’s criminal underbelly by telling five stories of individuals who think they can make their own compact with Camorra, the area’s Mafia. Portraying organized crime with an unflinching realism, this gritty and searing Italian crime masterpiece pulls no punches. No film in the last 10 years — except ‘A Prophet’ — has managed to depict the terror and the complete brazenness of the mafia/gangster world with the same finesse as ‘Gomorrah’.
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10. A Prophet (2009)
Crime dramas don’t come in shape and form better than this. This century has seen comparatively much less crime dramas being made than the last, but if there’s one film of 21st century that could match the gold standard set by crime dramas like ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Goodfellas’, it has to be ‘A Prophet’. Taut and riveting, and uncompromising on its style and characterization, ‘A Prophet’ is truly an unforgettable experience.
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9. American Gangster (2007)
A biographical crime epic based on the life of Frank Lucas, portrayed expertly by Denzel Washington, a crime lord out of Harlem who for years imported heroin into the US in the coffins of dead young soldiers. We watch Lucas move up the criminal chain ruthlessly, taking what he wants with force, bringing his entire family close to him to work for him because he trusts no one. Hot on his trial are the narcotics squad, led by job obsessed Russell Crowe, who will not rest until he brings Lucas down. It is a big, sprawling film that moves about the world, from the stifling streets of Viet Nam to the colorful Harlem ghetto, to the hot jungles of Cambodia. All of it anchored by a superb performance from Washington and an equally good one by Crowe, each knowing that at some point they are going to go toe to toe with one another.
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8. Casino (1995)
When first released there were obvious comparisons to Goodfellas (1990) from critics (including me) but now with some distance and time, the film stands well on its own and is a frank and extraordinary glimpse into the world of Vegas. De Niro is well cast as Ace Rothstein, a brilliant odds maker sent to Vegas by the mob to watch over their interests, but is hampered by the arrival of the vicious, murderous Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) who turns Las Vegas into the wild west. The woman between them is Ginger, portrayed superbly by Sharon Stone in the finest work of her career. It is a big sprawling film about how the mob becomes undone in Vegas, often brutally violent, but a careening, bouncy film delving deep into the minds and world of the people who inhabit Vegas. Far better than it was ever given credit for being. De Niro is superb, Pesci brilliant and frightening, Stone is a miracle and James Woods sleazy and perfect.
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7. The Departed (2006)
A remake of the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, director Martin Scorsese, transplanting the story to Boston, creates a crime epic spanning thirty years. Jack Nicholson, working with Scorsese for the first time is superb as an out of control gang leader running South Boston, with a mole in the police department, portrayed by Matt Damon, and without knowing one in his outfit, portrayed to perfection by Leonardo Di Caprio. There are strong supporting performances from Martin Sheen as a fatherly police captain, Mark Whalberg as a vulgar assistant to the Captain, and Alec Baldwin, but it is Nicholson who dominates the picture. The tension is kept at its tightest throughout as discovery for both young men means death (or worse). One can sense the growing paranoia impacting a terrified DiCaprio as he edges closer to nailing Nicholson, but also to being found out, which means death. It is as good as he gets.
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6. City of God (2003)
City of God used the perfect tool to garner a mass following – a quiet and honest boy dreaming to be a photographer and a sociopathic drug lord with the soul of the devil. Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s 2004 crime film depicts the birth and growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro spanning from end of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1980s. The film garnered immense praise and earned 90% favourable views on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, to add to its merits, City of God was inducted as the 177th best film of all time in 2008 by Empire. Although it did receive to criticism due to its gun infused violence, the films growing popularity was unhindered.
Bagging four Academy nominations, the film was Brazil’s choice for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was not nominated to be in the finals. The film characters are intricately written and make a lasting impression in the viewers. The film perfectly enraptured the brutalities of a drowning Brazil where sadistic destruction, power and greed drove the common man. Adapted Bráulio Mantovani from Paulo Lins’ novel of the same name, quite a lot of the plot-line is inspired from the gang “Caixa Baixa” or Low Gang.
