by Robert Parmer

The successes of film giants such as The Godfather, Scarface, and even Bonnie and Clyde, havehelped shaped the scope of things to come in the crime/drama genre.

afive7These classic movies instantly draw images of mob mentality, excessive drug trafficking, and even romanticism. They have crafted a mold for other crime films to follow.

Today, we’ll briefly explore the top five crime movies of the last 25 years. These films have been heavily influenced by their crime film predecessors, but have taken a modern, sometimes cult-like spin on the traditional ideas of criminal film masterminds.


5. The Wolf of Wall Street

afive4While this film doesn’t necessarily follow the lead of the rest of this list, that doesn’t change the fact that it is easily one of the most amazing crime films of the 2000’s. This film follows the rise and fall of a well-off, attractive, yet totally corrupt stockbroker played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The stand-up performances by DiCaprio, and co-stars Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey, were what made this film my favorite movie of 2013. The Wolf of Wall Street balances moments of crime, sexuality, comedy, and suspense in a way that pulls you in with its inviting and interesting filming style.


4. The Dark Knight Series

afive6These two films successfully pushed the boundaries of what a proper movie release can be. The midnight release of The Dark Knight was showcased by record breaking ticket sales and a plot and cast to match all of the hype. This variant of the Batman film saga is without a doubt the most successful, with a superstar cast that deliver some of their best performances. Christian Bale portrays Batman flawlessly and the stockpile of awards that he received for these two Batman films directly reflects that fact. The bar was set high with these films, which featured immense budgets, intricate character development and costumes, and special effects that kept you wondering, ‘how is that even possible?’


3. The Shawshank Redemption

afive5By definition, any film adaptation of a Stephen King story has a lot going for it and The Shawshank Redemption is by no means an exception to this rule. It follows some central themes that are present in another King film adaptation, The Green Mile. These films bring up a lot of essential questions regarding what it means to be imprisoned in our country.

What are the effects of capital punishment, in and out of prison? How do our country’s prison systems have lifelong effects on the imprisoned? To what degree are these people experiencing inevitable, permanent effects of being institutionalized? This film explores these questions as well as other psychological phenomena that impact our nation’s criminal justice systems, and powerfully depicts what can occur when a person is unjustly sentenced and becomes obsessed with gaining their freedom back.


2. Reservoir Dogs

afive2It’s no surprise that a Quentin Tarantino masterpiece holds one of the top spots on this list. Tarantino has an immaculate way of blending classic crime content with modern filming techniques. Reservoir Dogs features a superstar cast, a plot structure that keeps you guessing, and some of the most brutally memorable scenes of interrogation and torture of any mob crime film. You all remember those timeless code names each of the main characters had, or the scene with the ear and the gasoline, right?

Furthermore, the actor Edward Bunker, who plays the role of Mr. Blue, has extensive real life ties to crime. Before his career as an author, screenwriter, and actor, he had run-ins with the law that spanned years. Early in his life Bunker was convicted of everything from bank robbery to drug dealing to forgery. Reservoir Dogs is a prime example of a perfectly crafted crime movie and has the cult following to prove it.

1. Goodfellas

afive3Let’s face it, when you think of large scale mob movies, The Godfather series probably reign supreme. It’s a classic among this specific genre.  Mafia movies hold a special place in my heart. Although brutal and intense by nature, to be successful, these types of films must hold true to the mob mentality. They create a world of an explicit day to day life involving more risk and violence than any ordinary person could imagine or would ever want to face.

The first time I watched Goodfellas, one of the opening quotes stuck in my mind: “Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a gangster.” This idea is ingrained in the main characters of Goodfellas. This is something that real life organized crime members had ingrained in their own lives. Furthermore, actual mafia personnelhave shaped how crimes are solved in real life. This fact adds a level of realism to the crime/mob film genre and makes this film stand out, just as The Godfather did almost twenty years prior.


Robert Parmer is a freelance web writer and student of Boise State University. Outside of writing and reading adamantly he enjoys creating and recording music, caring for his pet cat, and commuting by bicycle whenever possible.




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