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Set in the world of crime, the lord being Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) this is a non-linear work about those surrounding him and how they fit into his criminal empire. The two most likable in the film are a couple of hitmen, beautifully portrayed with grave intensity by John Travolta and fiery rage by Samuel L. Jackson, who go hunting for a renegade boxer played nicely by Bruce Willis. Superbly written, directed with brash, bold strokes, drawing inspiration from the seventies cinema and Hon Kong films, it is a wild ride that grabs you by the throat and never let’s go. Directed with energetic flare, it is a masterpiece of new cinema. No one, I repeat no one writes like Tarantino.
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4. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
A rich, haunting epic that spans forty years in the Jewish mob where we follow the rise and fall of Noodles (De Niro again) and Max (James Woods) two partners from boyhood who hook up and move quickly through the ranks to the very top of the organization. It’s bloody, no question and mysoginistic in its treatment of women, but once it has its hooks in you I defy anyone to let go. Long at four hours (see the original version as the director intended) it has a leisurely pace and some strange choices (an endlessly ringing telephone) but manages to come together in its telling of an unusual story about loyalty and betrayal. De Niro and Woods are terrific as is Tuesday Weld, but Elizabeth McGovern is woefully miscast. Breathtaking cinematography and a haunting score are highlights. One of De Niro’s best pieces of acting.
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3. Goodfellas (1990)
Director Martin Scorsese grew up watching wise guys in his New York world, the small time mafia boys who ran the neighborhood. Based on the best-selling book about Henry Hill, the subject of the film, a real life button man who betrayed his buddies and entered the Witness Protection Program, the film is a jaunty, almost bouncy journey through thirty years of life in the mafia. Hill saw it all and did it all, working close with some of the most prolific crime figures of the time, portrayed in the film by Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci, who is terrifying as an out of control killer. The picture beautifully captures the life of a mobster in their home, including interactions with the wives and children, and the hell they experience when their men go away. The movement of the camera creates an energy that is infectious as we watch all of this unfold, including some of the most brutal killings put on the screen. One of the most remarkable American films ever made. Directed with sublime confidence by Scorsese.
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2. The Godfather (1972)
The one that revolutionized gangster films and the film industry itself, a massive success, soaring past Gone with the Wind (1939) as the highest money-maker of all time, and bringing to pop culture the mafia and Don Corleone. Francis Ford Coppola directed the film to perfection making both a film about the American Dream becoming perverse, and the story of a family whose business just happens to be crime. Presiding over the Corleone family is Don Vito (Marlon Brando), who after being shot will come to realize his son Michael took revenge and is now working with him to be the chief of the family. They will take down the other families in New York to solidify their power. Brando might have won the Oscar for Best Actor but Pacino dominates the film with an extraordinary performance. In fact like the sequel, the picture is loaded with great performances, from the two leads through to Robert Duvall as the loyal adopted son, John Cazale as Fredo, James Cann as hot-tempered Sonny, and Diane Keaton as Kay, the woman Michael will marry and betray. Like the sequel, a remarkable film.
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1. The Godfather Part II (1974)
Arguably, the best American film ever made. Stunning performances from Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg and John Cazale dominate this remarkable film that explores the depth and reach of the Mafia as well as the immigrant experience. There are few more moving sequences than the boat sliding past the Statue of Liberty, hope and awe etched on the faces of the new Americans. Pacino was never better, his dark intensity dominating the film, radiating danger as he never has before or since. In every way this film is a masterpiece, from the acting, direction and writing, through the cinematography, score, art direction and editing, it is flawless. Watching De Niro become the character we know will be portrayed by Brando in the first film is startling, it is such an achievement of performance, while Pacino as Michael, grasps the power and cannot shake it. An astounding, brilliant work of art, that has the sweep of a grand epic, and yet the intimacy of a love story. Genius.
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